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Israeli TV Comes to The Sundance Film Festival

The following is a transcript of Episode 126 of the Identity/Crisis Podcast. Note: This is a lightly edited transcript of a conversation, please excuse any errors.

Yehuda: Hi everyone. Welcome to Identity Crisis, a show about news and ideas from the Shalom Hartman Institute. I’m Yehuda Kurtzer. We’re recording on Friday, February 3rd, 2023. 

This week I have a guest host here with me in our show to help me interview our guest, my repeat guest and friend, Dr. Shayna Weiss of Brandeis University, who has become kind of our in-house Jewish and Israeli pop culture critic. So I’m gonna do a brief intro of today’s topic. I’ll invite Shayna to add some framing, and then we’ll welcome in our special guest. 

So there’s a condition, actually in the DSM-5 called Jerusalem Syndrome. On the NIH website, it’s described as an acute psychotic state observed in tourists and pilgrims who visit Jerusalem. The main symptom of this disorder is identification with a character from the Bible and exhibiting behaviors which seem to be typical for this character. 

In other words, people from all over the world show up in Jerusalem and the place has an effect on them casting them in their heads back into big metaphysical stories in which they’re now protagonists. For most people, it wears off a little while after they leave. There’s also, of course, a less pathological version of this phenomenon, especially as associated for Jews in Israel with a whole variety of different manifestations. Jews show up in Israel, maybe not even knowing they’re looking for something and something there happens to them, something that may or may not be reversible.

When I was a teenager, it was a phenomenon known as “flipping out.” Kids leaving liberal Jewish households, going to Yeshiva in Israel, and coming out looking, talking, and behaving differently. Even non-traditional programs like Birthright assume some form of transformation. You go to Israel and you come back different in one way or another. I know a lot of Jewish adults who went to Israel in some process of seeking and found something on the other end, for better or worse.

I found myself thinking about lesser and greater forms of Jerusalem syndrome when I started watching, laughing, and cringing my way through a new hit Israeli television series, a comedy called, Chanshi, about a young Orthodox woman who flees from America to Israel, from Brooklyn to Jerusalem, and from her engagement to a nice young man named Mendy towards her more, let’s say, libertine pursuits, specifically hot Israeli soldiers.

The show was selected as an indie episodic program at Sundance where it screened last week, and I don’t know yet when it will hit American streaming services, but I assure you it will create a stir when it does. This is not safe Shtisel terrain. But in addition to being wildly funny and at times very intense, I couldn’t help but feel that it also had a lot to say about both universal experiences, about sexuality, about coming of age, but also about a lot of the kinds of topics we usually talk about here on this podcast, especially what it is that we go to Israel to find, and who we go to Israel to become.

Shayna, let me turn to you for some opening framing as well. 

Shayna: Thank you, Yehuda. Thank you Aliza. I just wanted share a couple of the thoughts I had when the show and of course, the first thing that came to mind is the explosion of diversity on Israeli television about all different sorts of people. And then within that sort of mini genre of shows about Orthodox Jews. I actually counted for some recent research, it’s almost 20 shows in the past 20 years, which is a huge number, and we can think about why maybe in another discussion. 

But these shows, they really often focus on men and men’s stories. At best, some of the shows have strong supporting female characters, and we can think of some examples of that, but there’s not a lot of stories that focus on women and especially so when we think about issues of sexuality, purity culture, often only men, and here, I think this applies to culture as well, get these conversations and get to be the center of these stories. It was really powerful for me to watch an Orthodox Jewish woman experiencing that. 

Another thing I thought about is that there’s this whole sort of industry of American Jews Israel through television shows. Watching Fauda, watching Shtisel, and then when you watch a Israeli television show about American Jews as an American Jew, it has this funny double looking glass effect, maybe gazing into the abyss. It made me think a lot, you know, Yehuda, you mentioned Jerusalem syndrome. I thought maybe American Jews have main character syndrome in Israel and perhaps that affects us and how we see the rest of Israel.

Thinking more globally, you know, there are all these shows about the American abroad, Emily in Paris, Ted Lasso, how clueless the American is, what they learn, but also what the society learns from them. And I think this is all really relevant here in a time of such political upheaval and crisis in Israel and sort of this never ending crisis slash love affair between American and Israeli Jews.

And my last comment before we go to discussion is that when we think about international relations, it’s not just prime ministers or diplomats, it’s about all sort of relationships. American teens visiting a settlement, Israelis working in America. It’s all about people and relating to people. So I think this is a really interesting and fascinating entry into that story.

Yehuda: So we’re thrilled to have as our guest today, the writer, creator, and star of Chanshi, Aleeza Chanowitz, who’s joining us from Tel Aviv for the show. Aleeza, thanks for coming on Identity Crisis, and thanks for your work. 

And I thought I’d start by asking you about the origin of this show. I, I read in one of the descriptions that it has maybe some connection to your background and your person life. Tell us a little bit about where this show came from, and your story as a, as a writer, creator, and star in making in happen.

Aleeza: Okay. Hi. People always ask, they phrase it a bit differently. They ask how autobiographical it is or is it autobiographical? And it’s just hard to answer cause it’s fiction. And I know I’m playing the main role and maybe we have a lot in common, but it’s still fiction. So it’s hard for me to pick out to say like, this happened that happened. Anybody who’s gonna write anything is gonna go put themselves in it. It’s just how obvious can you tell that the person is a part of it or not. 

So I made aliyah when I was 21, and I was very excited to be in Israel and I’m very into Israeli soldiers. And so that’s all true. That’s all based on real life. I was not engaged to anyone. I was engaged and I married him. We have a baby. I don’t know. I can’t believe that everybody does this. Like, it’s just crazy that this is a common thing. 

In terms of how this show happened. Well, first of all, when I made aliyah when I was 21, I arrived, somehow my parents were like, yeah, we support you. No one really told me what I’m gonna do once I got here. And so for two weeks I’m walking around going, okay, well now what am I supposed to do? So I went to film school. And there I three short films. One of them, the school doesn’t really talk about, I think it’s on YouTube somewhere, but the other two they supported. And I acted in them. And I also wrote about this world of like of like olim chadashim, of like it took place in this Anglo-Saxon bubble that lives in Jerusalem. 

And these short films got into the hands of Merit, who’s in charge of content at the Israeli network Hot. And she wanted to meet with me. And basically she was like, I saw your films and I like them, and I’m, do you think about doing a series? And I didn’t wanna do a series because I went to film school, so I wanted to make a film, but I understood that this is an opportunity and I just finished school and I need a job. And I said, yes, I have so many ideas. And that’s kind of how it started. 

So to her credit, she touched on certain themes. She said that she liked that it was provocative, that it’s about this girl who was like on the fence, that it has to do with religious people and sexuality. And so she really wanted those themes to be part of the series.

And I kind of feel like my story of how I got a series made is obviously I had a lot of mazel, you have to be in the right place at the right time, but also, I, I didn’t go to them, she came to me, which I know was rare, but I jumped on the opportunity. I’m very happy I made it. It just wasn’t, it wasn’t a plan.

Shayna: I wanted to ask, what has the reception been like in Israel for this show? How are people thinking about it? How are people talking about it, right? Americans, if they appear at all in Israeli cinema, it’s usually these sort of bit characters and they’re a bit of a joke. And this is different.

Aleeza: Yeah. I was also talking about with someone that I feel like usually when you have somebody who is the oleh chadash or whatever, in anything, they’re usually the joke. I’m not really on social media. I have Facebook and I have an email, but beyond that, I don’t know what people are saying other than if somebody tells me what other people are saying. 

I live in Tel Aviv, which is a bubble, so when I leave the house, if I leave the house, I’ve actually gotten a lot of good feedback from people on the streets. There was this like very ultra-Orthodox woman, probably from like Bnei Brak or something at the hospital when I went to go see if my baby has jaundice.

And she recognized me in the elevator and she was like, Chanshi? And I was like, yeah. And she was like, oh, I have to tell you like I’m ultra-Orthodox, so I don’t watch TV and I don’t watch movies, but I watch your show and I love it and like, good job. And I, I don’t think she has Hot in her house, so she probably wasn’t watching it legally, but the fact that she like loved it and she felt the need to say it, I was like, oh, this is great.

The reviews and stuff have been almost all positive. But I don’t know how many people are watching it. I really couldn’t tell you. Apparently on the illegal sites it’s doing pretty well.

Yehuda: I kind of stumbled on it. I was in Israel maybe a month and a half ago, and I turned the, I turned on the TV and I was like, what is going on with this show? And the thing that jumped out at me right away, and that was before I kind of got tuned into the fact that Shayna has been writing and talking about this show for a while, even prior to its release here in America, one of the things that really jumped out at me is the accent. 

Your accent is, and we even heard it a minute ago, you speak fluent Hebrew. You have, you have, you can speak with an Israeli accent. So it’s, it feels to me like a very intentionally, but very authentically constructed way in which American Jews sound like they’re talking Hebrew.

I’m curious, I, I’d love to hear you reflect on that little bit, because it feels to me like one of the things that felt the most authentic about the show, and as Shayna indicated, you just don’t hear voices like that on Israeli television unless they’re being mocked. So I, I’d be curious what it felt like for you to kind of reenter that mode to play the role of an American Jew and how the accent and the use of Hebrew plays into the show. 

Aleeza: Well, first of all, I, I think to Israelis, I still sound Americam when I speak Hebrew, though, I can do a very good Israeli accent if I wanted to. I actually have tried to keep my American accent when I speak Hebrew so that I can still get away with shit, especially in government offices, you know, if you speak fluent Hebrew, they’re just gonna give you the forms and expect you to fill it out, know what you’re talking about. And I, and I still don’t know, you know what I mean? Not that Israelis understand. 

And it was also a hard balance because you want something to be real to the story, also want there to be some kind of like arc in terms of the language of her picking up more Hebrew as we go along. And at the same time, this is an Israeli TV show and we had a lot of, I’ll say, discussions with the network because of the amount of English that I really thought should be in there.

If you have two childhood friends from Brooklyn and they’re making aliyah, there’s no way they’re talking to each other in Hebrew, unless it’s a joke. So if that’s like how she gets to Israel, I can’t have her speak in Hebrew, like off the bat, it just seems like her parents are Israeli. And then it’s a totally different story to me.

Shayna: You know, there’s a lot of talk of the show, on like sexuality in her relationships. But something that actually really struck me was the role of female friendships, right, Chanshi’s relationship with Noki, which is sort of, I would argue, like the glue of everything. So I was wondering if you could reflect on that, especially like in this time, in Orthodox adults lives or everyone’s lives, between your best friend and wanting to get married and wanting to pair off and how that all works out or doesn’t.

Aleeza: So in a way, Noki kind of like symbolizes, represents, the friends that I had when I made, like, I didn’t move to Spain, I didn’t move to India. I moved to Israel. Like, everyone has this same similar idea of like culture, everybody knows what Shabbos is, everyone knows the same, like, holidays. Like I had friends from high school and from, you know, childhood friends that also moved there. So I had some kind of like, family when I came. And then we were all each other’s family for a long time until people started to get married and then create their own families. 

And it really feels like a stab in the heart when like, you know, they break up this kind of thing, also because you don’t have your family there. So all the holidays and everything you spend with these like group of friends that you had. 

I mean obviously Noki’s storyline goes in a specific direction, but in terms of like the friendship there, and I, and I tend to deal with female friendship cause I don’t really have any best guy friends. Like, it’s just not on my radar. So I don’t think that they, I ha I didn’t have any kind of intention to make it like a very female central story. It just happened because I guess that’s just more interesting to me. Like that’s just what I know. 

I have a good friend who went through like a similar kind of story. So I was able to talk to her about like the experiences that Noki have. I don’t know what your viewers have seen. I don’t know if I wanna give any spoilers away. The 10th episode just came out yesterday. 

Yehuda: So let me ask you about the possibility of American viewers and American audiences. So one of the interesting things that’s happened with Israeli TV and this huge kind of influx of Israeli television shows and, very popular especially among American Jews, is that they, whether or not they intended to do this, they are functioning as kind of like a hasbarah tool. 

Like I, a few years ago, I was at the AIPAC conference and the whole Shtisel cast was there, and they were like on panels at the AIPAC conference. And like, you know, part of that is like, it’s a captive audience of people who like talking about Israel and Israeli culture, but there’s a kind of implicit way in which these pieces of culture are being used to say, look, it’s a normal, interesting country.

And, and also in Shtisel, a good example of a show where it helps people like kind of fall in love with Haredim, which most American Jews don’t, they don’t like them. This show, I was like, is this show gonna make people connect with Israel? Like, is it gonna make them like it? And, and I wonder whether that plays into your own mind at all, as an artist and as a creator about what this means for American Jews who may or may not have their own ambivalent relationships with Israel. 

Aleeza: Well if want to actually make money, I can’t just focus on American Jews, I have to focus on the whole country. And when I was creating the show, obviously you have to think about the audience, you know, and I was always thinking beyond Israel. 

And my intention was to make something that was just very mainstream. And apparently that was in my head and people don’t necessarily look at the series as like mainstream, especially in Israeli TV. They say, oh, it’s like raunchy. It’s very sexy. It’s very out there. And I feel like maybe if you compare it to American TV then it’s not as crazy as I think Israelis look at it.

So, well, we just had, like five screenings. I was at four total screenings in Sundance. And this is just to Americans, not necessarily Jew, I don’t know what percentage of them were Jewish. I was very happy that people didn’t walk out in the middle. They stayed for the Q and A and they were like, we love it, when can we watch the rest of the episodes? 

And you know, you’ve got a bunch of people who know Mormon culture and they found a lot to identify with in terms of like, you know, I forgot, what’s the word that they call it? Where they like, leave, come back? 

Yehuda: Rumspringa. 

Aleeza: Yeah. 

Shayna: That’s Amish, but yeah. 

Aleeza: Oh, sorry. I’m so sorry. I, I’m just ignorant. I’m Israeli. 

When I first moved here, I got a draft notice. I was 21 and I got a draft notice. And when I was 18, I did want to actually join the army, but when I moved here I was 21. I realized, at this point I was applying for film, school, I realized I was older than everyone else. All of the guy soldiers are gonna be my age or younger. Like that wasn’t the intention. 

So, turns out they made a mistake and they didn’t actually mean to draft me, but I had like told myself, like, well, why do you wanna be drafted? Like it can’t just be to flirt with the Israeli soldiers. And I was like, I wanna give something back this country that I love. And I was like, I’m just gonna have to find another way to do it. 

And I’m sure that there’s plenty of people who are gonna say that I’m doing something bad also like, I, I mean, I offend everyone, so at least everyone’s offended, but I apparently touched on some things that I’m not supposed to like in terms of Israeli soldiers. Like you could see in the first episode, like kind of joking about like, is he combat, is he not combat? And then it’s not worth it to be with him and all that stuff. 

There are some Israelis who are like, you can’t do that. But if I look at it from my American perspective, I say I think that I’ve presented a world that looks colorful and fun and human and just like us. And I do think that there are a lot of themes that everyone can relate to because it’s so specific. But I don’t know what they’re gonna say. Don’t know if I can return to Brooklyn.

Shayna: So much to say. I wanted, you touch on this a couple of times. Part of, I would say, maybe the criticism overall of especially American representations of Orthodoxy, but they also show up in Israel too. It’s that there’s too much focus on unhappy Orthodox Jews, right? Too many OTD stories, et cetera, et cetera. 

And while I don’t necessarily agree, I was wondering if you thought of this show as an OTD story, right? I have my own thoughts, but I’m curious what you think. Is this a story of someone going quote, unquote off the derech? Is it not? Right, how do you think about that phenomenon?

Aleeza: Well, I’d love to hear what you think. For me, the part of the character, she’s on the fence and for me, that’s not how I feel about it. It’s like there are a lot of things in the way that I grew up in terms of like religious orthodox lifestyle that felt suffocating to me and I also felt like I didn’t get a lot of answers when I was younger, so it kind of put this doubt in me and I didn’t have anybody to talk to it.

And then eventually, part of the reason why I love living in Israel is cause I feel like I can be any kind of Jew I want, because I have all the cultural foundation is there and then I decide what works for me, what doesn’t work me. 

So that was really like, in terms of the the show, I love the religious world. I miss it. I’m not as involved in it as I used to be. And when you also try to go back and try to like keep Shabbos, like, you know, I was supposed to, it, it doesn’t really work for me. So it’s kind of in a way this like fantasy of like having this Orthodox life that just didn’t work for me.

And with the show itself, I, I definitely think, well, the character’s on the fence, but I don’t see this as like off the derech. I see it more as like a character driven kind of story. She’s finding her way. That’s definitely something that I feel that I personally have gotten through. And I know that someone, there was like a, a panel at Sundance of like, a Jewish panel. I don’t know if she actually watched the show, but she said something like, oh, another show about Orthodox people who aren’t happy and they, you know, are leaving. And I’m thinking like, that’s, that’s not, I don’t think you watched it. That’s how I felt. 

Well what do you think?

Shayna: Well, first of all, I agree with you. I saw those comments and I was like, she hasn’t watch the show.

But I don’t think it is. And you know, I think I’ll tell my own story, which is, I did an interview with Brandeis Press, where I work, like they do their own sort of article sometimes, and the guy interviewed me, very nice guy was saying, I was saying, you know, Chanshi is sort of exploring her life and whatnot. And he’s like, oh, so she stops being orthodox? And I’m like, well, not necessarily. And then he’s like, but you just said she wants to have sex, and if you have sex when you’re single, then you’re automatically not orthodox.

And I was like, that’s not how religion and society and self communication works. And all of a sudden I find myself having like a pretty awkward conversation with a middle-aged guy I work with about how there are plenty of Orthodox singles who have sex and still identify as Orthodox. 

Which I also think these conversations and sometimes are portrayals of OTD myths, which is the messy reality we all live in. Yeah, and I, I agree with you and I think it, what we know, right, from research and other people, that reality is much messier. That there’s not necessarily these like clean break that everyone does and you never think about religion again.

And also the orthodox world that you portray has a lot of love and affection in it as well, which you really see, it’s not this like muted tones of black and white, and a friend and I were talking about your outfits, right, that you wear all the gorgeous Batsheva dresses, right.

You’re not dressed frumpy or ugly or that sort of thing.

Aleeza: Right. That was, yeah, intention.

Yehuda: I would also add to that, I mean, I, we got a screener of four episodes. And I found that some of the most sympathetic characters were the very committed Orthodox folks who were, who are trying to convince Chanshi about a certain set of choices. So it wasn’t, it wasn’t, let’s caricature the ultra-Orthodox or the Orthodox characters in order to illustrate the difference between sophistication and pleasantness that Chanshi exhibits versus them. I, I thought it was just, kind of like a much more real repicition of the stakes of these choices, you know, within reducing them to kind of the good or the bad.

Aleeza: Yeah. I also in episode three specifically, I think you’re touching on, like there’s a character there that I also think a of people have a certain idea of, like people have an idea of like what ultra-Orthodox young woman getting married, you know, that she’s just a schmatta kind of thing, and it’s like, those aren’t the people that I know. Like, yeah.

Yehuda: Yeah, no spoilers. But honestly I think it was my favorite scene of what I’ve watched. 

Aleeza, let me ask you a different question about supporting characters. Henry Winkler, you got, somehow, 

Aleeza: This is the question everyone has. 

Yehuda: Somehow you got Henry Winkler. Can you tell us about that, how that, a) how that came about and what it was like to work with him in this context, surprisingly convincing?

Aleeza: Well first of all, he, and Caroline Aaron, she’s on Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, so the two of them, they have cameos in episode one, but they have lines in episode nine. It’s not just like sales trick or something. But what happened was is we were looking for actors in Israel that were mother tongue English speakers that were good actors that looked like they could play my father and my stepmother, we just didn’t find anyone that was right.

And then what happened was is, first with with Caroline, is that the woman who plays Chayke, who plays her best friend, Babshi’s best friend, the stepmother’s best friend. They’re best friends in real life. So, she’s in the middle of filming season four and season five of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and somehow she got this like time in the middle and she came in. So that was one thing. 

And with Henry Winkler, there are two directors, Aaron Geva and Mickey Triest. But Aaron was like, okay, he has no shame. And he writes really nice emails. So he made a list of all of the American actors, Jewish, in the right age, that looked like they could be my father. And then from that list, he eliminated all of those who are against Israel. So it was a very short list we were left with, of the people that were pro-Israel, could actually play my father, and Henry Winker was at the top of the list and he emailed him, sent him my scripts, and that’s it, like there’s that Jewish card of like wanting to go to Israel that I, a lot of people aren’t aware of. 

It also was Corona times where things people were a little bit more like approachable in a way. And he had never been to Israel. And I guess he liked the script, it really sounds like so easy, but it was, and he agreed to come and he came to to, to play and they had about two and a half days of shooting. And I was nervous that like, okay, we’re bringing in, like Hollywood, like what’s gonna happen? And they were just like super professional, they asked questions, they took direction. 

It was really fun to work with them cause they didn’t have this, you know, I was afraid of nothing, you know, and I think a lot of, sorry guys, but a lot of the famous Israeli actors, many that I’ve seen on sets, have this kind of like, they’re snobby. They’re like, all right, I get the part, I’ll just do it. And they do it on automatic. And that was not the case with them.

Shayna: I wanted to ask you about, not just about sexuality, but sort of, without giving away too much, the gray zones of sexual consent. Right, I think it’s something that the show really does phenomenally well, and obviously I think relates unfortunately to many people’s experiences traveling abroad or growing up, right? Not just going to Israel. How did you think about that? How did you do that sensitively? How do you approach that in filming a television show?

Aleeza: In terms of dealing with it on the TV, I just really was basing things off of my own personal experiences. I have no message. I can’t tell people like, you know, what they should or shouldn’t do in certain situations. I don’t want that kind of responsibility. 

So I really was just kind of like remaining true to myself in terms of the fact that it’s this gray area and you don’t always know what to do with it. And there’s not necessarily a good guy and a bad guy, and people don’t need to get punished or canceled. Like there’s a discussion that could be had, which I feel like is kind of missing a lot these days. Like people can’t have a discussion, like someone has already chosen sides.

Shayna: Right, but also like how did you handle it on the set? Like,  how did you talk to the actors about it? Like, were there stand-ins? Like, you know, did you have, you know, that sort of thing. I was just curious about that.

Aleeza: So I think in a American sets, you really need to have, so that you don’t get sued. Israel’s a much  smaller industry, let’s just say it that way. It’s also very new, this job, like, you know, like I think there’s maybe one person in Israel who does it, and for me, in my case, I mean, I spoke with the actors and I shared my own personal experiences. They shared their personal experiences. We spoke about the script. 

There was no one there to coordinate it but me. I mean obviously, and the directors, and everybody was very sensitive and we asked questions, we checked beforehand, is this okay? Is that okay? In terms of like doing intimate scenes. But I have the privilege of being the creator and the writer as well as the actor. So in terms of like rehearsing scenes and talking about scenes, I could also change things based on, and I did change things based on, how the scene went or how the person felt.

And it’s not only just like physical scenes, it’s also scenes that like, just like talking about a certain topic, the words that you use, the way that I phrase things, if I’m gonna talk about, like in the queer community, it’s like, you know said like, I’m, I’m comfortable saying this, I’m not comfortable saying that. Like, this is a joke that’s funny, this joke could be offensive. Do you know what I mean? Very unprofessional. 

Shayna: Yeah. Honestly, it sounds very professional, like you thought to ask and check and you know, you sort of served as your own intimacy coordinator.

Aleeza: And I also think that like, it could be still a very confusing kind of obstacle to deal with because someone could say that they’re very comfortable doing a scene and then afterwards they aren’t. Or then they see it on screen and they might feel different. And that’s like a risk that you take and the fact that like you ask someone and you hope that you read the room right. Which I hope I did.

Yehuda: Aleeza, you’ve bit generous with your time and I know you also recently had a baby, so we wanna let you go back to that. Tell us what’s gonna happen next. Is the show being renewed for another season, are you working on other projects as well, what do you think is gonna happen next for you, both with the show and professionally?

Aleeza: So, in terms of a season two, I’ll be honest, I don’t have any ideas. I wasn’t thinking about it. Not everything needs to have a season two. And right now, as you mentioned, I’m trying to figure out how to take care of a baby, which is a lot of work. 

I have like a feature film that hopefully I’m gonna film at the end of this year. And I have a play that I’m working on, which is completely different world, which I’m still figuring that out. And there’s another series that I’m starting to develop, which for me is more American based, like happens in America, it’s not necessarily related to Israel. 

I haven’t received any other offers in the meantime. So I, don’t know about that. And I really hope that the show gets sold abroad. I mean that was always the intention. I love Israel and I want people to watch it here, but the money is not here. The ideas are here. 

I will say though, that being in Israel, the fact that like I went to film school, a lot of the people who work in the industry were my teachers. Do you know, like, the world is much smaller and I think that that’s why I was given this opportunity where I think like in America, you’re just, it’s just a much bigger place, a lot more people, a lot more competition. So I guess if you wanna get a show made, make aliyah. 

Yehuda: Thanks so much for listening to our show this week. Special thanks to my guest host, Shayna Weiss, and to our guest Aleeza Chanowitz. 

Identity Crisis is produced by David Zvi Kalman and was edited this week by our production manager, M. Louis Gordon. The show is produced with assistance from Miri Miller and Shalhevet Schwartz, with music provided by so-called, and Maital Friedman is our vice president of communications and creative. 

Transcripts of our show are now available on our website, typically a week after an episode airs. To find them and to learn more about the Shalom Hartman Institute, you can visit us online at We’re always looking for ideas for what we should cover in future episodes. If you have a topic you’d like to hear about or comments on this one, please write to us at [email protected].

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