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The Hole in the Center of Israeli Society

The following is a transcript of Episode 123 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 Thursday, January 12th, 2020. 

I’m back in the States after a few weeks in Israel, and today’s episode is the third and final in what became kind of a miniseries about responding to the change in the Israeli political climate. Maybe we’ll even call the miniseries the changemakers, telling the story of three powerful and motivated individuals, Tani Frank, Rana Fahoum, and then today’s guests, all of whom probably with some measure of despair and frustration, nevertheless, got up, dusted themselves off after the last election and got back to work. 

I think ultimately that’s the difference between talking about hope in difficult times, on one hand, and trying to do something constructive on the other. I’ve actually found that a lot of Israelis I know are resistant or even resentful about the language of hope, maybe ironically, for citizens of a state whose national anthem is literally called the Hope. Israelis are worn down by decades of conflict. Maybe a little cynical about the politicians and dreamers sometimes who come from other countries, selling them a future that they’re not totally sure is gonna come. 

But even the folks most skeptical of the language of hope or optimism that many Americans like us cherish as part of our identities are still some of the most resilient and relentless change-makers you’ll ever find. I cherished being in Israel during the changeover in government, I found it a lot easier to be there with Israeli and Palestinian friends than it might have been to watch with fear and anxiety from afar.

My colleagues in Israel do what you do when your work is social change. They just keep trying. And it’s amazing to work in a platform organization that makes space for and creates the foundation for a lot of genuinely different people with different skills and strategies to do this kind of work. Societies that insist on change but offer only one pathway to do so, I think are destined to either radicalism or failure. Maybe a little bit of both. 

You know, many Israelis I talk to use a fascinating little phrase to talk about the short-lived coalition government under Bennett and Lapid that held up for all of one year before recently giving way back to Netanyahu. They call it the change government. Amshalat Hashinui. It’s a great phrase and it’s really loaded. All coalition governments, after all, represent a change from what came before them. What was unusual in the case of Bennett and Lapid was a real effort to move power away from Netanyahu and the Likud. 

But I would suggest that the idea of change was really manifest on two fronts. One, the whole government seemed like kind of an experimental space made up of people who were asking questions like, well, what if we tried doing something else? I’m fascinated by that as a political strategy since I like doing it myself and try to build an organization committed to that practice and behavior in the social sector.

But the second change was the biggest one, and maybe it was just a change in Bennett himself, a politician who had made his name on the nationalist right, but emerged over the course of the year as more of a statesman, more of, to use a complicated word, a liberal. A lot of that change of course got repudiated in the last election, but maybe it’s reasonable to think that at least on a few fronts, Israel is a kind of like a one-and-a-quarter steps forward, one and a little less than a quarter steps back process towards change.

Who knows actually what the next few years are gonna bring? And that uncertainty implicitly elevates the importance of relentless change makers, like today’s social entrepreneur, who are constantly borrowing and mining in the society for windows of opportunity to try to get Israel a little closer to being better. Not perfect, just better. 

Tehila Friedman is an activist, a writer, a thinker, and an on-and-off politician. She had a short stint in the Knesset two governments ago, but it was a really memorable one. Her inaugural speech as a member of Knesset went viral with millions of views in it. Tehila argued for the formation of, quote, an alliance of moderates towards a shared center, but she refused to allow for that center to be caricatured as gentle or compromising. Instead, she argued, I’m quoting this whole paragraph, the center I’m talking about is a principled center, a zealots center that’s not willing to compromise about its centeredness, about its responsibility for all the residents of our country, about the role that it plays for all those who really wanna live together.

It puts a limit on self-righteousness, a limit on selfishness. A center that’s willing to sacrifice in the name of moderation and democracy, of a Judaism that makes place for others a center that with its very being, protects the rules that allow us to manage our differences without breaking us into pieces.

I have a lot of questions about that. We’ll come to those. But more recently, Tehila launched a Hebrew language podcast hosted and produced by my colleagues at Hartman in Jerusalem called B’medinat haYehudim, in the state of the Jews. Not the Jewish state, mind you, and I think probably the pun is intended.

In this scripted narrative podcast, Tehila narrates the ongoing struggles and challenges around building a pluralistic and equitable Jewish state that could better navigate its commitments to liberal democracy, addressing issues like the growing divides among the Jewish people, Shabbat in the public square, modesty laws, and more. It’s an urgent public conversation. And Tehila invites in both religious leaders and politicians to toggle between the different dis discourses in which this conversation has to take place.

Its tagline, reads, quote on Judaism, state, and the revolution that has yet to happen. When I went on Tehila’s podcast, I struggled through it in Hebrew. So now as revenge, I’ve asked her to come on this podcast and talk in English. Tehila, thank you for being here and, and let me start by asking you, what is that revolution?

You say it’s a mahapecha, a revolution that has not happened. What is the revolution that you actually wanna see happen about Jewishness in the state of Israel?

Tehila: I thought you were gonna ask, what is a revenge, because I also thought of it as a revenge.

What’s a revolution? Look, the Judaism we know. Okay, the Judaism of Chazal, the rabbis, was created as a culture of minority and never had sovereignty. Never had to take care of, of public sphere or to think how you design relationship between groups that doesn’t agree necessarily because it always, you know, if you don’t agree, so build your own beit knesset. It’s not, um, I mean there were communities, but sovereignty is a whole different thing than having community.

And having a Jewish state is creating a whole new series of questions that the Halakha in Jewish culture never had to think about, never had to confront. And I feel that even now, after 75 years of sovereignty, we, we never did it. We never ask ourselves, is that the same thing? Like thinking, Jewishly thinking, is that the same thing to do conversion when you are a minority and when you have a state? Is that the same thing to, Shabbat? Is that the same thing?

I feel that we’re over and over trying to do copy-paste or just to tell ourselves that yes, we are continuing the same Jewish story while we are not, and there are thing we need to deal with and we didn’t yet. And it’s interesting why I think when, when you listen to Ben Gurion’s speeches, Golda Meir, even Netanyahu himself will say again and again and again, Jewish state Jewish, but would almost never talk about what it means, like what’s the content of it.

And I think in Ben Gurion times it was because, you know, there were other things more urgent you need to build to build hospitals and school and army and to absorb immigrants and you need to build the state. And there was no time to, and also it was clear that this is such a challenge to tackle those questions that it was okay, we’ll do it later, you know, when everything will be settle later.

And I feel that now later had come. And what we see now in the new government, that there’s a huge effort in making Jewish state into Halakhic state, which is pretty frightening. But maybe first time they are really dealing with what it means to be Jewish state. Not only national identity, but content-wise.

Yehuda: You know, what’s striking about the phrase, the revolution, is that you might argue that Zionism actually has had two successful revolutions, opposite revolutions. There’s the secular revolution of Zionism. David Hartman writes about this in his book, Israelis in the Jewish tradition, he said Zionism presented a total revolution in Jewish identity because it forced Jews to basically say, our future political, social, economic is entirely in our own hands. That revolution succeeded in kind of a first phase of Zionism. You know, kibbutz movement, build a society, build an army, that was a total revolution of Jewish identity. 

And the other revolution that seems to have succeeded and is now ascendant in Israel is what you might call the religious Zionist Revolution, which has done the work interpretively of going back and saying, actually maybe instead of the Babylonian Talmud, I want to go back to, I don’t know, the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua, to say that’s what it means to be Jewish today. 

What you’re talking about is somewhere in the middle. It’s a revolution that is rehabilitating some story of the Jewish condition, but not allowing it to be a fundamentalist story.

Right. It, it’s a strange place in between the secular revolution and the dati-Leumi religious-Zionist revolution, both of which I think did pretty well over the last 75 years.

Tehila: It’s interesting. I, I, I didn’t think about it that way, but I guess you are right. Look, even if we say that the religious Zionist community, which I belong to,  is pretty similar to Ben Gurion, is trying to go back to the biblical time. Yeah, to the biblical Judaism. But it’s not for real. I mean, yes, army, yes, you know, occupying the land like in Yehoshua, but what about the daily life? 

And not only daily, but you know, questions as a Shabbat, as conversion, as what makes you part of the nation or not. Okay. Is that similar of being a citizen? Obviously not. But the law of return is that should be according to Halakhic rules? Is that should be according to something else? I can think of tons of questions that religious Zionism never dealt with seriously, or didn’t take enough responsibility or didn’t have enough courage to say something fundamental had changed. 

You know, having a state is not less fundamental change than not having a temple. Means, what Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai did after the temple destruction was to create a new version of Judaism. I, I always think about it as a mobile application, okay? Because, Judaism used to have land and temple and everything was around it. It was centered around it. 

And then when the temple didn’t exist anymore, there was a need to create something else. Something that you can take in your backpack, take with you. And Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, not alone obviously, but he created it. I always think about our time as the opposite, thanks, God, as the opposite move. Okay. We are moving from, moving to again having a physical center. It’s something different. It, it’s different and you need to have, again, a different version of Judaism.

Now, this is not what the religious Zionism community believed. Neither what ben Gurion did. I mean, Ben Gurion, yes, the secular Zionism builds a physical state, but I, I can’t say they didn’t give attention, they did, but everything that has to do with culture, with education, with content,

Yehuda: Mm-hmm.

Tehila: Jewish content.

Yehuda: Not there yet.

Tehila: No, no.

Yehuda: You know, I, I got to witness recently two different Israeli colleagues, uh, scholars, both of whom are strongly opposed to the current government, but one who identifies as religious Zionist and one who identifies as secular and they spoke honestly about the skepticism and frustration that they have with each other. 

And the secular scholar who’s generous in terms of, doesn’t fully think this way, but you could tell that had some of these biases. It was a little bit of like, the religious Zionist community got us into this mess. Whenever you bring religion into the business of state, you introduce all of these fundamentalist elements that actually get in the way of the project of building a viable secular nation-state that is actually democratic, equal to all of its citizens.

You identify as a religious Zionist Jew. I’m sure that you’ve heard this before. I’m sure it’s frustrating to you. My religious Zionist colleague said in response, listen, if you do protests on Saturday night, an hour after Shabbat in Tel Aviv, you’re signaling that you don’t even want religious Zionist Jews to be there.

So what’s the message that religious Zionists who are trying to advocate for a more liberal worldview, how do they broach that conversation together with the secular left that views with such skepticism that folks who are identified with the religious Zionist community are part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution?

Tehila: First, I understand the frustration. On the other hand, look what’s happening now in Israel, is happening in a little different version, but not so different elsewhere in the world. Okay? You can think about many European countries moving to more nationalist, less liberal, regimes.

Okay. Hungary, Poland. I don’t think your country was in a very, very different place, not so long ago. And there are reasons for that. And one of the reasons is that people feel that the sense of belonging, there’s, uh, roots, the sense of identity, is shaking. Is not secure enough.

Now, I think religion can play a very positive role in building social cohesiveness, in building belonging, in building secure identity. I understand that more, it’s, not in its fundamental version. Okay. When you think about religion as set of rules of un-humanistic, So yes, this is, I understand why it’s not, uh, very tempting.

But look, the Jewish culture, the Jewish tradition, being so ancient and so rich, has different components. We should be very proud in, in bringing to the world the notion of equality. Zachar v’nekeva bara otam. Yes, the basic equality of human life, of all people, nivreu b’tselem, I don’t know how to say those words in English, but, uh, eh,

Yehuda: People created in the image of God. Yeah.

Tehila: So this is, this is the base for humanism. This is the base for democracy. It’s coming from our tradition. And so there are parts of Judaism that are extremely humanistic. There are other parts like in every ancient culture, and it’s our responsibility, what we choose, not only to emphasize, but what are we choosing to put in the center? I, I don’t think it’s yes or no.

If someone thinks that Israel can be a secular state, I don’t think most Israelis are secular. I think most Israelis are traditional, thanks God, I think, very attached to tradition, and I don’t think it has to be something anti-democratic. The opposite. I sh, I think it can be the base for democracy and the base for social cohesiveness.

I’m not trying to say it’s not complicated with the non-Jewish citizens of Israel. You spoke with Rana, also friend of mine. Obviously it challenging, her national identity, my national identity, clashes over and over, but it’s not impossible. And also in, Arab citizens of Israel are not secular, I mean, there are two traditions here, and so, I understand what your friend is saying, I think religion can play an opposite role.

Yehuda: So, so let me stay on religious Zionism for one more second, and then we can go to a vision of liberalization, of centrism, of some of what you’re trying to do, uh, in the podcast. And this might be a frustrating question, so just giving you advanced notice. 

There was a humanistic strain in religious Zionist thinking and writing largely before the 1967 War. The religious Zionist party, even actually for a decade or so afterwards, was identified with figures who were seen as moderates, part of the kind of social fabric, and something significantly changed around religious Zionism as religious Zionism has become largely connected to the settlement project. 

I’m not coming up with this theory on my own. It seems almost kind of obvious. Part of what you’re talking about in terms of a humanist, liberal religious Zionist project, cause that’s what a revolution really looks like, of reinvestigating, how does our tradition help us prepare for the better version of a Jewish state, means fighting against what has kind of taken over as the dominant ideology of religious Zionism. 

So I partly wanna ask about like what that actually looks like. But I also wanna nudge a little bit on, does that religious Zionism then in turn also have to be more anti-occupation? Or are these kind of separate conversations, one about occupation and one about Judaism within the boundaries of Israel itself?

Tehila: First I’m thinking about the theory. Is that true? Because one of the, I can think of voices such as Rav Amital, who headed Meimed, during the eighties, maybe the nineties,

Yehuda: Nineties, yeah. 

Tehila: Nineties. I can think about Rav Froman, both are settler, you can say. Both raised a very unique voice, very humanistic, within religious Zionism. I’m not saying that was a mainstream, I’m not, but it’s not before and after 67, I’m not sure that’s where I would draw the line. 

What we see today, some of it, yes, connected very much to relationship with Palestinian and with Arab citizens of Israel. But too easy to say. It’s only, you know, the territories, only occupation, what you said. What happened two years ago in Israel, what we call Shomer Hachomot. It was May.

Yehuda: Yeah, May, 2021. 

Tehila: 2021. Okay. The clash between Israeli and Arab citizens within Israel, I think shaked many israelis. And pushed them, I think, some of the many voters for Ben Gvir did it because May two years ago.

And this is not settlements, this is not territories. What I’m trying to say, that we have a national conflict here. Unfortunately, it’s not only Judea and Samaria. It was easier if it was.

I’m saying unfortunately because I wish I can separate, you know, the Arab citizens of Israel and the Palestinian in territories and outside of it. I can’t. And it makes it a lot more complicated. So I’m not saying yes or no to your theory, I’m just saying that it’s not only that. Okay. 

And also, there’s today horrible, it’s not interview, it’s, um, it’s eh,

Yehuda: Investigation. 

Tehila: Yeah, in Haaretz about Avi Maoz, and he’s quoted saying things about women, about democracy, about horrible, horrible, horrible, has nothing to do with Arabs. I mean, I’m not saying he’s not against Arabs, but so his, like flag, is being anti-progress. We are anti the progressive movement. What he think of as a progressive movement. Some of what he would call progress, I would call basic liberalism. But whatever. So it’s much broader than the national conflict. 

I do think if you want to put one point, there is a question of hierarchy. Because I think Avi Maoz believes in the supremacy of Jews over others, the supremacy of male over female. The supremacy of observant over non observant Jews. He, he believes in hierarchy. It’s not only he believe in it and I don’t. We, what he thinks the Torah say and what I think the Torah say, even more than that, what I think God is saying and what he think God is saying is different and, and I’m smiling, but I, for me, it’s painful, because what happening today for me is not only political debatem not only political crisis, it’s a spiritual crisis. It’s a religious crisis. I feel like we fight who is God?

Yehuda: Yeah. I mean, it’s a, I think that approach will be surprising in some ways to American Jews who engage and follow even intimately the politics around Israel, for whom, for many of us, I would say, I can’t really separate between my feelings about occupation and my feelings about religious pluralism. I think that they’re wedded together. I think it’s gonna be hard for Israel to advance domestic liberalism so long as it doesn’t make major progress around the fundamental human rights and dignity of Palestinians who are living under occupation. 

But you’re arguing that actually there’s a larger I, I’m able to be committed to these values in a larger sense, even if I can move far on one and the other feels stagnating.

Tehila: Look, if you are right, and those two are inseparable, it’s very bad news for people like myself because I’m not sure the Palestinian conflict is in my hands to solve, I mean, as Israelis, you know what, maybe I can do steps, I can move forward, but I don’t think it’s all about us. I don’t think it’s all our fault or our responsibility. There are two sides for it.

So what if I can’t solve it now? So I’m stuck with being, I mean, I have to move in two lines all the time because otherwise what can I do?

Yehuda: You said in your Knesset speech actually, that although you’re, you’re confident in your own identity, Jewish, religious, religious Zionist, nationalist, feminist, Jerusalemite, that there’s a lot for you to learn from Mizrachi Jews, Ethiopian Jews, from Arabs, from Haredim, individualist liberals, Druze, Bedouin, diaspora Jews, et cetera.

What does a real coalition look like? Acknowledging that like everybody has to lose a little bit. So when you say, I don’t know that it’s in my hands to really make major steps on occupation, but I can move a little bit over here, do you think it’s gonna be viable to bring a lot of people along when everybody has to give up a little bit?

You know, I wonder whether part of the reason why the parties that are currently winning are winning is because they refuse to compromise about all the things that they care about.

Tehila: First I must say that I changed a little bit since my, this speech you quoted because, back then, I really thought that we can build a covenant of moderate people, uh, from all walks of life in Israel, from all identities. Today, I think, the most urgent thing is to rebuild the Zionist center, means that people who believe in Jewish democratic state, what’s happening today in Israel is that the right side, the winner, believes in Jewish state with the majority decide. 

Okay. It’s not liberal democracy. It’s not, you know, human rights. It’s, the majority is making the decisions while the left side of Israel, very small, but believes in, in democratic state with Jewish majority. But again, there is some declining what it means, Jewish state. On the other hand, they’re making democracy into something technic and, and the other side, making Judaism into something more technical.  I think there’s urgent need to recreate the majority that believes in Jewish democratic together, Jewish state and democratic state b’dibur echad. 

And I understand that both the ultra-Orthodox and and the Arabs are not part of this center. They can be the important part of Israeli society. They need to be maybe in the government, but they’re not part of the center. And because we lost the center, that’s why we’re in the situation we are. Because something, we lost what’s supposed to hold society, to hold it together. The center is like the stable place that’s supposed to hold the society together. 

I also think that the most important thing for Israel to do is to, uh, observe aliyah from Rahat and Bnei Brak. But the question become, who’s observing? Like, who’s, into what? And I can’t say there is no Israeli society, but the Israeli society is so ripped out, and going so much to opposite directions that there is a hole in the center. And what used to be the mainstream just disappear and we need to rebuild it.

Yehuda: It’s interesting. In the nineties, I remember folks telling me, even the Labor Party leaders actually telling me in the nineties when the Labor Party was strong, that tachles, on a whole bunch of issues of religion and state, domestic issues, et cetera, that there wasn’t a lot of daylight actually between Labor and Likud back then, but there was significant difference around the Palestinian cause, and therefore there was no possibility of a serious national unity government, which would enable the Labor and Likud to basically sideline the Haredim and the extremists. 

Now the opposite is true. There’s not a huge amount of daylight between the center and the right with respect to the Palestinian cause. But the reason why you can’t have a national unity government that has Netanyahu and Lapid and Gantz and Bennett or whoever else is mostly cause of Netanyahu’s legal issues. 

You know, is there ever gonna be a point where we actually get to a place of basically a consensus government of 70 to 80 Knesset members who just plug through a whole bunch of domestic change because that’s what very clearly the majority of Israelis, uh, actually wanna see.

Tehila: You know, I think it’s a to be or not to be question for Israel, because, uh, I think that we have to deal with domestically, the question of the Haredi participation in labor force and, and in taking duties of being citizens, become urgent question for Israel. The fear of becoming a third-world state, of being poor place, is serious, is real. 

And the reason we can’t do it is because we can’t take the Zionist forces. We can’t get them to work together. And look, I was part of the blue and white party when we decided to get into Netanyahu’s government, despite our promises not to do it. After the Corona broke and after the third elections, Gantz and Lapid break up over it. And I was with Gantz part that decided to give it a shot. It failed. And yet, I think that’s the only way for Israel to survive.

Because look, the situation now, when you have half of the government not serving in army and are gonna make the decisions over, you know, sending soldiers into whatever. I mean, it just can’t work. There is something immoral in that. Really immoral.

And there is such an unbalanced situation between who’s paying taxes and who is serving and who is holding the country on its shoulders and most of those people are not represented now in the government. So I, I’m really afraid. I think that the big picture of what’s happening now is that Israel that I believe in, is Jewish Democratic and mamlachtit, means, mamlachtiyut is kind of, maybe republicanism, is like putting the interest of the country before the interest of the sector. 

It’s like the opposite of multiculturalism as the ideology. Okay, is like and what’s happening now is that the Jewish part becomes Halakhic, the democracy become, you know, majority makings rules. And instead of mamlachtiyut, becoming emphasizing sectorialism, and pushing towards more and more sectorial society. Now what’s clearly gonna happen is that the Chilonim, the secular, the nonobservant, that usually treats himself as a majority and the hegemony, and understood that there are privileges of minorities that they don’t have because they are the majority.

Now, I think they’re gonna come and say, no, if we’re not the majority, we want a privilege of minority. Means, only yesterday someone came out with this initiative of creating Yeshiva hesder for seculars. Means less time in the Army, only a year and a half, and learning, you know, Jewish secular studies, or philosophy, things like that. Now it only makes sense, but think of it, if everyone are minorities, who are the majority? Who think of itself as a responsible adult? 

Who say, you know, I’m a mother. You are a father, yeah? We give the kids food before we take for ourselves. That’s what you do when you are adult. You take care of the kids before you take care of yourself, that’s being a parent. Now, when no one sees themself as a responsible adult, no one take care of the common good before you take care of the interest of the sector. And today in Israel, there is no one who sees a big picture. And that’s a sectorial.

Yehuda: Yeah. It reminds me of what Tal Becker has written about and speaks a lot about, of what he calls, that Israel needs a sovereign state of mind. You have to start recognizing you’re in charge. And you can’t keep appealing to the notion of vulnerability and the disappearance of sovereignty. Cause the more you kind of obsess about that, you stop recognizing that you’re actually in charge of the society and capable of leading it.

Let me ask you one last question, which is more personal. You’ve been on the political side. You’re now a little bit more on the kind of social entrepreneurial side. Obviously, Israel needs politics, better politics, it needs better ideologies. Tell me a little bit about what the experience is like for you, when you feel like you’re more inside the political system and more outside the political system.

I assume that’s not the last effort that you’ll make towards being in politics, but I’m curious to hear like, what it feels like to try to do this work both inside the system and a little bit outside of it.

Tehila: I mean, I’m, I’m extremely frustrated. I feel fear, I feel, I mean, it’s hard times in Israel now, and I ask myself, would I feel any better if I was in the Knesset? Would it be worse? I feel that voices like myself who believe in solidarity, in building shared society, in building covenant of moderate people. I’m not sure voices like myself has placed now in, in, in the political sphere.  So it’s, maybe it’s good I’m not there. 

I mean, I happen to be a believer, so I’m asking myself, you know, what’s my shlichut, where, like, where God will want me to be and when. I look at my friends who are now Knesset member. I mean, I’m not envy. It’s extremely hard now. Extremely hard. So much responsibility on their shoulders and such a frustration of not, because the situation now is that the coalition theory being aggressive, it’s unbelievable how aggressive they are and are not willing to any kind of dialogue with opposition.

So all the opposition has to do is kind of shouting and, and it’s, it’s a horrible frustration. And also, even if you are not very radical, this situation, it takes you to be much more radical than you are. Also I feel that there are two big missions now. Stom harah, v’oseh tov. I mean, stop the bad and do the good. Now stop the bad, that’s a huge mission, and I’m privileged to be able to focus and do the good in terms of creating alternative, like putting base for alternative political options in terms of what ideology of this, you know, center I dream of.

What’s the policy of it? Who’s the people? And, try to, to put base for that. The framework I work in is called the 100 Initiative. Yozmat Hameah. And that’s, we are trying to build infrastructure for this center, and to recreate the Zionist covenant between, you know, the people who believe in Jewish democratic state together.

And so it’s building an alternative. It’s a long-term effort, but that’s for me the other part of stop bad is the do good, is that’s what I’m trying to do.

Yehuda: Well, thank you for everything you do, Tehila. And I’ll say to our listeners, please, uh, check out B’medinat Hayehudim, especially if you have some amount of Hebrew. We’re gonna put a link to it in our notes for this show. Um, it gives you an inside view into the best versions of conversations between Israelis about these issues, and as I hope was clear to our listeners throughout the show, how Israelis are navigating questions of moderation and liberalism and the different issues that they’re dealing with, are of a totally different nature than sometimes the way they show up in American Jewish context and in English.

So thank you Tehila for being here, and thanks to all of you for listening to our show. 

Identity Crisis is produced by David Zvi Kalman and edited by Gareth Hobbs at Silver Sound NYC. Our production manager is M. Louis Gordon. The show is produced with assistance from Miri Miller and Shalhevet Schwartz with music provided by Socalled. 

Transcripts of our show are now available on our website, typically about 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 always are looking for ideas about future episodes. If you have a topic you wanna hear about or comments on this one, you can write to us at [email protected]. You can rate and review identity crisis on iTunes to help more people find it. You can subscribe to our show everywhere podcasts are available. We’ll see you next week and thanks for listening.

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