Miriam Herschlag

Blame it on the boogie: Stories in the key of listen up

Pull up a chair and press play to hear the WhyWhyWhy! podcast. Then come to a live performance, or maybe even tell a story yourself

When my co-hosts and I at WhyWhyWhy!, a monthly live show that’s also a podcast, pick a theme, we know two things: The first is that, whether it’s “Mistakes Were Made” or “Chutzpah,” or the above music-related episode, or our upcoming show, “Sisters and Brothers,” the stories will somehow relate to the topic. The second is that all the stories will be about other things as well: about friendship, or the quirkiness of family, or crossing cultural divides, or surviving army service. Good stories function on multiple levels.

And true stories told well are full of odd twists and particular details. Somehow, the more specific, the more human and relatable. And the stories in our latest show are richly, deeply human. I invite you to listen to our “Blame It on the Boogie” episode, recorded live at the Jacob’s Ladder music festival at Ginosar beach on the shores of Lake Kinneret, and to subscribe to our podcast, WhyWhyWhy!.

In this episode, you can hear my story about a child violin prodigy who ended up living with my family, a foreign presence among us until one magical night. And speaking of violins, you can hear Alon Tal on how he journeyed thousands of miles and took many unplanned years to deliver a violin to its rightful heir.

Avigail Morris, an anthropologist, made a splash by singing with women on the South Pacific island of Tongatapu in the Kingdom of Tonga where, as she mentions in her story, they make these amazing barkcloth “tapa.”

Wedding tapa from Tonga (image via Wikipedia)

Eli Rockowitz was a summer camp music director who practically had an accordian surgically sewn to his body. But his story is about how he went to the Soviet Union empty-handed and still brought the gift of Hebrew music to the refusenik Jews awaiting permission to leave for the West.

A mixtape from a colleague who was “just a friend” broke Milton Roller’s unrequited heart. Elana Dorfman and her partner took Tango lessons that cast a spell to inject fresh romance into an old love. And Bill Slott spins the yarn of his stint as Chief Accordionist of the IDF’s Nahal Infantry Brigade.

Enjoy the stories, and do come to our live shows, hosted by yours truly together with Noah Efron and Susan Warchaizer. For the price of a beer, it’s a warmly human evening of laughs, tears, chortles and sighs.

The next WhyWhyWhy! live show is Wednesday, June 19, 8pm, at Yeoshua Bar, 22 Ben Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv. The theme is “Sisters and Brothers.”

To browse through our episodes, click here. For info on the upcoming show, and to pitch a story, click here.

And, of course, you can find us on our Facebook page, WhyWhyWhy Podcast: True Stories from Israel.

About the Author
Opinion and Blogs editor at The Times of Israel (Cover photo needlework by Yocheved Herschlag Muffs.)