The Story Behind
Israel Story

Mishy Harman behind the microphone. Mishy Harman is on the phone…again. No, he’s not securing an interview for his award-winning podcast Israel Story, he’s speaking to his parents for the seventh time today. Nothing’s wrong, he’s just checking in. His brother and sister average four calls per day with their parents as well. “For us, it’s wonderful to have three great kids,” shared Dorothy Harman in an Israel Story ...

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The World Is Valerie Weisler’s “Kosher Oyster”—And There’s Power in That

Valerie Weisler was having a moment of incredible validation: Last year, she had received a grant from a foundation for Jewish camps to be a teaching artist. She spent her summer traveling to camps, community centers, and synagogues in 13 states and in five countries, where she delighted in sharing her story of founding The Validation Project and working with young people on solving issues and problems they see in th...

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Through a Different Lens: First Blind Woman Rabbi Talks Life, Judaism, and Inclusion

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman Rabbi Lauren Tuchman has always seen life through a different lens. For the now 33-year-old who has been blind since infancy, many things about her growing up were unique to her, and often not easy. But then again, being the “first” at anything never is. After embracing Judaism as a teen, getting access to a braille siddur, learning Hebrew and then finding her way to the Hillel at Dickinson Col...

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Valerie Weisler’s Quest to End Bullying Starts with Her Judaism

Valerie with friends When Valerie Weisler, now 21, was a freshman in high school, she saw a fellow student getting teased for being overweight. In an instant, the powerful messages she learned from Ramah Nyack summer camp, METNY USY and Orangetown Jewish Center inspired her to approach the boy and say two words that changed her life and the lives of thousands of others ever since. “I told him, ‘You matter,’” she says. ...

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One Girl’s Bat Mitzvah Project Goes a Long Way in Helping Homeless

Right down the road from Ruth Newstock’s home in Memphis, Tennessee, a nearby church opens its doors every Tuesday night during the winter months so those who are homeless can have a hot meal and warm place to sleep. Given her cheery, friendly personality, it’s no surprise that when a friend asked Ruth if she wanted to volunteer one evening, she quickly accepted the offer. At that time, as a soon-to-be 12 year old,...

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From Dallas to Los Angeles, USY’s Roots Are Planted Deep in Aaron Jacobs

As Diller Teen Fellows Coordinator Aaron Jacobs traveled from Los Angeles, California, to his parent’s home in Texas shortly before New Year’s, a wave of memories flooded over him—particularly when he went to his childhood bedroom and saw what was stapled to the wall by his bed. At Diller, a global organization with 32 cohorts in communities across the world that aims to create meaning and purpose in Jewish life, Aaron...

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