18 December 2019
Many people have asked for recommendations about podcasts in Hebrew. Below you will find a list of podcasts with descriptions and some additional information. Some of these podcasts are well-known (like Kan podcasts), and some are closer to being niche audio blogs, mostly related to technology, that we found interesting.
Note that with one exception (scroll below for details), these are just podcasts in Hebrew, not podcasts for Hebrew learners or podcasts about the Hebrew language. All of these podcasts require a good grasp of Hebrew grammar and vocabulary to understand them. However, if you can understand enough of some podcast to get you interested, listening to a podcast will be a great way to expand your vocabulary and improve your listening skills.
Kan, the Israeli national broadcasting corporation, offers a very broad range of podcasts on different topics, ranging from business and economics to the Torah and history. The podcasts have a good quality of recording, and the speakers most often speak slowly and clearly (though their language may be quite flowery). The duration of the podcasts ranges from 10 minutes to more than an hour - so if you have little time, you can choose a shorter podcast. And also, some of the podcasts have written transcripts you can look it if the speech is too fast or difficult to understand.
Kan uses the Hebrew word for podcast, recommended by the Academy of the Hebrew
Language — הֶסְכֵּת hesket. It derives from לְהַסְכִּית lehaskit "to listen
attentively" and is also related to תַּסְכִּית taskit "radio drama".
Note, however, that in the ordinary spoken language, פודקאסט is much more common than הסכת.
Geekonomy is run by two Israeli tech industry executives and is a series of interviews with businesspeople, academics, journalists, educators and professionals. The podcast covers a wide range of topics broadly related to economics and business.
The recording quality is quite good, however some of the interviwees may speak too fast or not clear enough. But if you are tired of Hebrew, there is also an issue in English.
Making History was originally a single podcast by Ran Levi but has now expanded to more than a dozen podcasts with different hosts, including high-profile personalities. The original Making History podcast covered tech, science and business, and now the site also has podcasts about politics, religion, medicine, food and other topics.
The podcasts' difficulty varies a lot depending on the hosts, the guest and the topic covered — so choose a podcast on a topic you are interested in and see if you can understand it well.
S-Emek (the name itself is a play of words on "Silicon Valley" — in Hebrew, עמק הסיליקון emek ha-silikon, and כוס עמק), is a series of funny audio stories by a couple of tech industry executives on a number of random topics.
The podcast is full of cynical humour, and you can imagine yourself sitting in a cafe or a pub with the authors and listening to their conversation. The speech is fast, there is often noise in the background, and the language is full of slang and of references to things you might not know, so don't be surprised if you feel like the guy who is just sitting by silently and doesn't understand half of the jokes!
Tik Tech is a podcast about Israeli High Tech job market for those who are looking for a job in the industry. It is run by Israeli Tech Challenge, a Tel Aviv-based tech bootcamp. Check out this podcast if you want to practice listening to texts related to recruitment and job search, software development, machine learning and internet marketing — and of course if you are interested in getting in the sector!
A series of long, very detailed talks about Beatles, their history and path to success and their music.
This podcast intends to be fun and informative (or, rather, educational) at the same time. In every issue, the hosts have a brief introductory chat about random things for 3-5 minutes and then go on to discuss some interesting historical occasion that has a fun angle — for example, the story about the pilot who stole an airplane while drunk and landed safely on a New York City street — and later repeated it, or the woman who sued McDonalds for several million dollars because her coffee was too hot.
The hosts speak rather fast and informally, and the vocabulary of the show is very broad (because it’s not limited to one specialised topic like IT or economics) - so even though it’s very casual, we would call it advanced material.
HaMangal is a podcast about branding, marketing and digital strategy launched by two Israeli marketing professionals.
The recording quality is good, however, one of the two hosts speaks very fast, and the other one omits a lot of sounds, so the podcast may be a challenge to understand. Listen to it if you want to improve your knowledge of marketing, SEO, product management, consulting and enterpreneurship, or if you want to take your listening skills to the next level.
This is a series of stories about crime from a professional Israeli criminologist. The topics include high-profile crimes that happened in Israel or elsewhere (such as the 2009 murder of the Usherenko family) as well criminology in general and the history of the field. The podcasts include interviews with the people who investigated the crimes back in the day. The speech is very slow and clear, and if you are into crime stories, this can be a way to train your Hebrew listening skills while listening to true crime accounts.
This podcast, which has a subtitle "The profession with the most "no's" in the world", is for those who are interested in acting.
Every issue is an interview an actor or someone else from the industry, with a focus on how the person started acting, what obstacles he or she had to overcome, how they handle rejection and what motivates them.
Depending on the interviewee, the listening difficulty may vary. You can start with this interview with an actress who was born in Argentina and started learning Hebrew when she was an adult — her speech is a bit slower and thus simpler to understand than those of the native speaker.
Unlike the other podcasts in this list, this one is in English.
Each issue of this podcast is a very short audio that covers a specific topic — often something as specific as a single word, expression or a bunch of synonymous expressions. This podcast teaches to speak idiomatic spoken Hebrew, and the author has a talent to put tell the story in an interesting and funny way.
We have just scratched the surface of Hebrew podcast universe — and there are surely multiple other good podcasts we forgot about (or never knew of). Also, the list above is focused mostly on tech, business and science, and a lot of other stuff (like books, sports, cooking, religion or spirituality) remains out of our scope.
We recommend you to check out podcastim.org.il, a broader directory of Hebrew language podcasts. One of the good thinks about it is that on that site, you can listen to any of the podcasts at 0.5x or 0.75x rate without opening them in Spotify. This is helpful if it's difficult for you to understand the podcast at full speed.
If you know any other podcasts you can recommend, do not hesitate to let us and other readers know in the comments or in social media.
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