07 August 2017
Ron Kaplan, Federation Board member and chair of Federation’s Community & Global Impact Committee, reflects on the inaugural Imagine Israel Podcast episode one year after its release.
As soon as I started to listen, the podcast immediately drew me in. This first episode features a conversation with director, Kobi Paz around his new TV show, “Mothers and Fathers”, about a gay male couple having children with a female friend. This is a specifically Israeli approach to LGBT families, where co-parenting is a more common trend than in the United States. The couple at the center of the show not only charts their own course in creating a family, but they also negotiate perennial Israeli social issues—Ashkenazi and Mizrachi, religious and secular, traditional and trailblazing. Think of it as an Israeli “Modern Family,” telling a personal, compelling and uniquely Israeli approach to LGBT families. While Israeli television routinely features LGBT characters—and has done so for many years—“Mothers and Fathers” was still a groundbreaking topic, focusing exclusively on LGBT families and reflecting the paradox of Israeli society today, which can be at the same time traditional and progressive.
The podcast also resonated with me because I was fortunate to participate in Federation’s LGBT Mission to Israel in Summer 2016, where we met with LGBT organizations, changemakers and cultural icons. Every meeting was an eye-opening learning experience, where one of the main takeaways was that we had much to learn from each other. While in the US, marriage equality has been the leading topic in the LGBT community, in Israel, building LGBT families is a bigger focus, as children are so central to Israel and Jewish society. The baby boom among LGBT families in Tel Aviv is something I don’t think has a parallel in this country, and the way they have gone about it is also inspiring. The collective, it-takes-a-village approach that is so uniquely Israeli also permeates the Israeli LGBT community and is reflected in the TV show in their approach to creating family and creating community.