Israel Story

Lost and Found—Part I

Forgotten glasses, a misplaced eye (!), and an ancient Jacuzzi? In today’s episode, the first in a two-part series on losing and finding, we explore what we find when we lose things, and what we lose once we find them.

November 8, 2021

We all know that sinking feeling of having lost something dear to our heart. Sometimes these things are gone for good, and there’s no hope of ever recovering them. But occasionally lost items—from physical objects to friends, from pride to core parts of our identity—do resurface. And those journeys between being lost and being found can often be long, winding, and bewildering.

If returning a lost item is a mitzvah, Anton Fokarev is a bona fide tzaddik. In the prologue“Have You Seen My Eye?”—host Mishy Harman visits Anton’s kingdom: the lost-and-found department at the entrance to the Savidor Merkaz train station in Tel Aviv. This is where lost items from all 70 railway stations in Israel end up, and Anton shows Mishy some of its idiosyncratic highlights.

Act I: “Hot Tub Time Machine.” When neighbors Steve Gray and Anat Harrel of Kibbutz Hanaton lost their jobs as tour guides due to the pandemic, they decided to play Indiana Jones for a while and volunteer at a nearby archaeological dig. But when an amazing discovery was unearthed, their simple attempt to keep busy turned into something much more complicated and all-consuming. Producer Skyler Inman tells a story of friendship and perseverance, tradition and renewal and—above all—of a quixotic race to move a hole in the ground from one place to another and save a 2,000-year-old mikvah.

The end song, “El Borot HaMayim”(To the Watering Holes), was written and arranged by Naomi Shemer and performed by Rona Kenan.


Zev Levi scored and sound-designed the episode with music from Blue Dot Sessions. Sela Waisblum created the mix. Thanks to Sasha Foer, Wayne Hoffman, Esther Werdiger, Sheila Lambert, Erica Frederick, Jeff Feig, and Joy Levitt.

Listen to the episode here, or download it from Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Spotify. You can hear all of Israel Story’s episodes in English here and in Hebrew here.

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