Israeli crowned world’s best short storyteller

Tel Aviv’s Shachar Levy wows judges at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with the true story of a traumatic event on his bar mitzvah day.

It was a story of success for 28-year-old Shachar Levy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this week as the Tel Aviv resident became the first champion of a new contest, a 24-hour storytelling marathon.

Storytellers from around the world took part in the competition. Organizers held local storytelling contests in places like Bulgaria, Canada, Israel, Lebanon and South Africa, among others, and invited the finalists to Edinburgh to perform.

Schachar Levy wins at Edinburgh. (Grant's Whiskey)

“The 24-hour storytelling marathon really captures the true spirit of the Fringe by gathering together some of the biggest names alongside lesser known performers and the general public, each sharing their own stories,” said Glaswegian comedian Alan Anderson.

Levy, a music producer, told a story of his rite of passage into manhood. On his bar mitzvah day, his grandfather – a certified butcher – brought a lamb to the ceremony (a lamb Levy had often played with as a boy) and slaughtered it right in front of his grandson’s eyes. Levy told the audience how he ran away into a forest, decried the ritual slaughter ceremony, became a vegetarian and entered manhood all at once.

Although he was hesitant the topic may not be winner’s material, Levy stuck with his personal story – and came out on top.

“I think it’s an instinctual thing – when someone begins to tell a true personal story you get intrigued and you want to listen,” said Peter Aguero, creator of the storytelling marathon.

The event was sponsored by Grant’s Whiskey – and Levy’s prize was a rare 25-year old bottle of scotch.

About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. She has jumped out of a plane, ducked rockets and been attacked by a baboon all in the name of a good story. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.