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The former Torontonian talks about the Israeli way of life and how Israelis love being laughed at

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Social media star Renny Grinshpan made aliyah to be with her now-husband, but was unaware the move would also launch her career | Photo: Basti Hansen

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One of Israel’s most popular social media personalities is Toronto’s own Renny Grinshpan. In the past few years, her videos on social media, which explore her love of pot, Israeli culture, and Israeli men, have been watched by millions around the world.

She grew up in Forest Hill, in midtown suburbia, and made aliyah six years ago, quickly becoming a household social media name, after she joined the cast of The Israeli Girls (HaIsraeliot), an all-female comedy group, that makes Facebook videos from an Israeli woman’s perspective. I recently spoke to Renny about Israel, her career, and her previous home and native land, Canada.

Why did you decide to move to Israel?

I made aliyah six years ago for the same reason every English-speaking person with a vagina makes aliyah. That is, for Israeli men. I had fallen in love with one. I was so dramatic. We moved right in together.

How did your career evolve from that point?

I left Toronto when I was 18 years old, and I moved to New York to go to college. I did my second degree there, while I was doing my first year of long distance with my now-husband. I studied history and journalism – nothing in the realm of comedy. But I’d always grown up loving musical theatre and comedy and music. 

When I came here, I really wanted to do short, documentary-style stuff. But it’s so much work on the back of one person… I didn’t want to go into hard news. From that moment, I freelanced, doing anything and everything I could. I was modelling and acting. Then, I got to HaIsraeliot.

After an audition with them – my audition footage was used in the first few videos advertising HaIsraeliot –it did so well that they sat me down and said, ‘So, what do you want to talk about?’

I said, ‘Maybe I’ll write stuff about Israelis and Israeli culture. My dad is Israeli. I grew up making fun of him for his accent and all sorts of stuff.’

I did those first few videos about pot and weddings in Israel and the Hebrew dictionary – none of those were really intending to be funny. I really was just writing observations and insights. Turns out, that’s comedy. It’s just pulling on truths and insights.

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The alphabet video. That really sort of blew up everything. I remember seeing it three of four years ago laughing my ass off, because it’s very funny to do Israelis the way you do them. How did that come about?

I actually wrote that one with my husband. I told him what I wanted to do. I had the concept and he just helped me fill in all the words. I don’t even know how that happened. I always look back on that time and am trying to emulate what my then-self achieved so easily – which was pure authentic ‘being in the moment.’

What made HaIsraeliot so unique? 

It’s funny because #metoo was after that. It was still new to do a whole group of women. It’s so funny how that was not that long ago…  Israelis love talking about Israeli shit. They love being laughed at if it means that this is the subject. Israel is such a tiny country that when you hear a native English speaker talk about Israeli stuff, that, automatically, is endearing for them.

Grinshpan feels at home in Tel Aviv, with her Israeli husband, claiming little shrimp Canadian boys didn’t know what to do with her loud personality | Photo: Basti Hansen

What do you miss most about Canada?

I love the desert. But I miss greenery and my childhood girlfriends.

If you had to teach a Canadian reading this piece about Israeli culture, what are the main lessons they should know?

Negate, go against all of your natural tendencies…  It took me several years. I still struggle sometimes when somebody approaches me with unsolicited advice. That’s a big Israeli thing. Get prepared for some advice that you never asked for. It actually really pushed me to grow as a person. Because, when you are so polite with everyone and everyone is so polite with you, you don’t get to the uncomfortable moments that force you to set boundaries. Life is short. It is very healthy to say, ‘no.’

Renny’s popular “Hebrew Dictionary” viral video

Your love for Israeli men is well documented in all the videos. It is a constant theme which is quite funny. I also noticed that, unlike the Israelis, you are extremely Zionistic. Where does that come from?

It’s so funny that you say that, because I do love Israel, but when I hear the word ‘Zionism’ or ‘Zionistic’, I think of people who make aliyah because they believe Israel is the place to live as a Jewish person. That’s not why I came here. I love the people, the men, and the Israeli vibe. I do love this country so much… I think it comes from the fact that when I was a kid growing up… every summer coming here, was when I felt the best about myself.

I was such a loud, outgoing, crazy personality in Canada, that those little shrimp Canadian boys didn’t know what to do with me, or how to stomach me…

People just know how to live better here. They are more open and loud, more sociable… I was considering moving back to Canada this year, and one of the things that got me out of fantasizing was that my friends in Canada do not see each other. They see each other maybe once a week on the weekend – maybe. They are not walking into each other’s homes unannounced, like Israelis do. 

Find more Renny here:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heyitsrenny/?hl=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heyitsrenny/

Igal Hecht is a documentary filmmaker and journalist who works all over the world. 

For more info visit www.chutzpaproductions.com

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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