By COLlive reporter
In recent years it has become a thing for shluchim throughout the U.S. to appear on cooking segments on their local television stations sharing Yom Tov cooking tips and more with multitudes of local viewers.
The local TV appearances, reports National Public Radio (NPR), are thanks to ChabadOne PR, the Chabad.org media team responsible for assisting shluchim worldwide with their media outreach: “In the four years since Chabad launched its cooking segment initiative… the media team have placed nearly 450 spots in 43 media markets.”
“The person that many point to as the flame for this philosophy is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, referred to simply as ‘the Rebbe,'” continues the NPR story, written by Larissa Zimberoff.
“At the core of the Rebbe’s teachings is that every individual is important, and that rituals — lighting the candles before Shabbat dinner, eating the matzo at Passover — have extreme importance. Outreach on holidays is done is to promote Jewish engagement in the faith. That philosophy is what drives Chabad representatives to invite strangers into their home for Shabbat dinners — and to appear on television.”
The article notes that although the shluchim do not own televisions of their own, in 2018 they must use creative ways to innovate.
“The aim is to educate the Jewish community, particularly those that may not enter a synagogue or attend a Seder, along with the general public,” says Chaim Landa, the associate director of media relations at Chabad.org.”
With more than 1,000 Chabad centers in all 50 states, local TV news exposure can take place literally anywhere in the country. Often, the ChabadOne PR team will reach out to shluchim in an available media market and connect them with local stations.
“Last week, Dena Schusterman of Atlanta, Ga., ‘starred’ on WSB-TV when her husband, a rabbi, got an email from the Chabad.org media team,” writes Zimberoff. “Did she want to appear on the morning news? She had never done it before, but she wrote back: ‘Sure.'”
But more than just connect Schusterman with WSB-TV, ChabadOne PR’s expert team—which regularly provides shluchim with press releases and pointers, reaches out to media and prepares rabbis and their wives for interaction with the press—helped focus her and the many other shluchos and shluchim in her situation. Like Rabbi Avremi Zippel of Chabad-Lubavitch of Utah. “The Chabad media team gave the rabbi pointers: how to balance looking at the host and the camera and how to have to have all the ingredients properly laid out.”
Zippel, who made chrein this year—a horseradish and beet mixture that symbolizes the bitter conditions Jews experienced in ancient Egypt—told NPR that although he was at first “a little hesitant,” he soon “discovered the tremendous impact it had.”
Zimberoff concludes: “While many think of religion as a stuffy, outdated system of beliefs, these Jews are out there throwing donuts in hot oil, chopping apples and braiding challah in hopes of connecting with the camera and the viewers beyond to show us that food isn’t just something to Instagram — it’s a deeper connection to history.”
Read the whole story here
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