This and That
Issue: 11.05 5/25/2010
Jewish Life TV

I don’t know about you, but I practically gag on my bagel when I fall asleep watching Sunday morning Rabbis round-table. I appreciate watching Bubbe roll her kneidlach, but I’m lucky if I have enough time to even buy frozen Matzoh balls.

I live in a small Jewish community, have five kids, a Chassidic husband, and in my spare time am producing a Jewish reality TV show for people like us. Jews who want to talk, learn, and share, without being lectured to. When my friends and I get together, we let the camera roll. We’re not experts, we rarely agree, and the things we say sometimes piss people off – but we’re being honest, being real, being ourselves. There’s no script.

The people at the Jewish Life TV network (JLTV) thought it was good stuff and put us on national TV. We think it’s great too and hope that you’ll take the time to watch and let us know what you think (even if you hate it and think we’re full of ourselves) I posted a couple of the episodes on our website. There’s some info about the current episodes below, but please send us your ideas for new ones.

Watch us live at . Here’s the link to the schedule. They broadcast on DirecTV channel 366. Time Warner channel 177 in LA and 120 in NY/NJ. If you like the show, please fan us on Facebook.

Thanks so much,

Episode one is called “Living Waters”. My friend Valerie is a Reform Jew, but she hangs out with a lot of Orthodox people and was curious about the mikveh (ritual bath). People have a lot of preconceived notions about the mikveh, and we were frankly all surprised with what came out of the experience. It’s on YouTube . (Be sure to click through to all three segments.)

For episode two, “She Loves to Dance,” Simcha and I went to New York to hang out with our friend Mindy. Ok … Mindy, who lives in a huge Orthodox community with her husband and two kids, has a thing for heading to the City on Saturday nights to party. She LOVES the music and energy of the club scene. Is she doing anything inappropriate? Is it possible that there’s a positive spiritual energy there? (We’re really not here to judge Mindy … ) Our souls thirst! Some people seem to find that fulfillment dancing at a wedding, sitting at the the Rebbe’s tisch (table), or listening to the latest MBD or Lipa. What if it doesn’t? Decide for yourself.

Coming next week is “Expectations”. Life is stressful enough without additional pressure from our parents, community, or spouse. Do we expect too much from ourselves? What does G-d expect of us? In Jewish culture, these expectations can be so strong that they interfere with people's ability to approach life in a sincere way. Yitzi grew up going to Yeshiva, is happily married to an Orthodox woman, and is a great father to his two kids; but Yitzi found something lacking in his Yiddishkeit and strayed from observance. Since airing a pre-release version of the episode, Yitzi has received an enormous amount of flak from his community. Maybe these kinds of expectations drove Yitzi away in the first place. The fully revamped episode will be out soon, but if you can’t wait, here’s the prerelease sample.

“Happiness” brings us back to our roots. We took the very first episode that was made for local cable TV and completely revamped it for national TV. (You can still find it on YouTube If you want to.) For Yitzi, happiness is doing whatever he wants to do. Is that true happiness or does happiness only come with spiritual fulfillment? Some find happiness in a job well done. For others, it’s listening to music or spending time with their kids. It’s possible that some are even happy being angry and negative.

Next up, we’ll meet Marc. A great guy (Harvard grad, improv comedian, accomplished music critic), Marc knows almost nothing about Judaism except that he wants to meet a nice Jewish girl. Where does a guy go to meet a girl? Bar? Club? Online dating site? Challah baking? We did it the old fashioned way and took Marc to a shadchan (traditional Jewish matchmaker). What are guys really looking for? Looks, personality, brains. Perhaps we’ll get at least a bit of insight into how men think.

With a loving husband who’s a successful attorney, career successes of her own, and a large suburban house, you’d think Valerie has it all. Her kids go to great private schools and a full-time nanny helps around the house. Why then does Valerie have such a struggle with her self-image? Is there something unfulfilling about being a stay-at-home mom? Is this deep rooted pain from loss of a loved one? Does she still carry baggage from previous relationships with men who were jerks? There’s nothing unique about Valerie’s issues. Why do so many amazing women struggle with low self-esteem? … Coming soon to  and JLTV.

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