We are approaching film 100 of the beautifully produced weekly new Living Torah series.
What is the secret behind the production of these masterpieces week after week? What is the process? And how do they always manage to keep it inspiring?
There are many answers to this often-repeated question, but here is the team favorite:
A team member researching will “chance” upon an interview that interests them. We then explore further for material where the Rebbe articulates that message, and whether we can establish a pattern with other Sichos and interviews. If the search proves successful, we know we have a film. “If we’re inspired, we know the viewers will be too, and that the Rebbe’s message comes through stronger than ever.”
It’s all skyward from there. Stories, addresses, encounters, and other materials are woven together for the perfect blend, enabling the Rebbe to provide both beginning and advanced viewers a message sure to uplift his week — directly from the Rebbe.
If you have an idea or comments for the production team (or any member of the JEM team, for that matter!), please email us at email@example.com.
In the past 3 months, JEM.tv’s content has grown by over 50 percent. Every week, we continue to add more of the 25 years’ worth of classic film and video titles. New content, both full-length and produced, is being produced on a weekly basis. With content featured in six languages, JEM.tv’s growing worldwide membership attests to its success.
On a constant basis, the technology team fine-tunes the challenging process of remastering videos, deciphering and preparing the metadata, with new systems being created to streamline the process.
Production, production, production!
Behind everything at JEM is our innovative production team, who work around the clock, often pushing tight deadlines, to meet the demands of an ever-growing stack of work. One of the innumerable projects just finished: The production of the Yud Tes Kislev Farbrengen of 5733. This event is available fully subtitled in 3 languages.
There is a fresh energy and excitement in the office as five new staff members have joined the JEM team over the past two months. “There’s so much we need to accomplish and not enough time to do it,” expressed JEM’s director Rabbi Elkanah Shmotkin.
The new staff – most of whom have taken content development positions – will be helping to expand several existing programs, as well as to lead some of JEM’s new content initiatives.
A Reimagined Platform for Photos of the Rebbe
JEM launched an all new photo site providing a reimagined home for all the pictures of the Rebbe in The Living Archive: photos.jemedia.org
The new site contains over 500,000 moments with the Rebbe, including photos and video stills from across JEM’s various photo collections.
This new platform builds on the tremendous success of the trendsetting Living Archive photo site, launched by JEM 8 years ago.
Throughout the years since, JEM has steadily acquired, organized, and made available hundreds of thousands of additional photos. The new site takes all of that work to an entirely new level.
With the launch of the new site, many exciting features and special functions will be available, providing the best experience for browsing and searching pictures, and finding the moment with the Rebbe you are looking for.
The site’s most unique feature is a smart search engine and filter, which allows one to browse photos in a number of ways, easily identifying the specific person, date, location of a picture, or event you are looking for. Other features include a new photo viewer and scrolling experience, as well as easy navigation. Many of the photos are featured in color-corrected versions.
It’s an all-new fresh user experience we’ve created with you in mind. Find your moment now at photos.jemedia.org. We hope you enjoy. Stay tuned for more great features!
Only several short years ago, Connection Point launched, with a handful of local affiliates. In 2021, we intend to expand that number to some sixty educational institutions! It’s exciting to see so many students worldwide receive the special direct connection with the Rebbe that the program facilitates.
Connection Point enables children to watch and understand the Rebbe directly. Offering multiple tracks, CP Classic program is geared for grades 5-8 and CP High caters to high school students.
This year, a new Connection Point has premiered. After piloting in select schools last year, CP Junior will expand the offerings to a new demographic – 2nd through 4th grade boys and girls.
How is CP Junior different, and what does it do?
CP Classic helps students connect with the Rebbe through understanding him. CPJunior achieves that connection through experiencing special moments with the Rebbe and learning from them.
Students watch unique video clips, gathered by JEM’s production team and beautifully described by a child narrator – who leads the young viewers through the same location in 770 where the moments with the Rebbe took place, enabling them to experience these moments precisely the way they were.
The pilot was an unmitigated success, and schools have consistently requested that the program be expanded to produce more of the three-week programs to teach the students about the Rebbe and assist the children in making a relatable and practical connection in their own lives.
This program is sponsored by Reut & Mendel Pinson in honor of the Rebbe’s children around the world.
Connection Point is made possible by Yossi & Nechama Dina Katz and Family.
My Story 2
Years after the My Story book was published to great acclaim, it continues to make waves as a beautiful collection of personal relationships with the Rebbe, highlighting some of the greatest stories recorded by the My Encounter with the Rebbe project. Now, the seque, My Story Volume 2, is on its way. It is expected to arrive on the shores of the United States, G-d willing, in early 2022. Stay tuned.
As Shluchim prepared to gather for the International Kinus, JEM spent months working with the Kinus team to provide the inspiration each Shliach seeks. Over 40 videos were produced for the various sessions, workshops, Farbrengens, and banquet including, notably, the opening video of the banquet, which used several stories from JEM’s my encounter material.
My Encounter goes to Florida
Rabbi Bentzion Pearson, My Encounter with the Rebbe’s lead interviewer, led the My Encounter team on the road to South Florida. Taking the ME studio on the road can be a daunting task, but Rabbi Pearson’s persistence, passion, and perseverance proved just the right recipe to pull it off.
Rabbi Pearson spent countless hours planning the trip down to its finest details. Thank G-d, many individuals recorded their testimonies, even asking colleagues who also have stories to share their own special moments. While on the ground and between interviews, Pearson continued to hustle and arrange for numerous additional interviews to be conducted.
“It’s just fascinating to hear first-hand from individuals of all affiliations and demographics, how their lives were impacted by the Rebbe’s guidance. Each person is a world of their own – and it never gets tiring,” expressed Pearson. Eleven people were interviewed, some sitting for as much as four hours, with a cumulative total of over twenty hours of recorded video.
Each day the team stationed themselves in another part of south Florida – Bal Harbor, Parkland, Miami Beach, and Hallandale. Cinematography, lighting, and sound equipment were set up Studios in numerous to assure a beautiful look. In one of the makeshift studios, at the home of Rabbi and Mrs. Sholom and Chani Lipskar in Bal Harbour, four people were interviewed.
One choice from amongst the many great anecdotes recorded:
In 1963, as the global Shlichus movement was still in its initial stages, Freddy Ezekiel, today 94, was a young man living in Hong Kong. During the month of Elul, on his way home from a trip to San Francisco, Freddy spent a few days in New York for a relative’s Bar Mitzvah, where he struck up a conversation with several Chabad Yeshiva students, casually mentioning to them where he lived.
A short time later, Rabbi Leibel Groner called the house where he was staying and told him, “The Lubavitcher Rebbe would like to see you.”
The subsequent meeting left Freddy quite puzzled. The Rebbe quizzed him incessantly, inquiring about every last detail of Jewish life across the Far East, from the number of Jews living in Calcutta India to how Jews in the Philippines get Kosher food. As he left the meeting, Freddy was informed by Rabbi Groner that the Rebbe did not typically meet people in Yechidus at all during the month of Elul. But somehow, the Rebbe had found three hours to interview Freddy!
This confusion lingered in the back of Freddy’s mind until several years later, when, as Freddy was at a friend’s house in the Philippines, two Chabad students knocked on the door asking if they needed a Mezuzah. It was then that Freddy was struck with the realization that his long late-night meeting with the Rebbe had, indeed, borne far-reaching results.
In conclusion, Pearson reflects: “We say in the High Holiday prayers: “Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff.” The Rebbe connected with every Jew on their own level and, with boundless love and affection, revealed their indispensable mission and role in his master plan – bringing the world to its ultimate purpose.”
Special broadcast and QR code launched at Rebbe’s Ohel
For many visitors to the Rebbe’s Ohel, a video of the Rebbe is a fundamental part of the experience. Playing in the visitor’s center at the Ohel, visitors can watch and listen to the Rebbe’s words twenty-four hours a day.
Under the leadership of Rabbi Abba Refson, director of Ohel Chabad Lubavitch, JEM’s team chooses a unique lineup and is switched constantly.
Many people find inspiration in a specific video and want to find that particular video clip to rewatch or share with family and friends, with the JEM team regularly fielding requests to identify a particular Sicha or scene watched at the Ohel. Thanks to the development team, a QR code appears at the corner of the screen which opens the specific video clip on JEM.tv, right on your phone!
Another update for the video at the Ohel is the JEM.tv loop feature. “What a great way to start the non-stop video of the Rebbe initiative,” related Development Head Yaakov Rozenblat. Coming soon to a JEM.tv membership near you!
Eighteen months ago, JEM’s Ashreinu.app team embarked on an ambitious and historic initiative. As the online home for the vast audio library of the Rebbe’s addresses, they set out to restore and republish all audio recordings of the 1950s and 60s – the first two decades of the Rebbe’s leadership.
Completed! Hundreds of hours of audio have been published in pristine quality, with tens of hours of newly-discovered content uncovered, restored and presented with full metadata.
Now, we’ve set off toward our next ambitious goal: restoring all the audio of the years 5748-5752 (1988-1992) – a full 1,000 events!
The funding allows us to procure the fullest and highest quality recordings. Thus far, we have already located numerous events that have never-before been heard, including audio of Sichos, Tefillos, and Kos Shel Bracha distributions. Appearing alongside the audio of the Sichos are Yiddish transcripts to follow along.
We are also enhancing and correcting the metadata, in addition to writing short summaries of each event to help the user experience. Our goal is to publish all these events, G-d willing, within one year.