Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
You’ve heard of podcasts. Now there are “Godcasts.”
A week before Rosh Hashanah, Jewish World Review founder Binyamin Jolkovsky launched JWisdom.com, featuring a daily audio shiur in 11 minutes or less. Lecturers from around the world, including Rabbis Jonathan Rietti, Nosson Scherman, and Abraham J. Twerski, deliver the short inspirational talks – or Godcasts.
“I believe that in today’s day and age, when time is so precious, if a person has the ability to give his message and inspire in 10 minutes then he really needs to do so and not take 45 minutes to say the exact same thing,” said Jolkovsky.
“My father cherished rabbanim and loved to be inspired by shiurim,” he said, “but he didn’t [appreciate] rabbis who didn’t know how, or when, to stop.”
The site, which Jolkovsky launched in memory of his parents, already features 250 Godcasts, all iPod friendly. Some are five minutes; others are 10. Only one or two, Jolkovsky said, break the 11-minute rule. Over 90 percent of the lectures are produced and edited in a professional studio. “There’s no pausing, no mumbling, no stumbling, no repetitiveness, and no coughing; it’s almost radio quality,” he said.
What is Jolkovsky’s goal? “The goal is to inspire people. In Western society we generally tend to compartmentalize our lives. We have certain seasons when we’re in certain moods. For example, in Elul and Tishrei the idea is we should better ourselves. But growth has to be a constant process, and the type of Godcasts I publish are geared toward people who want to better themselves.”
Jolkovsky also envisions his site as a station to which people can refer uneducated Jews or non-Jews interested in Orthodox Judaism. “This is a very professionally produced, non-confrontational, intelligent, thoughtful, and inspiring way of explaining why Jews believe what they do,” he said.
JWisdom.com already hosts roughly 2,000 visitors a day, but Jolkovsky hopes to attract a greater audience. He encourages people to copy the Godcast files on their own websites, and is even willing to pay for the additional bandwidth. “This is not meant to make money,” Jolkovsky said. “It’s meant to inspire.”
About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and author of “Movers and Shakers: Sixty Prominent Personalities Speak Their Mind on Tape” (Brenn Books).
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