By Deb Silverthorn
“With Shalom TV, we’ve created a first in Jewish American history,” said Shalom TV network president and co-founder, Rabbi Mark S. Golub, noting the addition of the Dallas area brings availability to more than 16 million homes across America. “This is an experiment in Jewish life. Until now, Jewish programming has appeared on public access or purchased time. We’re excited and proud to bring a wide variety of programming to the masses.” Negotiations are in process for Shalom TV to be available on Verizon in the coming months.
Rabbi Golub calls his upbringing a “wonderfully eclectic Jewish experience.” His maternal grandparents, the late Freda and Rabbi Benjamin Newman, provided a “lovely and loving” orientation to Orthodoxy. His paternal grandparents, the late Rose and Jacob Golub, were pioneers in Jewish education, both authors, and Jacob was an original board member of The Reconstructionist magazine. Rabbi Golub is the son of the late Betty and Leo, who founded and served as leader of Bnai Torah, where Rabbi Golub joined his father as cantor.
“I grew up appreciating Jewish life with an open view of tradition,” Rabbi Golub said. “I appreciate Jewish life in its multiplicity. I’m most proud that, when I deal with people of different movements, they accept me. I am comfortable with members of all Jewish movements and, in turn, the reverse is true. We are one people; none are better or worse than another.”
Ordained at HUC–JIR in 1972, and with a degree from Columbia University, Rabbi Golub combined his love of all things Jewish with his desire to work in media. In 1990, with his brother David, he started the Russian Television Network. “This was at the time of Operation Exodus and it exceeded anything I ever could have dreamed of,” Rabbi Golub said. “Russian programming with news, soap operas, movies and an English course. It was really incredible.” In addition to his role at RTN and Shalom TV, Rabbi Golub has served as leader of Stamford, Conn.’s Congregation Chavurat Aytz Chayim for 36 years. A lover of entertainment venues, he has also produced Broadway theatrical shows including “Taller Than A Dwarf,” “If Love Were All,” “Tennessee Williams Remembered” and “It’s My Party.”
“Time Warner is committed to delivering programming that reflects the diverse interests of our customers, and Shalom TV does that,” said Rob Moel, division president of Time Warner North Texas. “We’re pleased to make it available at no additional cost and we’re confident that Shalom TV will resonate amongst our customers.” Shalom TV can be found on Time Warner’s Channel 1 On Demand by selecting “Entertainment” and then “Shalom TV.”
Programming, introduced each Sunday, includes “Jewish Film Festival” featuring American and Israeli feature films, documentaries and Yiddish classics; “The 92nd Street Y,” exclusive lectures and programs; “Jewish C-SPAN” with expert analysis and coverage of major events, rallies and national conventions with special emphasis on issues of concern to the state of Israel; and “Election 2008.” “Witness,” an interview series, features survivors of the Holocaust and their tales of terror, miracles and an undying spirit.
“L’Chayim,” which Rabbi Golub first premiered on WOR radio in 1979, is, as he described, “Nightline” meets “Larry King.” The program continued, making its way to television in 1990 on National Jewish Television. Today, the program can be found on Shalom TV.
“Hineni,” hosted by author, Holocaust survivor and founder of the Hineni Heritage Center, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, is a review of the weekly Torah portions. “Defenders,” a series from Israel, brings to screen the personalities, training and lives of Israel Defense Forces personnel. Like a number of films aired on Shalom TV, it is shown with English subtitles and is one of Shalom TV’s top-rated shows.
Jewish studies are offered for all ages with “From the Aleph-Bet,” “Kabbalah Revealed” and “Dimensions of the Daf,” hosted by Rabbi Mordechai Becher. Rabbi Becher, also a senior lecturer for the Gateways Organization, taught at Yeshivat Ohr Somayach and Neve Yerushalayim College, and he was a chaplain in the IDF.
“Choosing Jewish Family” focuses on issues of families where a spouse has converted to Judaism, or where there is a mixed marriage, yet they are committed to creating a Jewish home. “We recognize that 30 to 40 percent of our audience isn’t Jewish,” Rabbi Golub said. “I believe we are living in an age where never before has there been as close a connection between the Jewish and Christian communities. There’s an appreciation by Christians for Jewish history, as a basis for their own. I hope Shalom TV will help to further the connection.”
“Shalom TV Kids” includes “Story Time,” “Agent Emes” and an original program, “Mr. Bookstein’s Store,” which introduces Jewish holidays, Jewish customs and the Hebrew alphabet. Talent and the joy of Jewish life runs in the family as Rabbi Golub’s wife, Ruth, is the host of “Story Time,” and daughter Darah is on “Mr. Bookstein’s Store.” The Golub family also includes sons David and Ari, daughters Jill and Sarit and grandson Aaron.
“Shalom TV provides a spectrum. It’s not Judaism; it’s not religion. It’s as much for the Modern Orthodox viewer as for a secular Jew,” Rabbi Golub said. “It’s not lost on me that my grandfather taught by paper, and I’m doing the same by video. This is a fabulous gift.”
Don’t switch that dial — or in fact do push that cable controller to Time Warner Cable’s Channel 1 On Demand, the new host to Shalom TV, the first national Jewish cable television network providing children’s shows, news, Jewish studies, films and more.