CompuSchmooze February 2007: Jewish Webcasting Week Site Finds Multimedia

CompuSchmooze February 2007: Jewish Webcasting Week Site Finds Multimedia
By Steven L. Lubetkin
Copyright © 2007 Steven L. Lubetkin. All rights reserved.

There’s a growing effort to pull together a lot of the Jewish multimedia resources on the web, including digital photos, digital audio, or digital video. One site doing a worthwhile job of identifying and alerting subscribers about useful Jewish content is Jewish Webcasting Week (). This site is like a TV listing for Jewish webcasts, podcasts, and other multimedia files.

There are some glitches in the design of the site that make it look amateurish, but the content is useful enough to allow some leeway on the look and feel.

The American Jewish Committee Archives, for example, contain Adobe Acrobat PDF versions of World War II era scripts for a series of radio plays written by Moss Hart that imagine putting Axis leaders on trial for their war crimes (). You can listen to audio recordings of old radio broadcasts as well, like a 1944 dramatization of “Behold the Jew,” by British poet Ada Jackson, which won the 1943 Greenwood Poetry Prize in the UK ().

Music is well-represented and very eclectic. There is a link to a British Jewish rap artist who calls himself Antithesis the Rapper (). You can download his song for Israeli MIAs, “Ima Mechaka Babayit,” which Chief Rabbi of Great Britain Jonathan Sacks has called “a very novel prayer.” Profits from sales of his CD go to charity, the website claims. You can also listen to the Chassidic Jazz Project (), a band that “combines traditional Chassidic melodies with contemporary jazz arrangements,” according to the website.

A link to the Jewish TV Network () gives you access to some popular music videos, like Jewish guitarist Mark Knopfler (once of Dire Straits) singing “This is Us” with Emmy Lou Harris, and of course, Adam Sandler singing his “Hanukkah Song.”

One of the site’s most elaborate discoveries is the Center for Online Judaic Studies (), a collaboration of faculty and graduate students from universities around the world, including Princeton University and Rutgers here in New Jersey.

There are a number of video interviews with scholars from the Center ()on topics such as the causes of anti-Semitism in Western Christendom, and why Jews chose to live in Christian Europe. There are also discussions of the use of technology for teaching Jewish history and how technology has affected Jewish communities around the world.

Among other gems, the site includes translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and an interactive animation that simulates an archeological dig in Jerusalem (). By clicking on various buttons, you can highlight different archeological work sites and get information about discoveries there.

There is a directory page just for Jewish podcasts (), and you can sign up for site’s best feature, a weekly email highlighting some of the sites listed in its directory, by sending an email to

In other news: A terse email this week from Serious Magic () informed software owners that the company had been acquired by Adobe Systems, maker of Adobe Acrobat and PhotoShop, among other digital multimedia programs. Serious Magic created several programs for producing digital videos, including Visual Communicator (reviewed in CompuSchmooze in August 2002), which brought “green screen” techniques used by professional broadcasters to home and business PC users. It’s the same kind of technology that’s used on local TV newscasts to put the meteorologist in front of the Doppler radar image. Serious Magic told users that the company would cease to operate independently, but said little else. Its website has links to Adobe’s online press room, but so far, Adobe hasn’t even posted an announcement of the acquisition. There’s no clue as to how they will integrate Serious Magic’s technologies with Adobe’s popular suite of digital photography and video production tools.

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