A new partnership is announced between the military and the“Netflix of Torah.”
Hewlett, NY, March 27, 2015: Did you ever wonder how you can prepare for Passover on an U.S. Army base in Afghanistan or a Navy air craft carrier in the Pacific? Starting in April, the answer is: ‘Turn on your television.’ The American Forces Network (AFN), which broadcasts the best of American TV into the homes of U.S. servicemen and women stationed abroad, will be airing “Passover: The Exodus That Could Have Been,” an hour-long animated holiday special. Members of the military, the Department of Defense, and their families can gather round the television and learn about the wickedness of Pharaoh, the travail of the Israelites, and the miracles performed by God at the Red Sea. And that’s just the beginning. Starting in May, service people will be able to tune in weekly to learn about the week’s Torah portion.
The programs are created by Aleph Beta, a Jewish organization based in New York that wants to help people struggle with some of life’s biggest questions – and believes that meaningful and satisfying answers can be found in Torah study. To that end, Aleph Beta produces high-quality animated videos and podcasts about the weekly Torah portion, Jewish holidays and more. Over 25,000 users visit AlephBeta.org each month to enjoy highly unique content from founder and CEO Rabbi David Fohrman, ranging from short videos on “Why Did God Destroy the World With a Flood?” and “What Does It Mean To Have Faith?” to the 76-part series “Genesis Unveiled,” an epic sweep of the first book of the Torah. The videos are entertaining, humorous, and deceptively deep. Aleph Beta is providing its content to AFN free of charge, as a service to the men and women of the armed forces.
Says Rabbi Fohrman: “It’s a patriotic duty to support and give strength to those who are fighting on our behalf. There’s a grand tradition for entertainers to go overseas and perform for our troops — and internet and television make it possible to do that virtually. To be able to entertain and educate members of the armed forces, Jewish or otherwise, who feel connected in some way to the Bible, and to help the text come alive for them in a way that’s meaningful — it’s a privilege.”
It won’t be just Jews who are tuning in to Aleph Beta’s programming on the American Forces Network (AFN). The programs are handpicked to appeal to the military audience – most of whom are between the ages of 18 and 30 and who hail from a diversity of faith backgrounds. When choosing religious programs, AFN turns to the Director of Religious Programming at the Broadcast Center, Chaplain Allen Vaughan, guided by policy set forth by the Armed Forces Chaplains Board. Chaplain Vaughan is excited about Aleph Beta’s videos because they are highly creative and inclusive in appeal. Although Rabbi David Fohrman approaches the story of Passover from a Jewish perspective, his teachings have proven to be of interest to a larger, pluralistic audience. Aleph Beta has been surprised by the strong following of Christians that it has attracted over the past few years, who regularly express their enthusiasm at the opportunity to see the Bible “through new eyes.” “I believe this is the first time in AFN history that we have aired weekly Jewish religious programming,” Chaplain Vaughan shared excitedly.
So if you’re one of many US service members or their families celebrating Passover on a military base overseas or a Navy ship, make sure to tune in to AFN Prime on April 9th to get ready for Seder night.
Whether your Seder will be in Afghanistan, in the middle of the Pacific, or around your dining room table in the good old U.S. of A — “next year in Jerusalem!”
For more information:
1) Aleph Beta
- Homepage: https://www.alephbeta.org/
- Aleph Beta program “Passover: The Exodus That Could Have Been” (available online): https://www.alephbeta.org/course/view/passover-2016-5776
2) American Forces Network (AFN)
- AFN Online: http://myafn.dodmedia.osd.mil/ (TV schedules and more)
1) Beth Lesch (author of this press release)
Writer, Aleph Beta
2) Chaplain Allen Vaughan
Director, Religious Programming at the American Forces Network (AFN) – Broadcast Center
(951) 413-2380 (business)