Orthodox Union President Stephen J. Savitsky invites one and all to join him around the dining room table to discuss issues of great importance to the North American Jewish community and to Jews in Israel as well. Since Mr. Savitsky cannot fit everyone around his dining room at home, he has established a virtual table on OU Radio, www.ouradio.org, with his new and increasingly popular program – you guessed it – Around the Dining Room Table.
New programs in the series are available every two weeks, lasting between 30 minutes and an hour, and are archived on www.ou.radio.org. Programs may be accessed by dial-up, cable/DSL or downloaded as an mp3 file.
“The philosophy of the program is that the Jewish community has Shabbat and the holidays, when we sit around the table, invite guests, and talk about what interests us, like shul politics,” Mr. Savitsky said. “Everyone has opinions and we have these nice informal conversations.”
Mr. Savitsky invites experts in a particular field of interest to offer insights for the other dinner guests -- that is, the audience. But he also likes to hear from non-experts too, commenting on what they’ve heard at Mr. Savitsky’s table or at their own table.
“What are we talking about these days?” Mr. Savitsky said. “Why is yeshiva tuition so high? What is the political situation in Israel? Why are some of our young people going off the derech – the proper path? Why do our kids who have been in Israel come back totally different than before? These are all real issues being discussed in Orthodox homes and now they’re being discussed on OU Radio as well.”
With his combination of the easy informality of a gracious host together with the ability of a trained communicator, Mr. Savitsky is the perfect host for this program. “I enjoy people tremendously,” he said. “When you’ve been in business for years and do a lot of speaking, something like this comes naturally.”
Topics of programs that have already been broadcast and are archived include:
* Tuition, with guests that include young parents, a home schooler, executive directors, principals, representatives of grant organizations, and the Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary;
* Teenage Drinking (to coincide with Purim), with guests that include professionals in the field of substance abuse, as well as OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb;
* Singles, with guests that include rabbis, dating mentors and social workers.
“I believe we’re meeting a need,” Mr. Savitsky said. “I’m not afraid to deal with issues other people may not touch. I try to be provocative. I want the program to consist of meaningful conversations.”
In other words, it’s a conversation around a very lively table. On www.ouradio.org, of course.
Mr. Savitsky may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.