By: Art Vuolo
After nearly 47 years in radio, I thought I’d heard it all. When XM satellite radio devoted a channel to Hanukkah music in December, I started retelling a joke that I created regarding a new radio station known as WJEW. It got laughs even from Orthodox rabbis, but now it’s no longer a joke.
Temple Israel is pleased to announce its own new Jewish radio station — and yes, it’s called WJEW. It’s managed by the temple’s high school students and Cantor Michael Smolash. Just go to www.temple-israel.org on your computer to check out the Internet radio station that can be listened to by Jewish people around the world.
“The whole idea began when I was talking to a student at Monday night school, Corey Berkowitz,” Cantor Smolash said. I mentioned that I had been wondering why there were so many Christian radio stations, but no Jewish ones. He then suggested we create one.”
Corey is the son of renowned radio consultant and one-time WJR programmer Gary Berkowitz, so he no doubt has radio in his blood.
“I’m looking forward to helping WJEW become one of the top Jewish radio stations in the country,” Berkowitz said. “I’ve grown up with radio all around me and have dedicated a great amount of time to my high school radio station.”
“We have already interviewed some big names, including Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and comedian Joel Chasnoff, which we will be airing,” Smolash said. “The students are also able to come in and run their own shows — jocking, talking about Jewish teen topics, and more.”
He added that “we were the first religious school he knew of to create a radio station like this. I hope that WJEW will be a template for similar stations at other synagogues.”
The Jewish community’s response to the station has been extremely positive. This is truly a first of its kind, and despite my weird sense of humor, this really is no joke.