Where Are They Now?
Written by Debra Roth Kane
Photography by Justin Tsucalas
David Smolar, a 1990 Pikesville High School graduate, has strong ties to Baltimore’s Jewish community. He spent his early school years at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, and still speaks of it with great respect and affection. His father, Rabbi Dr. Leivy Smolar, was president of Baltimore Hebrew University from 1971 to 1992. His mother, Arlene Ostrow Smolar, was the first female regional director of B’nai Brith. David attended the University of Maryland, College Park and received a B.A. in Jewish history, before going on to get a master’s in visual media, film/video production from American University. He now lives with his wife, Rebecca, in Silver Spring, Md.
iNSIDER: You’ve got a packed resume. Can you summarize your professional focus?
David: I have started up a home-based video post-production company called In Between Things Productions. I’m looking for clients who need editing or who want me to do short videos, for example, for start-up companies.
But there’s more?
I believe in education through entertainment, so I’ve spent a number of years creating Jewish education programs. I turn Torah portions into plays and musicals. I’ve also created Passover Haggodot. I’ve led junior congregations, incorporating my plays, calling the program ‘Saturday Morning Live.’ We do plays dedicated to the weekly Torah portion. My goal is to create audio recordings and teachers’ guides so that the program can be taught to any group.
One of your compositions was featured in the Washington Post.
I created the ‘Chanukah Seder.’ It’s a musical, but everyone involved also has a Haggadah, and my wife and I created a seder plate with Chanukah symbols. I wrote a script using Broadway songs with new lyrics at first, but last year I wrote my own songs. When we held the program last year, sponsored by the Jewish Study Center of Washington, we had over 100 people attend.
What is your wife’s background?
She used to be a public affairs officer for the Israeli Embassy and spent a lot of time going to schools to talk with the kids about Israel. Now she edits and manages a website called globalization101.org, which examines the challenges of an increasingly interconnected world. We were married in 2007 at Adas Israel Congregation in D.C. Her office is in the dining room; my studio is in the living room, all in a one-bedroom apartment.
Do you have favorite memories from your school years?
I predated both Rabbi Wahlberg and Mrs. Schorr at Beth Tfiloh. I really respect all that it has become. I was in the chorus my freshman year at PHS when we did ‘Guys and Dolls.’ The guy who plays Big Jule — it was Frank Zweback — has to walk around grunting and chomping on a cigar. At one point in the show, he’s supposed to do a double take and pretend to puff. He accidentally spit the cigar into the orchestra. Jon Berkowitz, on trumpet, ducked. The cigar went straight into the tuba.