Weary of scrolling through legions of cat videos, serial killer docuseries and uber-violent superhero flicks in a quest to discover something, well, more satisfying? Then navigate over to The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore’s website and dip into their brand new streaming platform.
Launched in February, Associated On-Demand is a free repository of all things Jewish Baltimore, offering close to 200 videos and dozens of podcasts. Associated On-Demand is available at associated.org/video-on-demand.
Newer videos include an engaging performance by award-winning spoken-word poet Tova Ricardo, “Together We Welcome Everyone;” personal stories of antisemitism in “Live Without Hate;” and, on the lighter side, “Mensches in Cars Getting Coffee,” a series hosted by the affable and leadership-award-winning Yanky Schorr.
Perennial favorites from The Associated video library include, “How to Make Bubbe’s Jewish Apple Cake,” “The Associated’s Latke Recipe” and other cooking how-tos on sufganiyot, Russian tea cookies and hamantaschen.
Always Something New
“Like any video streaming service, we offer a combination of old and new videos that are constantly rotating. There are many videos in our video library, and we’ve curated the best of the best,” said Mark Neumann, former Associated board chair and current marketing chair. “For example, ‘How to Make Bubbe’s Jewish Apple Cake’ was filmed before COVID-19, and it is one of our most popular videos. We are constantly adding newer content and timely content, like videos related to Jewish holidays or videos that address current trends.
“What’s great about the site is that you can come back on a regular basis, and there is always something new to see,” he added.
Other new additions include a series of newsy videos hosted by longtime Associated mover-and-shaker and former board chair Beth Goldsmith. Her well-executed interviews of local Jewish leaders and agency heads demonstrate her enthusiasm and passion for the mission.
Goldsmith’s segments recently featured The Associated’s AgeWell Baltimore program, with Tiffany Nicolette, vice president of housing and services for CHAI; and “Exploring the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s Contribution to Holocaust Education,” with Annemarie Fournier, an English language arts teacher with Anne Arundel County Schools.
Involved with The Associated for more than 40 years as a member, leader and philanthropist, Goldsmith said she still learns something new every time she heads out with the production team to shoot a video about one of the many Associated agencies and programs.
“The magic is The Associated has unbelievably well-trained professionals and experts in their field, so we start with real people with real skills and a real passion for what they do,” Goldsmith said. “We probably have at least an hour-and-a-half to two hours of reel to get our four minutes, and then comes the brilliant editing done by our in-house team. When I sit down to talk to someone, I really want them to feel comfortable, and we try and make it feel conversational. We are connected on that level of having the same goals and the same passion for the work we do.
“Thankfully, these videos have been well-received,” she added. “And I think we’re doing a good job getting the message out there and hopefully making The Associated a more user-friendly, central location for Jewish Baltimore.”
Mensches on Mensches
The Associated marketing team came up with the idea for “Mensches in Cars Getting Coffee,” a nod in look and tone to comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s popular Netflix series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
Like Seinfeld, Schorr picks up interviewees in different vehicles, such as the Mini Cooper he drives to Cuples Tea House with Chavi Abramson, or the Tesla which he and Eugene Poverni take to Gardens and Grounds Bistro. Both Abramson and Poverni are Fred Walpert Young Leadership Award winners. “Mensches” guests are all community leaders and award winners in some capacity.
Schorr chats with guests about their first cars and their backgrounds and ends every episode quizzing them on the favorite mensches in their lives. It’s an entertaining five to ten minutes.
“The team is constantly thinking about creative ways to share what is happening in Jewish Baltimore,” Neumann said of the “Mensches” series. “Yanky, of course, does a great job with it.”
Other series on the platform include “Tradition, Tradition,” highlighting Jewish Baltimoreans who share recipes and talk about their personal traditions.
“We have videos that showcase how community members overcome challenges, and these are very inspiring,” Neumann said. “For those individuals looking for something quick, we’ve added a section called ‘Shorts,’ which tell our stories in 30 seconds or less.”
Although the platform is new, Neumann said numbers are up on visits to the page and visitors are staying longer, perhaps signaling they are watching multiple videos in a sitting.
Upcoming subjects include mental health for teens and children, antisemitism, “Milestone Minutes” and “Direct from Israel.”
“We’ll have a behind-the-scenes look at the stops on our upcoming Mission to Israel, and we have several interesting cooking shows coming up,” Neumann said. “Check back, as there are always great stories to be told.”
Susan Ingram is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.