To promote the upcoming webcast
of the Rebbe's 80th birthday Farbrengen on Jewish.TV, producers at JEM have partnered with Chabad.org to release vintage footage of the original video introduction to the 1982 satellite feed of the farbrengen. The introduction to "Celebration 80" features famous Broadway producer, Joe Papp, who became a major Chabad supporter after once seeing the Rebbe on a satellite hook-up of a farbrengen. "I had the experience of tuning in late one night to a cable station... and I listened to [the Rebbe] for four hours discussing projects and ideas of such vast diversity and such scope. I felt, 'There is a wise man left in the world. I thought that we had none.'" Along with Papp is a 36 year-old Rabbi Manis Friedman who was the simultaneous translator for the event.
JEM director Elkanah Shmotkin says of the video, "This intro is a neat sort of a ‘time machine.’ It transports us back to an earlier era of communication, a different time and a different type of hafotzas hama’ayonos. We're hoping that when people see the intro, they'll be excited for more and feel like they want to view the whole farbrengen."
The farbrengen is the second in a new series of Jewish.TV webcasts of farbrengens produced by the JEM Farbrengen Club. Last month, response to the webcast of the Rebbe's 1973 Purim farbrengen was so huge that philanthropist Benny Federman stepped forward to offer JEM one million dollars if they could get one million farbrengen viewers between Purim, 11 Nissan, Lag Bomer, 12 Sivan and 3 Tammuz combined.
Jewish.TV creative director, Shais Taub, added, "The farbrengen webcast will start to air on Sunday, but the page is already getting tremendous traffic. When I heard Ben's challenge, my first thought was that it was unrealistic. But now I see that it's actually starting to happen. Through modern technology, over the next few months a million Jews are going to learn Torah straight from the Rebbe."