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David’s career in Jewish education runs parallel to his career in broadcasting.
Hailing from the Baltimore mecca of Pikesville, David holds a B.A. in Jewish History from UMD. A career broadcaster and producer, he first worked in radio, on the air and behind the mic at WTOP and WMAL. He left radio for film school, earning an M.A. in Film and Digital Video from American University. His broadcasting career has since taken him from the Discovery and Science channels, to Verizon’s Digital Media Service, to editing news pieces for Voice of America.
David and Rebecca are so excited to bring their programming concepts and creativity to a larger audience and hope you’ll share our ideas with Jewish communities around the country and around the world.
David J. Smolar first taught Hebrew school way back in 1994. Even then, he saw the need for “Education through Entertainment,” realizing that Hebrew school students grades 5 and up benefit far more, and retain more learning, when presented with experiential and interactive teaching methods. Teens today no longer want to sit in class and have a teacher stand in front and dictate their lessons. For over 20 years, David has developed creative programming for all aspects of the modern Jewish community.
Over the years, David and his wife, Rebecca, have developed programming for synagogues and community organizations. Their popular “Chanukah Seder” ran 6 years in various venues in our nation’s capitol. David’s “Shabbat Morning Live!” programming has been used by numerous junior congregations and continues to be a cornerstone of his classroom curriculum for 5th and 6th grade Hebrew school. And he's created an original Passover Hagaddah for his own use almost every year for the past 10 years. [There's even a Dr. Seuss Hagaddah for kids!]
He’s also created In Between Things Productions, a video editing service specializing in turning old audio cassette and video VHS recordings into computer files, restoring the sound and picture, and archiving the recordings so the memories last forever. Most recently, he’s been editor for the non-profit Beyond the Shoah, an internationally acclaimed project featuring interviews with Jews in their 20s and 30s who were born and raised in the once-decimated but now-thriving Jewish communities of Warsaw and Budapest.
An avid musician, David began piano and music theory at age 7. He’s accompanied soloists, played background for parties, and tutored b’nai mitzvah students. Following onstage gigs in high school where he also sang four years of barbershop quartet, he performed for four years with the University of Maryland’s all-male a capella group, the generics, touring the country and arranging one or two tunes along the way. After grad school, David spent over four years playing music for the comedy improvisation group ComedySportzDC, even creating a few musical improv games along the way. He credits the improv training with teaching how to think outside the box when teaching preteen Hebrew school, learning how to think on his feet and change his approach at a moment’s notice.
who we are - smolars
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