Rabbi Speaks Episodes
The Rabbi Speaks has been a regular feature of WDEL since the late 1940s when Rabbis Herbert Drooz, Leonard Gewirtz and Jacob Kraft took their turn every Sunday morning to deliver a message of about fifteen minutes in length to the listening audience. When new rabbis came to town whether they were connected to congregations or to community agencies, they were added to the rotation. Today the cantors of the synagogues are also included.
For most of the time the program aired, the rabbis were “live,” arriving a few minutes before air time. While eventually the rabbis had the opportunity to come to the WDEL studio and record their program earlier in the week, they often continued the practice of live broadcasting to which they were accustomed. Now technology allows the participants to record their words in their homes or offices and send them to the radio station for future broadcasting.
The “messages” of the rabbis and cantors varies; there is no requirement so some will comment on the Torah portion while others present thoughts about current events, values found in our sacred literature, or even an appropriate reading from some prominent author. Cantors will also focus on music, sometimes including song in their presentation. All in all, The Rabbi Speaks has had a long and successful life on WDEL.
As a side note, while the program airs now at 7:30 on Sunday mornings, for years it was broadcast around 9:00 am. One time they changed the time so as not to coincide with church services. Christian clergy complained that their congregants often entered church late so they could finish listening to The Rabbi Speaks!