The Evolution of Chassidic Storytelling

In July 2021, the Klimovitch podcast launched with just a couple listeners. Less than a year later, the audience ballooned to over 350 and it has racked up over 18,000 plays. What’s all the hype about? 

Educating the next generation of chassidim.

Klimovitch is the newest form of that which is old; a modern twist on what our bubbes and zeides and mothers and fathers have done since time immemorial. That is, capturing our children’s hearts, forming young minds, and molding their values — all with the power of a story. 

Back in the shtetl, we had to tell stories the old fashioned way: by mouth. Picture it in your mind: An old chossid farbrenging deep into the night. A loving mother soothing her son at his bedside. A devoted melamed educating his young charges beside a crackling fireplace. All three fueled by the power of a chassidishe meise

In the years since, the content has remained the same, but the format has evolved. First there were illustrated books. Then there were the story tapes, replete with dramatic voices and tinny music and the ability to replay the story over and over again for the child’s delight. (Albeit to parents’ annoyance.) Then came CDs. And then Ipods. (And with them, finally, the answer to parents’ woes —  headphones!)

Klimovitch is the natural next step in Chassidic storytelling: podcast form. Each episode is another story told by acclaimed campus shliach, author and lecturer Rabbi Eli Silberstein. of Some of Rabbi Silberstein’s titles, like “Baal Shem Tov’s Baal Teshuva” or “The Chasam Sofer and the Diamond Ring”, tell of the great tzaddikim of our past. Others, like “Yankel and Zundel”, or “The Purim Shpiel Ganev” speak of the fabled poshuter yid. All of them combine the authenticity of a chassidishe meise with the convenience of your favorite podcast platform. 

Hundreds of children tune in to Klimovich weekly, eagerly awaiting the new uploads each week. “I have five children under the age of eight”, says Aharon Lazer Goodman from Morristown, New Jersey. “The consistent best-seller at our table is stories of chassidim. And the most beloved of those are the ones from Klimovitch.” 

“It’s a first to see our kids happily going to bed at night, knowing they get to listen to Klimovitch! They eagerly check each day to see if new stories were uploaded,” says Rabbi Menachem Slavaticki of Skokie, Illinois.

And parents, take note —  you may not need to hand out the headphones for this one! Take it from the listeners. “Rabbi Silberstein talks in a language relatable for kids…Plus, they are enjoyable for adults as well — you won’t have to suffer through the ride like other story tapes out there,” says Rabbi Eliyahu Rappoport. And Rabbi Moshe Markowitz agrees: “With Rabbi Silberstein I know every detail is researched and accurate, and it is something adults can listen to as well.”

Check it out today at on Spotify, Google Podcasts or Klimovitch.org 

AUDIO:

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  1. My kids love Klimovitch stories! They get it as a treat at bedtime, in the car, even ask for it to wake up. I wish there were more of them!

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