The United Synagogue is launching a streaming service for Jewish programming with the aim of creating “an enduring shift in the way the US produces content and engages with its members”.
US communications director Richard Verber said The US.TV would feature content produced by the organisation during lockdown, such as Rabbi Steady Cook! with comedian Ashley Blaker and interviews with public figures including former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
There will also be a selection of Jewish learning broadcasts and live-streamed services.
The idea for the channel came about at the start of the year. Work on the website began in earnest in April, the pandemic having “forced us to reimagine what synagogue looks like”, Mr Verber explained.
Until now, the US has been broadcasting across YouTube and Facebook, with many videos attracting thousands of viewers during lockdown. The US.TV will offer a single forum for US content.
Looking ahead, Mr Verber hopes The US.TV will show original content with “high production value”.
Programming will obviously not be on the scale of Netflix hits such as Shtisel and Unorthodox.
But those wanting a weekly Kabbalat Shabbat service “are not going to find that on Netflix.”
With the US celebrating its 150th anniversary, Mr Verber thought it fitting to launch a platform representing the future of the organisation in “a way our founders would never have dreamed of”.