The first in a series of articles on Chabad spreading Torah through a variety of media.

Every Friday morning, Mashi Lipskar takes a break from her Shabbat preparations and spends an hour sharing her thoughts, experiences and inspirations with thousands of listeners via ChaiFM, South Africa’s Jewish “24/6” radio station.

Called “The Mashi Lipskar Show,” the program allows Lipskar and her co-host, Simcha Youngworth, to give their listeners a dose of pre-Shabbat inspiration from a uniquely feminine point of view.

“I’ve discovered that what people essentially want is to connect with you on a human level,” observes Lipskar, “and through that doorway, you can draw them in and impart values. When you share your challenges, you become human, and that makes you attractive.

“Often, something that happened that week will be on my heart, and I can then talk passionately about it with my listeners.”

Lipskar and her husband, Rabbi Mendel Lipskar, were sent by the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—in 1972 to direct Chabad-Lubavitch in Southern Africa.

She is one of a number of Chabad emissaries who broadcast on ChaiFM. The station has two hours every weekday afternoon called “Soul to Soul,” where a rotating cast of South African-based rabbis teach regularly.

Rabbi Lipskar has the popular Friday-afternoon slot, which he uses to teach the weekly Torah portion and Haftorah. Other Chabad presenters include Rabbi Levi Avtzon, Rabbi Michael Katz, Rabbi Ari Kievman, Rabbi Aharon Rose, Rabbi Ari Shishler and Mrs. Aidel Kazilsky.

Positive Messages, Fresh Thinking

ChaiFM CEO Kathy Kaler says the station’s listenership is “all the richer for these dedicated individuals with a message worth listening to.”

“What has distinguished the Chabad rabbis and rebbetzins,” she continues, “is their enthusiasm, zealousness, commitment and love for kiruv (outreach). They do not judge; they temper their messages with positivity and fresh thinking.”

Rabbi Levi Avtzon regularly goes on the radio, along with a number of other Chabad presenters. His segment is called “Farbrengen.”
Rabbi Levi Avtzon regularly goes on the radio, along with a number of other Chabad presenters. His segment is called “Farbrengen.”

Avtzon says he finds “that radio gives you the opportunity to speak without being intimidated.” His segment is called “Farbrengen,” a Yiddish term for a Chassidic gathering where Torah and inspiration are interspersed with soul-stirring song. “You need to make every five-minute segment meaningful with stand-alone value since people are tuning in all the time.”

Lipskar reports that “amazingly, throughout the week I will encounter people who have listened to the show on Friday, and someone will often say, ‘I felt that you were talking directly to me. I heard exactly what I needed to hear.’ ”

Taking her cue from the Rebbe, she says she makes sure that every show leads to practical action. “Ultimately, our goal is to encourage people to do something: add another mitzvah, celebrate a Jewish holiday, do something special for another or otherwise make their part of the world a better place.”

“Before Rosh Hashanah,” Avtzon recalls, “I once spoke about the importance of forgiveness and how it must begin at home with the people you know best. I later found out that there was a family that had not been speaking to each other for many years. As a result of the show, they went out together for dinner and are actively patching up their relationship.”

Here is an audio feature from “The Mashi Lipskar Show.”

Here is an audio feature from “Farbrengen”

Next: Chabad on cable television