In the four decades that Dr. Leonard Davidman has practiced psychology in New York City, he has prescribed countless treatment regimens for a variety of conditions. Yet for some patients, he says, he has a cure that’s sure to work and costs nothing at all: watching the videotaped talks of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—many of which can be found on

A yeshivah graduate and lay leader at his congregation, the Lincoln Square Synagogue, Davidman says he finds that the experience of watching videos of the Rebbe is deeply personal, educational and inspiring.

The videos are produced by JEM (Jewish Educational Media), which has been curating, captioning and releasing them on a weekly basis in a format known as “Living Torah” since 2001.

“Every time I watch it, I feel it is just what I needed at that moment,” says Davidman, who understands the Rebbe’s Yiddish, but takes advantage of the English captions. “I like the fact that his thinking is so deep and so philosophical and abstract that it touches you very deeply. It’s not the typical rabbinical talk. The Rebbe goes deeper, to an almost Kabbalistic place of abstract thinking, which takes Jewish philosophy to a higher level.”

Almost paradoxically, he says that he appreciates seeing how the Rebbe encouraged virtually everyone he encountered to make a practical difference in their lives and their Jewish observance as a direct result of their meetings.

A lifelong New Yorker, Davidman says he sometimes spots famous (and not so famous) people he knows visiting the Rebbe, which deepens his appreciation for the Jewish leader, whom he never met in person.

Indeed, most fans of “Living Torah” are too young to have met the Rebbe in person.

“I watch the weekly Living Torah together with my class in school every Thursday and then again after Havdalah with my father,” says 12-year-old Mendel Goldman, of Waterloo, Ontario. “It has good lessons, so I would encourage everyone to watch it also.”

In its classical format, the weekly “Living Torah” features four parts: an excerpt from a farbrengen (informal Chassidic gathering) of the Rebbe; “Eye to Eye,” a private conversation with the Rebbe often held during the Sunday dollars distribution; “Timeless Moments,” which showed the Rebbe during prayer or other moments of devotion; and “My Encounter,” testimonies of those who recall personal interactions they have had with the Rebbe, going back all the way to the 1930s. These clips are culled from more than 1,500 videotaped interviews conducted by JEM’s “My Encounter” teams in Israel and the United States, which travel the world documenting the Rebbe’s life and extensive reach via the words of those he touched.

While the four segments were often chosen to reflect an upcoming holiday or Chassidic milestone, they essentially functioned as standalone features. All that is about to change.

‘A Great Significance in Milestones’

This year, the 10th of Shevat, marks the 70th anniversary of the passing of the sixth Rebbe and the Rebbe’s assumption of leadership.

For the next 70 weeks, JEM is poised to replace the classic “Living Torah” with a series of 70 mini-documentaries on the Rebbe’s approach to a cornucopia of subjects ranging from his leadership during the Persian Gulf War and the imperative to invest creativity into Torah study to how to combat anti-Semitism.

Each weekly film will include captioned talks of the Rebbe, augmented with testimonies and footage from personal encounters and other historical events to create a glimpse into the Rebbe’s approach to the topic at hand.

“This format will allow us to showcase people or things that many people may not know,” explains JEM’s Rabbi Yitzchok Tsap, who is overseeing the project. “For example, we can now put a spotlight on how the Rebbe made sure that money was distributed to the needy before every holiday. In one single segment, we can show the Rebbe speaking about it, show him actually contributing, and include testimonies of those whom the Rebbe encouraged to raise and distribute the funds.”

The series’ creators believe each segment will stand on its own as a window into the timeless Torah wisdom and vision the Rebbe brought to every situation and every encounter.

The 70 themes will be expressed in other JEM platforms as well, including their daily WhatsApp broadcasts, printed material and content featured on the Ashreinu App.

“The Rebbe place great significance in milestones, seeing them as an opportunity for inspiration and growth,” says Tsap. “Seventy years gave us the impetus to rethink what we do and how we can better expose people to the many, many facets of the Rebbe’s leadership and teachings.”