Apparently, there is such a blessing, and it's said when the sun is the exact position in the sky that it was in the story of Genesis. That happens every 28 years.
The time capsule is to be opened the next time the prayer is said--in a few weeks. That teacher called me tonight.
In addition to opening the time capsule, she wrote a book about a young male teacher doing the same with his students in 2009. They filled the time capsule with both secular and Jewish items. Among the Jewish items is an OyBaby DVD. I got mildly teary thinking about it--that my son would be in his mid thirties when the capsule in the book is set to be open.
Add this to the list of amazing, gratifying stories I hear from OyBaby fans from around the world.
Here's the website for the book: http://web.mac.com/sfwasserman
Of course, our conversation got this song stuck in my head for the rest of the night, too:
Though the blog's been quiet, we're thrilled that the OyBaby business continues to attract fans around the world. We love getting your emails and hearing about the way our products have found a home in your Jewish family.
You'll notice that many of the pictures below aren't showing up. I'll be going back through the archives and fixing those up in the coming days. More importantly, I'll be posting some updates on what's new with our business, and maybe...just maybe...tease out some info on new products!
In the meantime, you can subscribe to receive new updates from this blog via email (there's a form on the left).
Also, if you're on Facebook, I'd appreciate it if you could take a moment and join our Facebook fan page. Doing so will let your friends know that you're a fan of OyBaby!
I'd also like to feature stories of OyBaby families from around the world. Got an interesting story about how your family enjoys OyBaby? I'd love to hear it.
Thanks for your continued business. This is us in the midst of the Hanukkah rush!
Rob and Lisi
Sent from: Lima, Peru
Sent to: Knoxville, TN
It's a small world after all!
As you prepare for Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, let us not forget the lesser known holiday that falls each year on September 19, Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Anyone need a Jewish baby gift sent to either of those states? Email us here at OyBaby World Headquarters and we'll send the first order to each of those states for free!
Many of you have written in to ask what's next for us. We're currently working with a few synagogues on some live shows over the next few months. If your synagogue or other organization is interested in sponsoring a concert for your community, please visit the "contact us" section of the OyBaby web site.
L'Shanah Tovah and all the best to you and your families.
This just in from my hometown of Cleveland...The kids at Gross Schecter Day School love OyBaby products! Here's a letter sent to me by their Preschool Director:
Thank you so much for sending us the Oy Baby DVDs and CDs. We have watched them and listened to them over and over again. I’m sending a letter home to the parents of our students telling them of your generosity and kindness, sharing with them the love our children have for them and letting them know where they can be purchased in town or ordered online. Hope this helps your sales soar!
Even better, they included a picture of some of the kids from the school. I don't know of a company in the world with cuter customers than ours!
Click here to watch the trailer!
A smaller version for slower connections
These files were encoded for Windows Media Format (will play on both a PC and Mac. If it does not play, try downloading the free player here.
Update: Yes, I know there are spelling errors in one of the songs. It was fixed in the final version.
Click here to see the article, along with an unflattering picture of me!
Watch a portion of L'Cha Dodi from OyBaby 2!
I encourage you to right-click (ctrl-click on a Mac) and save it to your desktop. You need Windows Media Player to watch the video. (You'll most likely have it on your computer already. If you don't, you can download it for free here)
Rob and Lisi Wolf, parents of two, have one more kid-video challenge: how to instill in their children a love of Jewish symbols and melodies.
The couple from Mercer Island, Wash., turned to three singing sisters from Portland: Stephanie and Lisa Schneiderman and Kim Palumbis. Stephanie says she and Lisa are "full-time, involved aunts" to Kim's two children.
Stephanie produced the music. She, the Wolfs and others created a richly visual film that moves seamlessly from toddlers, entranced by the Sabbath table or colored balls, to photographs of a shofar and scrolls. From ocean waves breaking on a variety of beaches to splats of bright paint that illustrate the Hebrew names of colors. Bold black-and-white lines melt into actual silver candlesticks, crystal glasses, red wine and challah. Graphic stars pulse and fade from one brilliant color to another.
It's all set to beloved Jewish songs that recall fun summers at B'nai B'rith camp, rendered in beautiful harmonies that are easy on adult ears. Besides the jungle-infused version of "Zum Gali Gali," there's a jazzy "Eitz Chaim (Tree of Life)" and a rip-roaring children's chorus singing "Dayenu".
You can read the full article here.
But then I realized that as long as I was willing to give up sleep, I'd have enough hours to fit it all in.
We had a great article written about us in Portland's newspaper, and expect one in a few weeks in the Seattle PI.
The sequel's coming along, slower than I expected, but I'm really pleased with what I've got so far.
Last time, I had 6 hours of footage to work with. This time? 27. I'm being alot more deliberate about what shots I want to get. The scenes will be more varied. I've filmed a few scenes twice, after getting back to the office and deciding that they didn't look quite right.
I feel myself getting better at videography as I log more hours behind the camera. It's hard to train yourself to see how the camera sees. Cameras accentuate shadows. They see colors differently under different kinds of light. Learning to trust the camera's viewfinder, and not "your lyin' eyes" is a real challenge.
With about 95% of the filming done, I've moved on to editing. I've got about 5 out of 15 songs done, and have been focusing on some of the more difficult ones first. I should be able to finish up editing in the next two weeks, get it off to the factory, and ready to order in the beginning of November.
Thanks for all of your continued support along the way.
Sophie's looking forward to seeing you all in OyBaby 2. This time, she's bringing her sister along for the fun!
Click here to listen!
In her fabulous blog, My Urban Kvetch, Esther writes:
Talk about a post that's way overdue...I started writing this months ago, when co-creator Rob Wolf sent me a review copy of the OyBaby CD and DVD, and then proceeded to become exceedingly busy...so apologies that it's taken this long.
Most of us who know people with babies (the must-have accessory this season), know that there is such an entity as Baby Mozart (Baby Picasso, Baby Warhol, whatever). And many of us may have even been forced to watch this video, which contains a series of images and sounds which are supposedly educational-slash-stimulating for babies. The images and words are unrelated; in one segment I remember, there is a stack of five or so out-of-order alphabet blocks that appear on screen when the alphabet song is sung, but there is no correlation between the particular letters on screen and the letters being vocalized. In my mind, this is a wasted educational opportunity. But what do I know? Oh yeah, it's also infuriatingly annoying. For me, watching Baby Mozart once was one time two many.
So my hopes for OyBaby were not particularly high. Imagine my relief and surprise when the contents of this DVD and CD set not only didn't annoy me, but actually intrigued me. The voices that sing the songs are not "frummie" voices, nor are they Israeli-accented (in a way that would create generations of American children with faux Israeli gutturals). They're sweet but not syrupy, and the images projected over the voices (actually)complement each other. The CD is great car listening; I gave my copy to my cousin for her son (born in November), and both of them really enjoy it. Songs include some classic melodies as well as more contemporary Hebrew tunes.
And that's just version 1. Now, OyBaby's announced that they're having a "new baby": version 2.0, coming this fall with 14 new songs. The OyBaby blog chronicles it all for your entertainment...
Anyone who reads this blog knows I became an aunt recently. As soon as I'd posted news of the birth, I got a package in the mail from Rob: another copy of the CD and DVD, for my new nephew. So, to sum up:
1) Rob's a mensch and a savvy marketer.
2) OyBaby is cool. And maybe they should call it OyBabyFishMouth, because it's sure to be sweeping the Jewish nation.
So visit the OyBaby blog, download some songs, look at some of their photos, and judge for yourself...and if you place an order tell Rob you heard about it from Esther, the Urban Kvetch.
I think the best part of the whole post is the Baby Fishmouth reference. My sister and I have been calling each other that for years. Don't get the reference? Click here.
Click and Enjoy!
The plan was to take the week off of work, do some filming, some editing, some blogging, and get all caught up on the business end of things. It seems like I blinked and the week was over.
I now see why Coppola almost went insane while filming Apocalypse Now. Just kidding--it was great fun. I didn't get nearly as much of the filming accomplished as I thought I would, but hey, that's show business for you.
The week got off to a rather rocky start. It was a nice splash of cold water to tell me, "hey Rob, this isn't going to be easy." By the end of the week, the shots looked better and I had regained the confidence that I felt eroding earlier in the week. Each day's footage seemed to improve in quality.
The video I'm creating is in many ways more ambitious than the first, with more variety in filming locations, and a more narrative thread to each video.
I'm encouraged by all of the great feedback I've received on OyBaby, but also take it as a challenge to surpass your expectations again with the sequel. This week marked another milestone on that quest. Thanks for your interest and support along the way.
We have about 50 kids lined up (amazingly, 31 girls and only 19 boys). We start Monday morning with a scene at a park. Tuesday night, we're doing a mock Shabbat dinner. We've got Puppets on Wednesday and "Seder" Thursday. Throughout the week, we'll be filming at some people's houses, and
Check this site often this week. I'll post some "stills" from the set, as well as some more music samples.
Oh, you want another music sample tonight? Ok...Shabbat Shalom. This one's a full-length version: L'Cha Dodi.
"Searching for the perfect au currant new baby gift? Today, you need look no further than your local Sisterhood Judaica shop to pick up a copy of Judaism’s answer to the “Baby Einstein” trend. “Oy Baby!,” a video of Jewish imagery and music created for babies six months and up, is one of the fastest selling items in the gift shop of Temple Beth Israel in Fresno, California, says buyer Arlana Stewart."
Attention Disney Corporation lawyers: They said it, not me!
Click here to listen to a sample!
Use the comments feature to let us know what you think!
Click here to listen to a sample!
Use the comments feature to let us know what you think!
Watching the recording in Portland was a phenomenal experience. The Schneidermans were at the top of their game, as I knew they would be. Stephanie really took the production to the next level. The songs are more ambitious, the instrumentation is more elaborate, and the session musicians were just amazing. You are so going to be listening to this even when your kids are not around!
All I kept thinking was wow, wow, wow.
By the time we had gotten there, they had recorded Modeh Ani and Hallelujah. The engineer cued up what he apologetically called really, really rough mixes...and it still sounded like Abbey Road!
We were lucky enough to go down on the night the kids came in to lay down their tracks. First we had two girls doing Debbie Friedman's funky take on Mah Nishtanah (the 4 questions of Passover). Then we had some more kids in to do Af Peh Ozen, Kol B'Seder's Hebrew answer to Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.
And then it was time for a little ruach.
Doug Blauer, who is the voice behind OyBaby's Cheri Bim Bum led a group of about a dozen kids in a version of Hiney Matov that was equal parts Louis Prima, Cab Calloway, and the Ramones. You'll just have to hear it to know what I mean.
Thursday morning, the session musicians came back to lay down the instruments for Tzena Tzena. It was an all-star team that included famed pianist Michael Allen Harrison and drummer Mike Snyder.
Also that morning, the Schneids recorded the fabulous Hanukkah Blessings. This song was released last year by one of my favorite bands, Barenaked Ladies (a band comprised of 5 fully clothed men). The lead singer of BNL is Jewish, and this song was included in a holiday album they released last year. It's a pop song, but it also blends the actual Hanukkah blessings into its lyrics. I filmed the Schneidermans recording of this song, and plan to incorporate some of the footage into the video itself.
After that, I had to get back to Seattle and some work for my day job. When all was said and done, 14 new songs were recorded.
So, when do you get to hear all this gorgeousness?
Stephanie was on an East Coast concert swing this past week. She'll be back in the studio next week to work on the mixing with the sound engineer. Once the tracks are mixed, I'll get the files, and will be posting some snippets of them for you to enjoy.
I may string 'em out just a little bit. You know, to keep you coming back for more. Stay tuned...
I grabbed my camera and tripod and headed out to Lid Park, a high spot here on Mercer Island, that was built on top of a freeway (thus, the name). Got some great footage, and took some stills, like the one below.
Some day this fall, when you're watching OyBaby 2, you'll know that this was the night the grand finale was born.
Clouds over Seattle, July 7, 2005. Click for a larger image.
Wednesday, July 6, 8pm
ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL - New York, NY
Thursday, July 7, 7pm
THE BITTER END - New York, NY
Saturday, July 9, 3pm
NEWBURYPORT RIVERFRONT FESTIVAL - Newburyport, MA
Hosted by WXRV 92.5FM "The River"
Saturday, July 9, 8pm
TUPELO MUSIC HALL - Londenderry, NH (close to Boston)
Tomorrow morning, Lisi, our friend Sheryl (whose hand you see lighting the menorah in Maoz Tzur) and I head down Interstate 5 from Seattle to Portland to watch and document some of the recording session. In OyBaby 2, you'll actually get to see our fabulous musicians in action as part of the visual treatment of some of the songs. I also plan to include a short "making of" vignette on the DVD.
Tomorrow night, we have our children's chorus coming into the studio to lay down their tracks. Doug Blauer, the male voice on Cheri Bim Bum, will be returning with his inimitable ruach to lead the kids on a hep cat arrangement of Hiney Ma Tov.
I'm excited to get there, but even more excited to get a CD with some rough mixes of the songs for the drive back. I'll post some samples soon, so keep checking this blog!
So, if you have any baby gifts to buy, or want to recommend OyBaby to a friend, now's a great time to do it! This limited time offer is available at www.craignco.com
Of course, our website is always open for business as well - www.oybaby.com
Ok, enough with the commercials, back to the typical blog fare...
Come my beloved
to meet the bride,
Let us welcome the Sabbath
L'Cha Dodi was originally a poem composed kabbalist Rabbi Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz. Rabbi Alkabetz was a kabbalist in the 1500's, about 500 years prior to Madonna.
Lately, Stephanie and I have been trying to track down a particular arrangement of the song. It was the one I grew up hearing at B'nai Jeshurun in Cleveland (back when we called it Heights Temple). As far as I knew at the time, it was the only version. Turns out that there are about 50 different melodies for this song
Anyhoo, Stephanie spent hours trying to find this particular tune, so I turned to the fine people on the Hava Nashira Listserv. Within a few hours, I received about 5 responses pointing me to the correct answer.
It was one of those humbling moments when I realized that technology allowed me to do something I couldn't have done 10 years ago. In a matter of seconds, I was able to pose my question to the 2,000 people in this country most qualified to answer it.
You know, maybe this whole Internet phenomenon is for real after all.
In four weeks, we'll be back at the deliciously named Kung Fu Bakery recording studio to lay down the tracks for OyBaby 2. History will remember this studio for giving birth of the OyBaby sound, much like Sun Records is indellibly linked to Elvis Presley. Lesser known acts Pink Martini and Everclear have also recorded there.
The song list has been finalized. Here it is with a few additions and deletions from the previous list I posted:
- Modeh Ani
- Hanukkah Blessings
- L'Cha Dodi
- Mah Nishtanah
- Mi Chamocha
- Kobi's Lullaby
- Af Peh Ozen
- Shalom Rav
- Ten Li
- Tzena Tzena
Sorry, mom. Ba Shanah is out.
Taleah - Then and Now
Taleah and her ringlets of blonde curls are looking forward returning in OyBaby 2. Now almost 4 years old, Taleah loves the Princesses, and spent some quality time exchanging acting secrets on a recent trip to DisneyLand. She's active in dance, acting, and tennis classes, but the thing she loves most is spending time with her best friend and little sister.
As I'm planning the sequel, there's one book to which I keep referring...Joseph Telushkin's Jewish Literacy. If you're looking to learn more about Judaism, or just want a handy place to go to look up questions from time to time, this book is it. The other day, I decided to learn more about King David (the original, not the 2-year old monarch of our household), and Telushkin had a great 5 page summary.
Another great resource is the Aish Hatorah website. The have an enormous database of articles explaining both the what and why of many topics in Judaism.
Check 'em out. You just might learn something.
Later today, we're sending out the press release announcing sales of 5,000 copies of OyBaby and our plans for the sequel. We'll also mention this blog as a way of keeping you posted on the progress of the sequel.
For those of you reading this blog for the first time, welcome! If you start from the bottom and work your way up, you'll be reading these posts in the order they were written. We haven't had that much to report yet on the sequel yet, but things will start getting busy real soon.
Thanks for reading, and let us know your ideas!
Cleveland's got a great Jewish community--big (about 70,000) and totally concentrated into about 5 suburbs. It's a total shtetl--like Anatevka, but instead of Cossacks, it has a Costco.
Every Jew I've ever met in this country seems to have a cousin in Shaker Heights.
People that have been to Cleveland know that I am looking forward to eating at Corky and Lenny's. I'm sure that when I walk in there, I'll run into someone from my high school, Jewish summer camp, or BBYO (possibly embodied in the same person).
For all the burning river jokes (thanks, Randy Newman) and images of rusty smokestacks, anyone who grew up there loves to talk about what a great town it is.
Most people in my informal sample of non-work friends had never heard of a blog. Makes me think back to the time when I'd ask someone for their email address and get a blank stare.
Did you know, for example, that there are 493 blogs listed in the Jewish Blog Ring ? There are blogs from all points along the Judaic spectrum. Some are worthless. Others connect us with prolific writers that share our passions, hope, and faith. I encourage you to check 'em out, starting with some of the ones I have listed to the right (Jewschool can be a bit risque). A nice thing about blog etiquette is that it's common practice for a blogger to link to other blogs and sites that he or she likes. Start with one and follow that bread crumb trail.
From a business perspective, blogs represent a refreshing new type of transparency. Whether it's my humble little baby video company or the slightly larger company I work for by day, blogs allow businesses to speak in a more human voice. More importantly, blogs invite customers to talk back--to make it a two way conversation that brings the business closer to its customers.
Some of the great brands on the web--Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Microsoft, and others--let there employees blog publicly about the goings on at their company. Sure, there are limits, like don't post any trade secrets, but generally, the employees are given a pretty wide latitude. It displays both trust in the employee and respect for the customer to communicate so openly.
Does your company let you blog about it? Discuss.
The other day I was at a friend’s house full of little children. He put on a DVD that completely captivated them and I thought was great. Oy Baby is a small company that has put out this video...
The creators of the DVD are a Jewish couple from the Pacific Northwest, Rob and Lisi Wolf, and I hope they’re making some money with this because they’ve done a terrific job. Seriously, go out and buy one for your nieces and nephews, or your own kids if you are so blessed...Nope, I have no financial connection to these people and had never heard of them until I saw their video while surrounded by little children. Their good work deserves praise and support.
Needless to say, it made my freakin' day.
Read The Full Review
The main Jewlicious site
- Keb Mo - Just Like You
- Roseanne Cash - Will You Remember Me?
- Paul Simon - Homeless (the demo version on the newly released expanded version of Graceland, which is like buttah)
- Marc Cohn - Just about anything he's recorded, but especially his version of Maoz Tzur on the Festival of Light CD
- Lyle Lovett - The Road To Ensenada
Check 'em out. I think they're all available on iTunes.
- Bear In The Big Blue House - a fantastic show on the Disney Channel with characters by Jim Henson's company. Great music and motion.
- Hi 5 - A live action show on Discovery Kids by the same production team that brought us The Wiggles
- VH1 Classic - The golden age of music videos
- Here Come The ABCs - A new children's DVD by quirk-pop duo They Might Be Giants. It's a bunch of music videos about letters. In one of my favorite scenes, Q & U pal around town together.
- KidSongs - Music videos for kids that were (like, totally) made in the 80's. Even though it looks dated to me, my kids love it. Gives me hope that when my kids are in college, people will still be buying OyBaby.
What videos are your kids watching these days? Use the comments field and let me know!
Here at OyBaby World Headquarters, I've been training myself in some new video editing software that I will be using in the creation of OyBaby 2 (Adobe After Effects 6.5 Pro, for those of you that care). I'm working my way through a set of 15 DVDs that contain 47 hours of training. Sadly, this is my idea of fun.
Of all of the songs in OyBaby, the one parents most often single out as their kids' favorite is Dayenu. It's fun to think of all of the kids at seder tables around the country knew that song this year from watching our video!
At our seders this weekend, we pulled out the puppets used in the video and did a "reunion concert" of sorts.
Many people have asked: You can order those puppets from www.sillypuppets.com.
Kobi's Lullaby ( a fantastic song by Rick Recht)
Hanukkah Blessings (yes, that one, BNL fans!)
Af Peh Ozen