On the Road

By E.B. Solomont

Published October 14, 2005, issue of October 14, 2005.
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Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, known for his radio talk shows and his books on relationships — including the hit “Kosher Sex” — is taking his philosophy to television.

Boteach will host “Shalom in the Home,” an hour-long prime-time parenting and family series that will air nationally on The Learning Channel starting next year. The show will feature Boteach traveling the country, counseling couples and coaching parents.

This past week, Boteach and his bullet-shaped Airstream trailer were parked on Broome Street in New York City for the taping of the second of 10 scheduled episodes. The trailer interior is set up like a talk show set. (Boteach said that the idea for a trailer came from his own experience; his family owns an RV and takes frequent camping trips in it.) The family on the receiving end of Boteach’s attention had six cameras in their home, allowing Boteach to watch the family in action; later, he and the family will watch the footage together and Boteach will offer feedback. In the first episode, taped in Allentown, Pa., the rabbi outfitted family members with earpieces so that he could coach them in real-time situations. TLC reaches some 88.4 million homes in the United States, and it already has ventured into the “reality” market with such programs as “Trading Spaces” and “What Not to Wear.”

Boteach described the show as “really substantive.” The New Jersey-based author and radio show host told the Forward he had turned down a number of prior offers to host television shows. What he likes about the new format, he said, is that the goal is not to shock families but to help them. “That is our mandate, to assist families,” he said. “As a rabbi, I really think that I come with the benefit of thousands of years of Jewish focus on the family.”

“What we like,” a TLC spokesperson told the Forward, “is that Shmuley’s focus for the show is commonsense parenting. And as the parent of seven children, he has a wealth of real-world experience.”

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