Must See TV: 1 vs. 99 + Shmuley

By Dan Levin

Published January 19, 2007, issue of January 19, 2007.
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Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, host of the Learning Channel’s “Shalom in the Home” and author of “Kosher Sex,” recently added a few feathers to his multimedia hat.

The bearded Hasidic rabbi logged a stint as a celebrity guest on NBC’s game show “1 vs. 100” and won $10,000, which he plans to donate to Jewish Family Service of Bergen County in New Jersey, a nonsectarian social service agency.

As the host of “Shalom in the Home,” Boteach dispenses advice on marriage, parenting and relationships to families in crisis. “Out of the blue, Jewish wisdom is being sought by the wider world,” he said. Of course, the level of wisdom needed for “1 vs. 100” — a show with multiple-choice questions — may not be what the rabbi had in mind.

On the show, the main contestant is pitted against 100 other participants, known as “the mob,” winning money for each correct answer. Mob members are eliminated if they guess wrong. But those who are still around when the contestant blows a question get to divvy up his winnings.

“I never expected to win anything,” Boteach told the Shmooze. “I thought I would be knocked out on the first question.” But rather than face national humiliation, he went on to win a cash prize that will assist an organization dedicated to providing family counseling, substance-abuse prevention and domestic violence services. “I host a show where I help families in need, so I am thrilled to give my winnings to an organization that helps families in crisis.” The episode in question will air in March.

Quiz shows aren’t the only national publicity Boteach is getting these days. On January 10, he made his third appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to talk about his advice program. “When you’re invited on to Oprah’s show, that’s an honor,” he said. “She is an incredible listener and is very spiritual.”

Boteach clearly enjoys his television appearances (and certainly isn’t shy about promoting them), but now he’s also considering a more conventional gig. This week he issued a statement declaring his willingness to accept a part-time congregational post, assuming his schedule can accommodate a return to the pulpit. Too bad Oprah’s not part of the package. She’d make a great rebbetzin.






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