Rick Recht on JKids Radio Offering Families 24/7 Access to Jewish Music, Education, Purim Programming

February 24, 2021

JKids Radio, formerly known as, PJ Library Radio, has recently relaunched to become a musical kid-centric hub for Jewish music, education and inspiration 24 hours a day seven days a week. The new online radio station streams contemporary Jewish music via its website and mobile app and is accessible around the world.

Led by Jewish musician Rick Recht, he told the Journal over Zoom that JKids Radio should be a resource for Jewish organizations, parents and teachers to utilize so Jewish music can be an introduction into Jewish life.

JKids Radio offers a wide variety of digital programming including short-story videos from Jewish storytellers across North America called “StoryTime”; “SleepyTime” mode; print out coloring pages; monthly music shows; and weekly Shabbat Block programming. The streaming station supplies hundreds of music videos, songs and activities to children and parents.

“We look at music as the open door, it captures the eyes and ears, but then we have a responsibility to do next steps after we bring them in,” Recht, who is founder of non-profit umbrella organization Judaism Alive that hosts Jewish Rock Radio, said. “We’ve got visual art, storytelling art [and] audio art, it’s all these different ways of connecting with people through music and media.”

JKids Radio features energetic and enthusiastic programming from top Jewish artists and song leaders. Recht said this platform serves as a primary platform for the field of Jewish children’s music. Grammy nominee Joanie Leeds; recording artist, and educator of 40-plus years Ellen Allard; Latin Grammy award winner Mister G and Jewish artist Eliana Light are all featured performers on JKids Radio.

Recht has spent decades touring and sharing his music at Jewish summer camps and other Jewish institutions and understands the power Jewish artists have to connect to young people and make a difference in their lives. It is a major reason why he wants to offer a place where Jewish artists can share and create their work.

“We want to make sure we are supporting Jewish artists and Jewish storytellers so they make more and more high-quality art and that their music reaches more people. It all starts with the artists,” Recht said. “[They’re] incredibly powerful educators. They’re educators in a rockstar package.”

Recht also understands that “holidays are milestones” for reaching young Jewish families. It’s why listeners can experience songs, shows and videos geared toward the Jewish holidays. With virtual Purim festivities taking place this week JKids Radio has already published exclusive music videos from Mama Mac (aka Amy Elkins) and Carla Friend of Tkiya. Families, schools and organizations can listen to its Purim for Kids Spotify playlist that features 22 songs from various Jewish song leaders.

“I absolutely love how JKids Radio is taking it to the next level with such a deep commitment to expanding Jewish engagement and education opportunities through the JKids broadcast, website and social media,” said Allard, who is a JKids Radio show host and featured on the Purim playlist. “I’m especially thrilled to host “Everyday Jewish Kids” and help show a new generation of kids about how being Jewish can be so meaningful and fun.”

JKids Radio is funded and supported by PJ Library, The Kranzberg Family Foundation, The Morton H. Meyerson Family Foundation, Sharron and Ophir Laizerovich, The Rubin Family Foundation, Ken and Jill Steinberg and Craig and Cathy Weiss.

JKids Radio also has major support from The Los Angeles Founders Collective, a group of funders who provide financial support. Samantha Garelick, Heidi and Jon Monkarsh, Courtney Mizel, and Isabella and Zoe Green are part of the L.A.-based collective.

Mizel, who lives in Beverlywood, told the Journal the team is deeply committed to Jewish Life in Los Angeles and realized that JKids Radio is an excellent way to reach kids and families, especially when it comes to connecting them to content in a Jewish way.

“JKids radio goes beyond any specific community as it connects kids and families wherever they are located, something that we have learned is essential especially during the past 12 months,” Mizel said. “I send information about JKids Radio to friends with young children and grandchildren. My children are teenagers so they are a bit out of the demographic, but PJ Library was a huge part of their Jewish identities growing up and I know that the medium of music has even greater potential to inspire kids.”

Both of her daughters attend Camp Ramah in Ojai where Recht performs annually. Seeing how the Jewish music impacted her family, she “strongly” believes that the connection kids and their families have to Judaism and Jewish life must start early.

“We know that science supports the effectiveness of music for brain development even in the womb,” Mizel said, “so JKids Radio is an incredible medium that the larger Jewish world has at its fingertips.”

Listen to JKids Radio here.

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