Global Broadcast System In the Seventies



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    Global Broadcast System In the Seventies

    Before the days of Skype or Periscope, a small control room at Brooklyn’s 770 Eastern Parkway (known as “770”), the world headquarters of Judaism’s Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement, became a hub for broadcasting rabbinical talks throughout the world • Full Article

    Motherboard.com

    Before the days of Skype or Periscope, a small control room at Brooklyn’s 770 Eastern Parkway (known as “770”), the world headquarters of Judaism’s Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement, became a hub for broadcasting rabbinical talks throughout the world.

    The Chabad global broadcast movement began in 1970 with a group of young yeshiva (orthodox Jewish school) boys who hacked their way through phone networks so that Chabad communities in London, France, Australia, and Israel could tune into messages from Rebbe M”M Schneerson. They broadcast the conversations he had with the droves of people who came to visit him in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, explains Rabbi Mordechai Lightstone.

    January 17, 1970 was the twentieth anniversary of Rebbe Schneerson assuming leadership over the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. That night, he gave a talk that during a Hasidic gathering that would be broadcast via a phoneline to 1,000 people in the Israeli village of Kfar Chabad. Yeshiva students Mulik Rivkin, Meni Wolff, and Chaim Boruch Halberstam set up the broadcast to Israel, inspiring other Chabad communities around the world wanting to now tune in in real time, too. A month later on the holiday of Purim, they decided to broadcast the Rebbe’s talk again in London.

    At the time, phone lines and even phone hardware, were owned by communications companies like Bell. International calls were expensive, and required advance arrangement with the phone company and reserving time with the operator. However, when British yeshiva student Yonasan Hackner, who studied in France, approached the phone company, he learned that connecting a phone line to a speaker to broadcast the Rebbe was technically prohibited.

    So instead, the Hasidic hackers hardwired the phone signal into a sound system. To allow the call transmissions to go further, they left the phone off the hook so it could pick up audio on the building’s intercom. Eventually, regional hubs were set up so that the London-New York connection could be routed to other cities throughout the UK, Europe, Israel, Australia, and South Africa. By October 1970, the hackers set up not just a one-way call in, but a two-way line so that listeners in Israel could respond to what the Rebbe was saying back in Brooklyn.

    About 420 phone lines servicing 600 locations around the world ran from the phone company to the World Lubavitch Communications Center (WLCC) in Brooklyn. “[The WLCC] was a wonderful sight to behold. All of the switches would be lit and flipped, so it glowed like it was Hanukah in July,” said Hackner. “You just know that from this little room, such a powerful message was going out to the entire world.”

    Ultimately, the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement became one of the most widespread Orthodox Jewish movements in the world. Over 3,500 Chabad institutions are scattered over more than 85 countries, from small villages in India to college campuses across America. The global broadcast made sure their voices were heard.

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    1. Yosy

      The title of “hasidic hackers” is incorrect, and is sullying the holy name of the Rebbe MH”M by inferring that the Rebbe would condone and advocate illicit behavior, and especially where he himself is involved.

      The system was similar to a music-on-hold system, however, instead of hearing music – the caller would hear the Rebbe’s voice.

      There were NO “phones left off the hook”, the system was operating completely within the perimeters of established phone company protocols.

      Using phone lines to transmit audio signals has been employed for decades, especially with radio broadcasting, television broadcasting and ENG crews worldwide.

      When radio & tv news crews broadcast their stories – are they also “hacking” phone lines?

      Are television broadcasters also “Hacking” when they do remote feeds?

      By definition, “hacking into” something would denote obtaining illegal access to something or somewhere that is off-limits.

      When you speak of “hacking” and the general contemptuous feel of the writer – one comes away with a sentiment of an overall underhanded and illicit operation, which was broadcasting the Rebbe MHM’s holy words?!

      It is wrong to portray the Rebbe MH”M in a negative light, and no matter how tempting, it is wrong to create a catchy title phrase – even though it is the farthest from the truth.

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    Global Broadcast System In the Seventies



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