Back in March 2008, we experimented for the first time with a webcast of Rabbi Wolkoff's
Adult Education class. Although we had no advance preparation by the rabbi or the Adult
Education committee, the show was an astounding success and an important milestone.
It demonstrated that those who are unable to attend a class or lecture in our Beit Midrash
can listen in and actively participate by telephone or by text messaging with the moderator.

Listen to Rabbi Wolkoff on internet talk radio

To participate or download past shows, click the image above.

Frequently Asked Questions - (for listeners and callers)

Listen to past shows.
Click the desired show and
  use the slider to skip ahead.
Q: Do I have to register to participate?  
A: No. Registration is not required to listen or to phone in but, you must be registered to use the "chat window" for texting the moderator. It is most helpful to the moderator if you register and send a short text about your intended phone call. (i.e. anything the moderator should tell the speaker before they take your call.) Also give the last 4 digits of your phone number in case there are several callers at the same time.

Q: What number do I call to ask a question?  
A: When a show is in progress, the call-in number (347 215-6486) is displayed at the top of the BlogTalkRadio page. It is local to New York City so, depending on your phone service, it may not be a free call.

Q: What happens when I call in?
A: You will immediately hear the live session but, your voice will not be heard. Your phone number will appear on the moderator's "switchboard". The moderator is not expected to recognize who you are unless you previously texted a "chat message". The moderator will alert the speaker of your call and will "unmute" your phone as acknowledged. While your question is being answered, the moderator will most likely place your call back on "mute" but, will not disconnect you. If you want to ask another question, press the "1" key on your telephone to signal you are "raising your hand".

Q: Who can I speak to when I call?
A: Your call will be "unmuted" by the moderator when you hear the speaker acknowledge there is a caller on the line. You will then be heard by everyone. Please be courteous and keep your conversation brief, as if you were actually present in the classroom.

Q: Is there a delay?  
A: Yes and No. There is a 20 second delay for those listening on their computers. Callers will be conversing with the speaker in "real time". The caller should mute their computer's speakers as not to go insane.

Q: Can I submit a question without making a phone call?
A: Yes. Simply type your question in the "chat window" and the moderator will relay it to the speaker.
If you have a headset, you can "Click to Talk" (Internet Explorer only).

Q: What is the best way to register?  
A: Your user name is displayed when posting a message in the "chat window". We suggest using your 1st initial and last name, however, if you think the moderator would recognize you by your AIM id or email address, feel free to use that instead. Nothing prevents you from making up an anonymous id, such as "caller123" but, the moderator might be more inclined to give priority to someone who is clearly identifiable as a congregant.

Q: How many calls can be handled at once?  
A: The previous limit has been increased to at least 10 or so. The moderator will decide which (if any) callers will be on the air (unmuted) simultaneously.

Q: Are class materials available to help me follow the webcast?  
A: Check the appropriate section of the Adult Education page for available references. Depending upon the subject matter, it could be helpful to have another browser window (or laptop computer) open to where you can easily find any verse of any chapter of any book.

Q: Where is the schedule of upcoming shows?  
A: The Rabbi's webcasts are posted on his class schedule page and are announced via the CBTnewsletter. Officially registered shows are also detailed at

Q: What is the average show's duration?  
A: Unless otherwise posted, all webcasts start promptly at 8 pm (B'nai Tikvah Time). The rabbi's classes typically conclude at 9:15 pm (followed by informal discussions over cookies and soda). Live streaming is somtimes limited to 60 minutes, however, recording continues to the conclusion of the lecture and is available in its entirety for subsequent listening.

Q: Can I download shows to my iPod or mp3 player? 
A: Yes. Go to the BlogTalkRadio website and click the download button for the desired show. You will be prompted to save it as an mp3 file which you can then transfer to your portable device.

Q: Do I need any special software? 
A: No. The webcast can be received on most any web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc. You may be required to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Flash. Some users have reported problems using the AOL browser but, it could be due to an older Flash version.

Q: How can I increase the volume?  
A: In Windows, double-click the volume control icon in the lower right corner. This should open the sound mixer. Raise the levels of both the WAV and master controls. Also adjust the external volume control on your speakers if applicable. If you still have trouble, it could be a problem on our end. Send a chat message to let the moderator know.

Q: What is the function of the show's moderator?  
A: The moderator(s) sit in the back of the class with a laptop connected to the BlogTalkRadio "switchboard". They participate in the chat window while trying to pay attention to what the speaker is saying. When a call comes in, it is initially "muted". The moderator sees the caller's phone number (only) and signals to the speaker when there is a caller on the line. After the speaker's acknowledgement, the moderator will "unmute" the call. The moderator will then decide when to "mute" the phone. If the caller has an additional question or comment, they may "raise their hand" by pressing the "1" key on the telephone. The moderator will signal this to the speaker before unmuting the phone again.

In order to keep at least one line open for new callers, the moderator may only allow nine people to remain on the phone.

Q: How do I communicate with the moderator? 
A: The best way is to register (with a recognizable name) and send a text message via the "chat window". To communicate privately, you can send an "Instant Message" (via AIM, Yahoo Messenger, GoogleTalk, or MSN Live Messenger) to CBTRADIO. The moderator will monitor these Instant Message services during the webcast.

Q: Can I participate without using a computer? 
A: Yes (most likely). The call-in number has remained at (347) 327-9685 since we started. There are at least 10 available lines and the moderator(s) try to keep at least one free for new callers. If you contact the moderator "before" the broadcast by phone, you may be assured of having some priority. During the broadcast, the moderator will only be able to recognize you by your phone number. Be sure to press the "1" key if you want to be placed on-the-air for a question.

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Frequently Asked Questions - (for speakers and moderators)

Q: Can anyone at B'nai Tikvah host a show? 
A: Absolutely. We encourage anyone who is interested to get in touch with anyone who has already done it. As with any event at B'nai Tikvah, please inform the office, Webmaster, and Hakol editor with as much information and lead time as you can.

Q: Where can I host a show? 
A: Technically, you can host anywhere but, in the synagogue, the only room properly equipped is the Beit Midrash.

Q: What equipment is needed? 
A: At minimum, you need a phone connection that won't be too expensive for a 1-hour call to New York City, a good quality speakerphone in close proximity to the speaker, and a computer (or laptop) with a broadband connection for use by the moderator(s).

Q: How is the Beit Midrash set up? 
A: In the Administrator's office is a cardboard box marked "Blog Talk Radio" which contains a wireless microphone transmitter and some cue cards. The speaker/instructor wears a small lapel microphone connected to the transmitter that fits in a pocket or clips to their clothing. The receiver is mounted on top of the rear bookcase and is wired from its earphone (not microphone) jack to the modified telephone on the left side of the bookcase. The phone is connected to a small amplifier on the shelf which allows a caller to be heard on the loudspeaker above the bookcase.

Q: Pre-show checklist: 
  • Make sure the transmitter has a fresh 9-volt battery, is set to the "B" position, and is turned ON.
  • The lapel microphone should be located no more than 6" from the speaker/instructors chin.
  • Plug the power adapter under the rear seat into the brown extension chord. This will activate the microphone receiver located at the top of the bookcase. The receiver is set to the "B" channel and the power switch should always be left in the "ON" position.
  • You can plug your laptop into the extension chord under the rear seat. Connect your computer to the strongest wi-fi signal (SSID "btikvah") and log into the BlogTalkRadio website (username=cbtwebguy). Open the "switchbaord" and the "Chat" windows.
  • Turn on the amplifier and do a sound check by removing the dummy handset from the phone. You should hear the dial-tone loud and clear over the loudspeaker on top of the bookcase. Press the "1" key, to clear the dial-tone and ask the speaker to say something. The voice will not be very loud, but it should be audible. Replace the handset to hang up the phone. (The handset is non-functional. It is only used to connect/disconnect the phone line.)

Q: Starting the show: 
A: A few minutes before showtime (7:55 or so), dial the phone number printed on the phone. When prompted, enter the account number that is also listed on the telephone. Everyone in the room will hear the dialing procedure and thus will be made aware of the broadcast. (The countdown for the showtime will also be heard.)

Q: To end the show: 
A: The live portion of the broadcast ends automatically at the scheduled time. Do not disconnect the phone until the class session is actually over. Recording will continue and the entire show (up to 2 hours) can later be heard or downloaded by visiting the BlogTalkRadio website. Hang up or disconnect the phone when the class is over. Be sure to unplug the power adapter for the receiver (under the rear seat), Turn off the transmitter (to save batteries), turn off the amplifier. Return the transmitter to the synagogue office.

Q: What if I know we can't start on-time? 
A: Do not dial the phone until you are ready. The show will start as soon as you get through the prompts. Be aware that the live portion of the show ends at its scheduled time, regardless of when it started.

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