St. Louis based Jewish music program goes national

Shelley Dean (left) leads a Rhythm ‘N’ Ruach class at the Saul Brodsky Jewish Community Library in 2019. Dean created Rhythm ‘N’ Ruach in 2011. Now, the program is getting national attention on the Jewish Life Television network.

By Ellen Futterman, Editor

While channel surfing earlier this year, Shelley Dean came upon a show called something like “Bubbe Knows Best.” Maybe that wasn’t the exact title, but Dean realized that the show was on Jewish Life Television (JLTV), a 24-hour, Jewish-themed television network available through DirecTV, Spectrum and other providers.

“I thought ‘Rhythm ’n’ Ruach’ should be on this,” said Dean, 46, a wife and mother of four children ages 9 to 13. “So in the beginning of COVID, I sent an email to them, and they responded right away. They told me they get emails from people wanting to do shows all the time, but this time they thought ‘Rhythm ’n’ Ruach’ was amazing and a good fit.”

And so, last weekend ‘Rhythm ’n’ Ruach’ officially joined JLTV’s weekend morning lineup after the animated series “Bible Stories for Kids.” 

“I’m thrilled,” said Dean, who created the parent-child Jewish music, movement and learning enrichment program that has been a mainstay in the St. Louis Jewish community. 

Ruach means “wind” in Hebrew, which is in big supply as Dean brings plenty of energy and spirit to her classes. Dressed in tie-dye outfits and strumming her guitar, she blends Jewish music and rhythmic instruments to fuel visual and auditory learning.

On JLTV, Dean co-hosts the show with Auntie A, aka Adrienne Suson, an early childhood educator in Washington, D.C. The two got to know each other when they were both in Denver and Dean was Suson’s youth director.

“What’s neat is that I then trained (Suson) in Rhythm ’n’ Ruach,” explained Dean. “She was eager to step up into a marketing role and help the program grow.”

The show airs on JLTV on Saturdays and Sundays at 4:30, 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. CST. Each day has different episodes, and it can be streamed at those times by going to www.rhythmnruach.com/shalom-at-home.

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Dean and Suson recorded 12 episodes. She’s hoping advertisers and sponsors will come on board to support the show, which in turn could lead to some income in the future. 

“Right now, it’s about getting ‘Rhythm ’n’ Ruach’ more recognition. The goal is to spread joyful Judaism across the world,” said Dean, who is leading Rhythm ’n’ Ruach classes this fall in person and on Zoom. For more information, go to rhythmnruach.com.