Charlie Harary: Tribute to The Jewish Mother for Wissotzky

We were so psyched when the Ptex Group, Wissotzky’s ad agency in Brooklyn, asked Shmuel to make this video. I was in tears when I watched the rough cut, as making this project happen as it did was a ton of work, on top of my regular wifely, motherly, and marketingly duties.

A day before the shoot, I happily went shopping with the business card for props for this amazing project. (Shmuel said, “Keep in mind, if there are things we can’t return to the store after the shoot, they’re yours!  So buy things you like.”)  Sure!  No problemo!  Don’t mind if I do. 🙂  The props are mostly from Target, with a few from Macy’s and Sears.  Then on Monday I pulled Moishe out of bed at 4:30AM to make it to the set in Lawrence – the home of the Stahler family.


So many amazing people came together to make this happen.  The Stahlers were so generous not only with their home, but with their help.  In the Shabbos scene you can catch a glimpse of Lisi and Avi Stahler at the table.

We are so thankful to Leora Mishaan for introducing us to Michal Weinstein, who plays the mother.  Michal was so generous with her time, her kids, her wardrobe, and her nanny.  Yali from Yali’s Wigs found Michal the perfect shaitel – we had to pull Yali out of her davening to style it, and help us make it to the set on time!  The beautiful white Shabbos dress that Michal is wearing is from Teri Jon.

We have to thank Charlie Harary for being a part of this project.  He is so easy to work with, and friendly to everyone on set.  I would also like to thank my own Jewish mother, who graciously watched our younger kids while we were away filming this.  Moishe was actually sad that he had to be in the commercial because he also wanted to sleep at Savta’s house!

Here’s a pic of us on set once we wrapped it up:

Charlie Harary, Shmuel Hoffman, Alan Stahler, Michal Weinstein, Margelit Hoffman on the set of Wissotzky's Mother Commercial

Finally, we want to thank the Ptex Group and Wissotzky for using advertising to convey a higher message (and Micah Smith for the referral!)  We are here to honor the women who make life run smoothly, and to give them a break during the course of a busy day.  In the words of Ani DiFranco, “God’s work is done by people.”

Shine on, dear mothers.  Shine on.

And if you liked this, you’d also like this:

OU – The Orthodox Union, Shmuel’s A Steadicam Operator

Our Jewish Irish Twin Boys: A Video For Mother’s Day

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37 Responses to "Charlie Harary: Tribute to The Jewish Mother for Wissotzky"

  1. Moshe Bree says:

    Wow……gorgeous cinematography Shmuel!

  2. Thanks Moshe! Will pass on your compliment to Shmuel… 🙂

  3. barry katz says:

    You are obviously taleneted in delivering a message……………..

  4. David Ordan says:

    Very well done, and it is.

    Just a thought – and please this is only meant in the spirit of good will.

    I wonder if there is a bit of a slippery slope issue here if we start co-mingling advertising with higher messages. I am not suggesting that this particular video did that. However, once the door is opened, there is a danger that precious ideas will lose their purity as they begin to be employed for the sake of marketing.

    I’m not suggesting that the Chareidi economy should remain in the 1800s. I’m just saying that experience shows that things sometimes take on a life of their own.

    Had this been JUST a tribute to Jewish mothers, it would be a very nice message of appreciation. Finding out that it’s purpose was to sell tea, sort of took the wind out of it.

    Again, please do not think that I am here only to criticize. Rather, just to point out an area of concern. I hope this will not spark a torrent of angry posts.

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Indeed, you’re right – it is a slippery slope. We wanted to make this tribute to the Jewish mother – and thankfully Wissotzky was able to fund it. Since they are a Jewish, Israeli company, they were more than willing to back it, and I think that says a lot about who they are and how they do business.

      I wonder, where is that fine line? It’s the reality that good projects, nonprofits and causes need financial backing – im ain kemach, ain Torah. We are thankful that there are companies in this world like Wissotzky who aim for something higher than just selling.

      Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts on this, David!

      Thanks for watching,

  5. AbbaSez says:

    Beautifully conceived, written, shot, edited and scored.

    I would HIGHLY encourage you to pitch the client on doing a 2nd version for ALL mother’s, too. The current film, obviously, is targeted to Wissotzky’s main audience – and that’s great. But there’s no reason they should not try to expand their market and target mothers in general, as this idea bigger than the Jewish Mother. In fact, it’s bigger than moms (in other words, you’re sitting on a campaign here).

    Tea is a respite from the busy day. It’s a mini vacation. It gives us permission to take pause…smell the roses…etc. A few minor changes, and it becomes, “Here’s to the mothers of the world.”…then “Here’s to the fathers of the world…the grand parents…etc” – each telling a similar story, celebrating the role each plays in our collective lives, and the many hats they wear.

    Well done.

  6. Chaya V says:

    Woh, this was one of those evenings where I really needed that kind of “chizuk”. Nice job. I think it did a good job of being able to be something most Jews could relate to in terms of the dress as well.

    I agree that it would be good to have one made for the general public, just for Wissotzky’s sake – why narrow yourself to just Jews?

    • Thanks for watching Chaya! Glad it gave you the chizuk you needed. We can all use it once in a while.

      Wissotzky is a Jewish, Israeli company, so they wanted to start small. I’ll be pitching Shawn’s idea to Ptex, their ad agency.


  7. alanplace says:

    That was lovely Margelit, thanks so much for sharing it.

  8. Hi guys. The best part is that you would never know it’s a tea commercial. You’re selling the concept of giving credit where it is do, and what’s the gift? ME Time. To my English friends, TEA Time is like a religious meditation. Maybe I’ll have one right now (it’s my birthday today after all!)

  9. Faigie Grunberg says:

    well done guys…another amazing video 🙂

  10. i´m so happy to see my Moishe!!
    I like this video very much, it impressed me and let me deeply moved.
    What a wonderful message! Thanks!

  11. Michal Hartman says:

    Each clip is like gold, you are a true artist,
    Wonderful message, Warm wishes ~ Michal

  12. Beautiful! What a great way to brand Wisosky – I’ll have to share it with my students. So what are the goodies you got to keep, M?

  13. Beautiful and true – I had tears in my eyes, too. Thanks –
    Wissotzsky showed a lot of good sense in choosing Shmuel to make their video-ad!

  14. leora says:

    just wondering who in the clip is making the tea for the mother??????????????

  15. Chani says:

    While I applaud the message of the video, it left this working mother of six very sad. I wish you hadn’t gone to so much trouble to get the wig and the dress. I cannot relate to the woman in the ad. I cannot afford a custom shaitel, much less wear it while carpooling. Housework means my hands are NOT manicured. I would never dream of wearing a white dress at home, let alone to serve dinner. And I don’t have the time or money to maintain my prepregnancies figure. I’m a Jewish mother who makes a deliberate effort to keep a happy home despite having more month than money. Why don’t you make a video of me?

  16. Chani says:

    Another comment: Did you write that the woman you chose to represent the Jewish mother has a nanny? Ironic much?

  17. AbbaSez says:

    Chani…you should not fault the filmmakers for choosing to portray an idealized Jewish home…or fault the actual actress for having a nanny…a nice shaitel…etc. There is nothing ostentatious about her and I find her completely relatable.

    More important, although the video casts an attractive wife and mother in a beautiful home with quality furnishings….that was never the focus. These things are merely window dressing – an attractive picture frame for a beautiful painting. And it’s the painting which takes center stage: a loving wife and mother who puts her family before herself.

    We can ALL see ourselves in this woman via her love and devotion to her family – whether we are rich or poor, thin or fat, married or divorced…etc.

    We all dream, on some level, of having a beautiful home, quality goods, a nice figure, well behaved children, a sensitive spouse, etc. To not show an “idealized version” of motherhood is to miss an opportunity to draw people in. As an advertiser, you want attractive actors and props in your commercial – just as you want an attractive package for your product (aesthetically pleasing graphics and colors). By the same token, you want to show a “mother” in her best light. I’m sure that – like us all – this woman yells at her kids…argues with her husband…has sleepless nights…gets ketchup on her white dress…etc. But sowing that would hardly be as touching or poetic, no?

    Lastly, I will say that my wife looks nothing like the woman in this spot…yet I can see her in this film. And, after viewing, I appreciate her and all she does just a little bit more. And despite our messy home, wrinkled shirts (who has time to iron) and dwindling bank account this commercial makes me realize just how beautiful SHE is…and I kinda wanna make her a cup of tea.

  18. […] For another video thanking mothers, check out Shmuel’s video Charlie Harary: Tribute to the Jewish Mother (Wissotzky Tea). […]

  19. […] To see our original post with behind-the-scenes pics of how we made the Jewish Mother video with Charlie Harary for Wissotzky tea, click here. […]

  20. […] 5. Someone in the imamother forum. Check out’s post on it here, and our original posting of the video here. […]

  21. […] you to I Shop for Israel, a great site that lists Israeli products for you to buy, for posting our Tribute to the Jewish Mother video, just in time for Mother’s […]

  22. […] so much to Rabbi Jacobs for posting my press release about the Tribute to the Jewish Mother video Shmuel made with Charlie Harary for Wissotzky Tea via the PTex […]

  23. Rivkah Albinder says:

    Kol hakavod, guys!! As always, you’re impecably professional, creative, and so very pleasant!

  24. […] am awed by the great response we’ve gotten to Shmuel’s Tribute to the Jewish Mother video that he made for Wissotzky Tea with Charlie Harary and PTex Marketing Group.  Here are some […]

  25. Dude says:

    Very nice video and very well finished.

    But with all the details mentioned here, wouldn’t it make sense to mention the inspiration used in the base? The clasic Apple’s “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”.

  26. […] for me with Tom, the person who helps people get started.  I was in a hurry because I needed this advertised for Mother’s Day, and this for Lag Ba’Omer.  She said it would take a few […]

  27. […] see the video on our site, click here.   Share this: Pin ItEmailMoreDiggPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Comments […]

  28. […] his first complex animation, his first video with a more racy theme that made it to MTV, and his first commercial for which we had an actual set, shooting schedule, actors, and a gaffer.  Now his […]

  29. […] would have freaked out, except we had something similar happen during production of A Tribute to The Jewish Mother, and we had found someone at 11PM the night before we had to shoot.  What I learned from that is: […]

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