My name is Tzvi Lebetkin, and I’m the founder of Achdus Entertainment.
I’ve always LOVED comic books, so it’s really not that surprising that I ended making my living in the funny books business.
Why is it that I love comic books so much? The truth is I really don’t know. Maybe it’s that kinetic fusion of dynamic art married with great stories taking place on larger than life canvases.
What’s not to like? (although my wife can’t stand reading them).
What’s at the core of great comic books though are great stories. Stories that carry strong ethical points, whilst entertaining us at the same time.
I mean, sure – they have superheroes, and monsters and aliens and robots and spaceships and all that cool stuff too, but they’re just window dressing to help digest the core of the stories, which are in essence morality plays.
So, one day I was reading a comic book where all these disparate superheroes join together to save the world, and put aside their differences and egos to work together, and I lament to myself that If only the Jewish people could just do that – we’d change the world forever. We’d bring Moshiach (The Messiah) overnight, and before we knew it we’d all be eating the Korban Pesach (The Pascal Lamb sacrifice, which I’m pretty sure will resemble a Shwarma) together.
And in that moment Achdus Entertainment was born.
Well, not really – that was three and a half years ago now, and there’s been an truly unbelievable amount of work between then and now to make this a reality.
But that was the moment when Achdus Entertainment was born.
There’s a discussion in the Talmud about when the world was created – was it in the days before Nissan (Spring), when our calendar begins, or was it in days before Tisrie (Fall), when the new year begins. And an answer I’ve always liked is they’re both true – the world was created as a conception in Tisrei and then born as an actuality in Nissan.
An important question I always try and ask myself is, ‘So what, who cares?’, which was a question taught to me by Rabbi Aryeh Leib Nivin, who developed the an online/teleconference system of running Chaburahs for personal growth (you can learn more about them from here https://www.newchabura.com/) .
Anyhoo – So what, who cares when the world was created? What does that mean for you and me? And the answer I’m going to pull out from the Arizal is this; On Rosh Hashannah and the rest of the yomim nori’im (High Holy Days) we create our new year in potential. We spend the preceding month of Elul introspecting, and making plans for the coming year. We take stock of ourselves and think about what areas of life we need to work on. Most primarily we ask our selves what is it we want from the coming year, and what Hashem wants from us.
And from that process of introspection, planning and tefilah our din (fate) for the upcoming year is written and sealed.
But it’s not until Pesach that our year is born, after diligently working on that plan for the year for the previous six months since Rosh Hashannah.
The reason I like this is because is it’s always been confusing to me how we get our fate for our year decreed and sealed during the High Holidays. What happens if, after the best of intentions, and a perfect High Holiday season, you just choose to not follow through on your plans, and (chas v’shalom) spend the rest of the year not following through or living up to those plans?
Like, can you fool Hashem (G-d) into writing you into the book of life, and health and happiness – and then go off and do what you want as soon as it’s sealed?
Of course not! And of course Hashem is outside of time and space and sees what your acts will be for the coming year, when we don’t.
But beyond that nothing can ever be created without two elements: Inspiration and hard work.
Rosh Hashannah is the inspiration. It’s where we set up what direction we aspire to go on. From the High Holidays until Pesach is the time of hard work, and finally by Pesach we get to see the year we created.
So, Achdus entertainment was born three and a half years ago as an idea. But in terms of it being a practical reality that you can hold in your hands – that’s just happening now.
I hope you’re going to stay with me for the ride – to see where we’re going.
What permeates all the stories we’re going to be telling is the Achdus of Am Yisrael (unity of the Jewish people). And Achdus Am Yisrael isn’t just for the Jews who have the same outlook as us, or the Jews we agree with. But most importantly it’s for the Jews who are distant from us. (Which is why I’ve been translating some of the more traditionally religious terms throughout this post – who knows who’s reading it, and everyone is welcome).
As I’m writing this, a few weeks ago 11 Jews were murdered in a Pittsburgh synagogue on Shabbat. These Jews were not like me in many, many important ways – religiously, politically, geographically.
But, so what, who cares?
And to Am Yisrael’s credit, no one did – we mourned and we wept as one.
We, as a people have serious disagreements – going down as deep as to the fundamental nature of reality.
But, so what, who cares?
Hashem doesn’t. The mitzvah of Ahavas Yisrael doesn’t carry with it any caveats as far as I’m aware. It doesn’t hang on if a person spells Achdus with an ’S’ or a ’T’ at the end. It doesn’t make any distinctions of skin color, or language, or ethnicity beyond the simple fact of your mother being Jewish. It doesn’t care what hat or kippah you wear or don’t wear, or of you’re shomer mitzvos and shomer Shabbos. It doesn’t even matter what the quality of character is.
And that’s not too say all those things aren’t important – because they are.
But what’s more important is to put these differences into the context that Hashem has commanded us to do with the mitzvah of Ahavas Yisrael.
And that’s the driving message of Achdus Entertainment.
To see beyond our differences and focus on what unites us, because if you look at people with an ayin tov (A positive outlook that people are essentially good – boy that was a hard one to translate), you’ll see there’s just so much more there than you’d ever think possible.
That, and y’know – the superheroes, and monsters and aliens and robots and spaceships an’ stuff!
So, as I said – I hope you stay with me for the ride, because we’ve got so many great stories to tell you all! There’s Chacham Chinom, and the Anshei Haknesset Hasmuyah, and Zroozim, and the Techeilet wars, and the Red Crescent, and the last Amalake, and…and…and…just so much more!
So, join me…and JOIN THE ADVENTURE!!!!