December 11th, 2009
12:27 PM ET

50on50: The Bible on the Demo


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/11/art.50on50.rabbi.jpg caption="Rabbi Michael Beyo."]

Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

Yesterday it was a Nobel Laureate emailing me with ammunition here to take down the 18-49 year old “demo.”

Today, the clergy is beginning to weigh in.

This is what Rabbi Michael Beyo emailed me.

“God understood very well that the 18-49 age demographic is not the real important one, but that the older people are the true demographic to follow.”

How does Rabbi Beyo know this? What evidence does he believe God provides?

I’m glad you asked.

Rabbi Beyo:

“God, in His infinite knowledge – (and in this case we can say His infinite Marketing knowledge) – knew very well how to market to the world His message and His teachings.”

Here’s a sampling of the Biblical messages chosen by Rabbi Beyo that relate to the ultimate demo.

Isaiah 46:4 “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Proverbs 16:31 “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.”

Leviticus 19:32 “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly.”

Job 32:7 “Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.”

Psalms 92:14 "They shall still bring forth fruit in old age."

Job 12:12 (NASB) "Wisdom is with aged men, With long life is understanding.”

Calling All Clergy

I hope this serves as a calling to all clergy, from all faiths, to join my campaign to dismantle the 18-49 demo.

But first, I must ask myself, why should I trust Rabbi Beyo on this matter? After all, he admits he’s only 37.

This is where Beyo’s Biography sheds light on my efforts to create A NEW DEMO FOR A NEW AGE. His life story - the experiences he's packed into his 37 years, suggests that the NEW DEMO should transcend chronological age. There is room for members of the old, worn out 18-49 demo. But no way is the cutoff point going to be 49.

Honor Thy Father

When Rabbi Beyo was a boy, growing up in the Italian city of Milan, his father was a toy manufacturer. He created a manufacturing process to deconstruct plastic toys so their pieces could fit into small hollow chocolates, and be reassembled without glue by the lucky children who received them.

The surprise these children received upon opening these chocolates though could not compare to the surprise Michael Beyo had in store for his father when his father demanded he delay his college education to first pursue formal Rabbinical training.

Delaying the Inevitable

“My father was worried that if I went to a regular college I’d no longer be in a protected environment. Bad things could happen. Fear was in his mind.” Who knew what the young Michael Beyo would be exposed to in college.

“So my father said he wouldn’t pay for any education unless I first became an ordained Rabbi.”

Very clever on his father’s part. Becoming an ordained Rabbi typically takes as long as five to seven years of study. That would be five to seven years of sheltering his son in a Yeshiva, a Jewish religious school, before he’d be exposed to the world at large.

You can imagine his father's reaction when, in 1992, 11 months after entering Rabbinical school in Israel, Michael Beyo got on the one pay phone in his school, called his father back in Italy, and gave him the good news. “Today I got my smicha.” His rabbinical ordination. Five years of study finished in less than one.

His stunned father responded in Italian: “Da dove l’hai comprata?” Where did you buy it from?

Honor Thy Son

Michael Beyo bought his Rabbinical degree with the currency of intensive study. “In my good times, I’d study between 15 and 18 hours a day.” His father accepted his son’s news (after verifying it with the supervising Rabbi) and congratulated him. The Father Honored his Son as well as the bargain he made – and went on to pay for Rabbi Beyo to go to college.

Rabbi Beyo went on to receive an undergraduate degree in political science and two masters’ degrees – one in political science, the other in Jewish history. He now develops renewable energy projects, primarily in Europe and the Middle East. He teaches Hebrew on the side. He published a book in Italian – a conversation between himself, a man of faith, and his good friend, a man of science, on the ethical challenges of our time.

And he’s been kind enough to use the fruit of his 18 hour study days to give me some important Biblical support for my premise that the 18-49 demo is not what the source of “Infinite Marketing Knowledge” would have had in mind.

I’m beginning to drown in evidence supporting my case.

The evidence from The Bible suggests this.

Perhaps A NEW DEMO FOR A NEW AGE understates what I’m about to achieve.

Perhaps I’m close to uncovering: THE CHOSEN DEMO.


Follow Michael Schulder's battle against getting kicked out of the 18-49 demo here

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