Rabbi David Bielory, Rebbe at Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael, recently returned from the Torah U'Mesorah convention, where he represented Torah Live. In this guest post, he tells us about his experiences there and as a Torah Live educator for the past seven years.
Check out our previous installments in the educator guest post series: Rabbi David Pietruszka, How I Bring Halacha to Life in My Classroom and Mrs. Raizy Wilk, Competing with Hollywood.
Educators may not realize what an impact videos can make until they use them in the classroom. One year, I watched the Torah Live Tzedakah (charity) video with the younger grades. A week later, one of my most challenging students (the focus of many teachers’ meetings) told me that he actually went to the bank, and opened a tzedakah bank account, and started depositing his maaser (tithes) into the account!
As an educator, I am always searching for new and better ways to inspire my students. Little did I know, almost seven years ago, when Torah Live’s founder Rabbi Dan Roth trained me on the Torah Live software, that I’d be using its videos in elementary school, high school, with adults and in camps around North America.
My high school students at Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael in Chestnut Hill, MA, and I are tremendous fans of the quality and the delivery of Torah Live’s films. It’s just amazing to see how they captivate, inspire and educate on all levels. They have a unique way of presenting the information and engaging the class.
Having represented Torah Live at many Jewish events, like the Agudah Convention, this year I had the opportunity to act as one of the representatives of Torah Live at the Torah U’Mesorah Convention. It was clear that Torah Live has grown in popularity. I felt, “Wow, so many people are familiar with us!”
Specifically, at this event I was greeted enthusiastically by educators who said they loved the Torah Live programming, and “we want more.” We weren’t just introducing the production anymore, we were teaching people who were already familiar with it. We showed them how to use additional features that Torah Live offers – how to take advantage of the dashboard, the tests, and more.
As a high school rebbe, I intentionally use Torah Live films in my curriculum throughout the year, so I was able to give other educators at Torah U’Mesorah suggestions on how to do the same.
This time of year when we’re talking about kavod chaveirim (honoring our friends), we’re using the Shmiras Halashon (guarding our speech) film. When my class learned Meseches Kiddushin, I used the Ribbis (interest) video.
Of course, before Rosh Hashanah and Sukkos I show my classes those holiday programs, and every year Torah Live complements our learning of the Lamed Tes Melachos (39 activities forbidden on Shabbat).
We use Torah Live videos throughout the high school, and the students love them and want more.
Interestingly, the favorite video among the kids is Anger. It’s such an important subject and we don’t teach our kids enough about it. Our students really get a lot out of the film.
I’m still surprised after seven years of using Torah Live programming, how many different circumstances cause students to say, “I remember when we saw that on Torah Live.” I am amazed that Torah Live leaves such a strong and long-lasting impression on their young minds. What an impact it will have on their future as Jews!!