Latest update: April 9th, 2012
Nowadays, Jewish parents and educators must ask themselves how they can present Torah and mitzvot in a way that speaks to this generation. To many youth today, Judaism’s rich heritage seems outdated, irrelevant and boring.
Together with a team of talented graphic designers and programmers, Torah Live – a unique, multimedia educational organization – has set out to translate the Torah into today’s language. Torah Live’s most recent DVD, “Mezuzah: The Ultimate Connector,” has proved that what may have seemed like an obsolete and uninteresting mitzvah is really an essential tool for teaching the most profound messages of Judaism.
“The mitzvah of mezuzah affects us every time we walk through the door,” Rabbi Dan Roth, founder and director of Torah Live, said. “It is one of the most powerful reminders we have of our purpose in this world.” This 90 minute interactive state-of-the-art presentation has adults and students from across the Jewish world on the edge of their seats from beginning to end.
“Today, people are used to absorbing information in a whole new way,” Rabbi Roth explained. “Technology has changed the way people learn. We need to teach Torah in today’s language so that people can relate to it and show them that it’s of immediate benefit to their lives.” Following in the words of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, Torah Live’s goal is to show that “authentic Judaism . . . does not belong to an antiquated past but to a living, pulsating present…”
Using cutting-edge special effects, coupled with humor and passion, “Mezuzah: The Ultimate Connector” is a comprehensive look at the laws of mezuzah presented through 3-D diagrams, fast-paced videos, and entertaining stories. The presentation begins by discussing the reasons for the mitzvah and then goes all the way from the Biblical source to practical applications, such as how to write a mezuzah, who to buy from, where to place it, and what types of doors are obligated. During the course of the presentation, students travel on the Torah Live “jumbo jet” to a castle in Scotland and to a Jerusalem neighborhood to work out challenging mezuzahquestions using real-life simulations. In addition to the basic version, a pro version for educators is also available, complete with lesson plans, speaker notes, source sheets, a 3-D interactive wall with dozens of real life scenarios, and two versions of the presentation.
“The commentaries explain that the mezuzah is meant to remind us that the only thing eternal is G-d,” Rabbi Roth explains. “Imagine if every time we walked past the doorway we took a moment to ask ourselves where we are going and what we are hoping to accomplish there? Our lives would look completely different. When a person thinks about what life is all about he’s jolted back into place.”
“[Torah Live’s] productions are professionally done and present complex halachic issues in a beautiful way,” Rabbi Yisroel Reisman of Flatbush said. “They leave people with clear halachic rulings in a manner which is easy-to-remember.” Commenting on a mezuzah presentation in his shul, he added that “the biggest complaint people had was that it wasn’t long enough.”
To date, Torah Live has presented over 180 lectures in 50 cities worldwide to the entire spectrum of Orthodoxy – day schools, yeshivas, corporate workplaces, youth groups, kiruv organizations, and educational conferences, including two Torah U’Mesorah Conventions – in what attendants describe as an interactive, entertaining, and lively way. The organization has also begun licensing its materials to yeshivas, schools, and kiruv organizations in the U.S., England, South Africa, and Israel, allowing educators with the training and materials to run the presentations on their own. In addition to mezuzah, Torah Live’s topics include the laws of yichud and Sukkot, as well as achieving happiness, and conquering anger.
The Sukkot DVD – “Sukkot: The Ultimate Shelter” – includes a step-by-step guide to the laws of the arba minim. The DVD is ideal for those who have found choosing a kosher set of lulav and etrog to be difficult. In addition to providing a detailed and clear multi-media guide to the laws of Sukkot, you will also gain a profound insight into the beauty and depth of the message of the holiday. “I’ve gone through several books and guides to the laws of Sukkot in my lifetime,” one viewer said. “This set of videos is by far the most concise and complete guide about the four species that I’ve ever encountered. It made my Sukkot more meaningful than ever imagined!”
“People are no longer looking for meaning. They are looking for meaningful experiences,” senior Gateways lecturer Rabbi Yonason Shippel said. Rabbi Shippel, Torah Live’s New York representative, has been licensed to present Torah Live material at Gateways seminars for both religious and secular audiences. “People are blown away by these presentations and it has had a profound impact on them.”
There are dozens of new topics on Torah Live’s horizon for the next year: Overcoming jealousy, kashrut, and berachot, among many others. “We can do any topic; there’s no end to how far we can go,” Rabbi Roth said. “The Torah has an opinion on all the issues that the world is struggling with today — not only an opinion but a deeper take that’s higher, subtler, and more profound. It’s as relevant today as ever before. Let’s translate the entire Torah into today’s language and make it available globally so that everyone can have access to our rich heritage. Armed with these tools, there’s no end to what we can accomplish.”
To purchase “Mezuzah: The Ultimate Connector” or “Sukkot: The Ultimate Shelter” or to get more information about how to bring Torah Live to your community, synagogue, or school, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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