The Torah Oscars
No need to pass the envelope. To this judge, there is not much of a contest. The clear winner in multiple categories is Torah Live.
We in the Torah world are hardly Luddites. But because we are rooted in a strong culture with built-in anchors and protection, we don’t get swept along quite as quickly as others. This means that it often takes time before we awaken to the true import of cultural changes around us.
Many of us still do not grasp how much the shift to visual (as opposed to textual) learning has been for anyone under fifty. Even those of us who are eager to try new techniques find that we can’t compete with the sheer sophistication of what is available in general culture – the stuff to which our students unconsciously compare the best of our presentations.
Dan Roth is a creative genius, nothing less. He has married that genius to the Torah sophistication of a true ben Torah with years in the Mir and semicha. It would be an understatement to call his full library of presentations cutting edge. They are beyond cutting edge. They are so good, that they compete effortlessly with the best special effects, the best mix of sight and sound, the best techniques of audience interaction out there. He is also about as far as a stodgy stick-in-the-mud as you can get. He is darned funny! He keeps it light without sacrificing an iota of depth and complexity.
I was exposed to his material on the way out of the AJOP Convention, but making his acquaintance may have been one of the most important things I carried away from it. I became an instant convert. I would ordinarily write much more, but after viewing his promo I feel thoroughly self-conscious in comparing the power of mere words to the electrifying experience he provides students form elementary school to adult. Anyone who has any connection to Jewish education on any level needs to learn about what he is doing, and how it leads Torah education intrepidly into new ways of conveying eternal truths.