Why the Jewish Community Needs to Rethink How It Reaches Young Jews

August 20, 2019

Source: eJewish Philanthropy 


At Jerusalem U, we’re creating Jewish- and Israel-related content that younger people will watch. In 2017, we made a strategic decision to expand from our primary focus on feature-length films to also include YouTube. We wanted to offer another portal of entry to our audiences, and began experimenting with YouTube videos as a way of meeting young people in more places where they hang out.

Our decision to focus on YouTube was obvious. It’s the second-largest search engine behind Google and receives over 1.9 billion users each month. Everyday people worldwide watch over one billion hours of video. That’s over 114,000 years of video – daily.

Always ready to make the most of an opportunity, YouTube has created YouTube EDU, a subsection of the site that provides access to over 500,000 educational videos.

Among the providers sharing content are Khan Academy (4.9 million subscribers) and CrashCourse (9.4 million subscribers). One of CrashCourse’s most popular videos is one about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has 6.6 million views.

But where is all the Jewish and Israel content? Why aren’t more organizations sharing their take on Judaism, Jewish history, Israel, the U.S. and global Jewish experience, or countless other subjects?

With UNPACKED, our newly rebranded YouTube channel, we’re working hard to redress the balance and make Jewish content that matters.

Given that kids are watching and absorbing content on the go, with over 70 percent of YouTube viewing coming from mobile devices, we offer easily digestible, but fact-rich short videos covering modern Israeli history. Our History of Israel series is only the beginning. We are launching several new series in 2020 including one about Jewish History. We will continue to execute our strategy of creating a robust online library of relevant Jewish content that will be found through search, YouTube’s most powerful function.

We believe we can capitalize on the greatest period in Jewish history, when every single Jew can access Jewish education without any barriers to entry. A Jew no longer needs to have the privilege of living in a vibrant Jewish community with Jewish infrastructure to learn and be connected to their heritage and history.

While YouTube can’t and shouldn’t replace classroom teachers, it is already democratizing education across the globe and can do the same for Jewish education by reaching young Jews seeking connection and curious about who they are.

Young Jews are already living and learning online. Let’s make sure we provide them something really worth watching.

Read more at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Sep. 11, 2019