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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Kids and teens spend six hours daily online, on average, but nonprofit Jerusalem U says: ‘The Jewish education community is years behind and we need to catch up.’

(Courtesy of Jerusalem U)Jerusalem U, a groundbreaking non-profit media company that aims to connect with young Jews through educational films and videos, is launching a new YouTube channel called “Unpacked,” featuring bite-sized videos that also tell complex, nuanced stories about Israel and Judaism.

“Unpacked,” with its web and mobile-friendly content, aims to bring compelling content about Israel and Judaism to social media and digital channels that reach younger Jews where they live and get informed, starting on YouTube, a landscape Jerusalem U believes the organized Jewish community has largely left unexplored.

“For decades the Jewish community has struggled to reach and teach the growing number of Jews that do not have access or choose not to access traditional Jewish learning opportunities. YouTube—the world’s largest global classroom and the #2 search engine, can change that. YouTube has billions of hours of educational videos being uploaded and viewed every month and it’s where kids are choosing to do most of their learning outside of traditional institutions,” said Jerusalem U’s newly named CEO, Dina Rabhan.

“For the first time in Jewish history, all Jewish knowledge can be made accessible online, and Jerusalem U believes it’s our responsibility to leverage this incredible opportunity and make sure there is quality Jewish learning accessible and available to anyone searching or interested. The Jewish community is years behind and we need to catch up,” she added.

According to Jerusalem U, young people today are digital natives who spend millions of hours globally each day on smartphones, the web and social media to communicate and learn, with young people spending an average of six hours a day online. Meanwhile, 50% of YouTube viewers say they use it to learn or discover new things.

Yet with young Jews increasingly disconnecting from traditional Jewish institutions and accessing whatever Jewish knowledge they can online, “Unpacked” offers them a familiar place to discover their heritage. The “Unpacked” videos aim to answer big questions and untangle complex topics for an always-on audience.

“Not only are young people living online, they also want nuanced and sophisticated information, not just sound bites, tired slogans and well-worn talking points,” said Rabhan.

To propel the “Unpacked” launch, Jerusalem U is encouraging everyone to “take 10” in a campaign that offers to send those who sign up a free weekly video. The campaign says that by spending 10 minutes a week watching the videos, users will get up to speed on modern Israeli history. The first video series includes “The History of Israel Explained,” with 55 episodes. More series are in the production pipeline for 2019 and 2020.

For more details about Jerusalem U and “Unpacked,” please contact Joe Berkofsky, at [email protected].