Aug 30, 2016
Yonah Kirschner

10 Jewish YouTube Channels for Teaching Judaic Studies

We know searching for effective educational videos on YouTube can feel like looking for a needle in an incredibly overwhelming haystack. Add in the Jewish element and we could be talking about grains of sand in an ocean -- but don’t get discouraged! We’ve journeyed through the waves of YouTube for you and found that there are great videos for teaching Jewish history, tradition, life, and culture to a whole range of ages. Whether you’re ready to try out flipping the classroom this year, or just want to change up your lessons, both you and your students will benefit from these Jewish YouTube channels.

Aleph Beta
For videos to teach the weekly parasha, this channel is the place to be -- there are three different parasha video playlists. If you really want students to dig deep into question raised by the Torah, then you’ll also love the videos here. As the videos progress move through concepts quickly, we’d recommend them for advanced middle school and high school students.

Hebrew Children's Songs
One of the most important elements of learning Hebrew is actually hearing the language. Though this link doesn’t go to a particular YouTube channel, the search brings up many different playlists filled with songs that contain elementary Hebrew vocabulary. Your students will be able to hear the words they’re learning, and the songs will help you create Hebrew lessons serving multiple intelligences.

Every time I visit, I’m impressed by how much information is on the site and that it’s all easy to read and understand. Fortunately, the same can be said of their YouTube channel, which has clear, explanatory videos for various Jewish traditions and rituals that would make excellent introductions to concepts or units in your classroom. Students could also watch the videos as a form of review or to supplement their learning on a particular topic.

This official channel of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute will interest middle school and high school educators. If Navi is part of your curriculum, you’ll want to check out the Strength & Struggle playlist, which has a series of animated videos detailing the historical context of the lives of six different biblical prophets. Another playlist to add to your teaching toolbox is called Judaism Decoded: The Origins and Evolution of Jewish Tradition.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Britain’s former Chief Rabbi is renowned for his eloquent speaking. Thanks to his official YouTube channel, your students will be able to learn directly from Rabbi Sacks without having to cross the Atlantic. High school students can study and analyze his public speeches as well as watch the Covenant & Conversation series to supplement their learning on the weekly parasha. To help students get into the High Holiday mindset, you could also have them study the Preparing for the New Year series.

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
The largest Jewish film festival in the world, their YouTube channel will not disappoint. There are dozens of movie trailers, as well as short films, that students can watch and analyze. High school teachers will find this channel particularly useful to spark deeper conversations among their students about Jewish life, culture, and peoplehood.

This new animated kids series is wonderful. Each video teaches a specific Jewish value through the storyline. Right now there are five episodes, and more are on the way! Though the series is marketed to families, and each episode comes with a parent video guide, teachers will find all the content classroom appropriate and can get ideas for further lessons and activities from the guide videos. Shaboom! is destined to become a favorite among early childhood educators.

Shalom Sesame
This YouTube channel is a true treasure trove of educational videos for young learners. Playlists include videos for teaching the Aleph-Bet, Hebrew numbers, Shabbat, holidays, biblical stories, the Jewish calendar, and much more. Early childhood educators can show the videos in class or have parents watch with their children at home to prepare the students for the next day’s lesson.

USC Shoah Foundation
This channel is an excellent resource to supplement your Holocaust curriculum and is especially useful for teaching about Auschwitz -- one playlist contains 70 survivor testimonies, all from Auschwitz. Teachers can also broaden their focus using this channel, which has video testimonies of the Armenian Genocide.

Yad Vashem
This channel is essential for any educator teaching about the Holocaust. There are survivor testimonies from various European Jewish communities and basic videos about the Holocaust in historical context as well as educational videos for teachers to learn how to use Yad Vashem’s many resources in the classroom.

Yonah Kirschner, former Project Manager, Digital Content and Communications at The Jewish Education Project.

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