What I do

I post 60-second curated videos by various speakers about Jewish ideas. The videos are about a variety of timely topics, posted on a daily to weekly basis, and they’re all about 60-seconds long. The goal is to reveal the beauty and ancient wisdom of Judaism to Jews around the world, one drop, or video, at a time.

How I got started
Whenever I watched or listened to an amazing Torah class online, I’d have an urge to share it with family or friends who aren’t observant, to inspire them with our Torah’s great wisdom, to reach out and spread the light. Imagine a 45-minute class that thoroughly proves the divinity of the Torah. This is amazing! I’d think to myself. I’ll send this to my cousin, he could really benefit from it. But will he even watch it? I’m more interested in him watching it than he is, and to top it off, he doesn’t have 45 minutes to spare! I thought, if we can package valuable life lessons with a Torah message in 60-second videos, complete with an enticing title, we can surely make Hashem’s Torah easily accessible to all. After all, who doesn’t have 60 seconds to spare? Short videos are easy to watch, fun to share, and they fit into everyone’s schedule!

Taking action
As the Pele Yoetz says, the present is like the blink of an eye — “k’heref ayin” — a fleeting moment. I didn’t waste time once my idea solidified; I quickly bought a domain name, got hosting, installed a content management system, downloaded a simple template, designed a logo and some graphics, set up some social media channels, and started sharing Torah with others. DropsOfLightProject.com launched last May, and there’s broad appeal — there are more than a thousand subscribers so far, watching regularly and sharing with their friends. Of course, one 60-second video in and of itself won’t change the world, but each drop adds up, and they can eventually penetrate the heart. Think about the story of Rabi Akiva: If small drops of water can penetrate a rock, surely small drops of Torah can penetrate the heart.

My speakers
For my first speaker, I reached out to Rabbi Akiva Teichtal, a Tel-Aviv born English-speaking rabbi. He loved my idea and was happy to contribute, he was my first drop of light. I live in Ramat Beit Shemesh, where we have an unlimited arsenal of scholarly speakers, rabbis, professionals, amazing people who are happy to participate. I film rabbis, professionals, people who simply have a nice Torah idea that they want to share. I’ve filmed myself a couple of times, and even some friends. I don’t limit it to local people, though, if the speaker is based in the US or abroad, they film themselves and send me the file — Rabbi Bentzion Shafier and Rabbi Yoel Gold did that. I do the video editing and upload it across all channels. And it benefits everyone! For observant Jews, it’s short-and-sweet Torah insights. For nonobservant Jews, it’s a gateway to Judaism. And for the speakers, it’s a stage for zikui harabim, and an opportunity to get their name out there.

My viewers
I wish I knew more about them! What I do know is either when I receive direct feedback — e-mails, comments — from the viewers themselves, and the stats I can pull from various tracking methods. More than 60 percent of my viewers are from the US, Canada, and Israel, and the rest are spread across the globe from the UK, South Africa, Australia, the Netherlands, Brazil, Germany, France, even the Philippines, and more. More than 80 percent of viewers are older than 35. And based on the e-mails and comments feedback, I know it’s a mix of all types of Jews, from nonobservant to Orthodox.

Most challenging part about running this
Not knowing what video is on deck for upcoming weeks. I’ve set a schedule, I post Monday and Wednesday 2 p.m. Israel time, and I’ll occasionally throw in a video on the parshah before Shabbat. The challenge is correspondence can take time, from when the speaker expresses interest until we actually meet and film. When I reach out to a speaker, they often agree on the spot, they love the idea and agree to contribute a video message or two. But then we have to find a time that works for both of us, a good location, and the right message to deliver. I’m not complaining; many speakers are quick to respond and quick to act, timing works out beautifully, and once we meet, we shoot several videos at once, which I can distribute over time. It’s great when that works out!

Equipment I always have on me
A comb and a timer. Well, not really, but I should! I need the comb because the camera picks up the small details, and it’s important that the speaker is presentable on the video, and the timer because it helps the speaker know that 60 seconds is almost up. Back when I started, I used to carry my camera and wireless mic everywhere I went, just in case I bump into the next potential speaker — spontaneous shooting can actually come out surprisingly well. Okay, I’m exaggerating, not everywhere, but often; it helped kick-start the conversation, but most people like time to prepare, so it didn’t usually work out. These days I’ll still occasionally bring my camera when I know that a potential speaker will be there. I remember doing it with Rabbi Fischel Schachter, Rabbi Dovid Kaplan, Rabbi Yom Tov Glaser, and Rabbi Gavriel Friedman, also known as Rav Gav. I knew the day that they were scheduled to be in my neighborhood, so I tracked down their phone numbers and got in touch. I showed up to the lecture hall with my camera that same evening, and after the lecture, I approached them. They officially agreed to it, and I filmed them on the spot. These are the type of speakers that don’t need much time to prepare, they’re filled with words of wisdom and inspiration — it’s up to us to get it out of them.


IN BRIEF

By the numbers

1 number of years in operation

44 speakers that have been featured

170 approximate number of videos that have been filmed and posted

1,171 followers and subscribers

124,592 minutes of content watched


Stats
Most-watched video: The Secret of the Cherubim Most-shared video: What is the Secret to Israel’s Success, Then and Now Most-collaborative video: A Message to the Jewish People.

One day back in March, I went around spontaneously asking friends and coworkers, “If you could tell your Jewish brothers one thing, what would it be?” I filmed 13 people and put together this 60-second video-collage of the responses, which I released just before Pesach. It was fun, and the outcome was very positive. (Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 678)