Jewish History Series

 

PROJECT BRIEF: 20 part video series spanning Jewish history

One of the many videos in this series

My Roles: Wrote scripts, recruited and directed team

 

Developing the Idea

 
Illustration by Stu Sufrin

Illustration by Stu Sufrin

Three years before this was made, I wanted to make a single video covering the history of the Jews from the destruction of the second temple leading up to right before the Holocaust.

My boss, feeling it was too ambitious and no one would care to watch, called this video, “Jeremy’s Folly.”

In time, it grew and expanded to a desire to make a series of twenty videos, each covering roughly a hundred years of history in five minute segments.

 
 

Proposed Video List

After talking with many educators and scholars, I arrived at this final video list. I’ve already made the seven videos with check marks. The years on the left roughly correspond with the centuries discussed in the videos, but many span multiple centuries.

After talking with many educators and scholars, I arrived at this final video list. I’ve already made the seven videos with check marks. The years on the left roughly correspond with the centuries discussed in the videos, but many span multiple centuries.

 
 

I managed to make seven of the twenty videos before the company closed and still hold on to the dream of one day finishing this series.

Writing the Scripts

I travelled to Northwestern University and did a series of interviews with various experts. I’d previously done intense research on the subjects, as otherwise conversations tended to become so wide ranging, they were impossible to contain into five minutes.

 
Illustration by Stu Sufrin

Illustration by Stu Sufrin

Start of Hasidic Judaism script, based off of conversation with Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern

Start of Hasidic Judaism script, based off of conversation with Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern

 

Scouting Talent & Managing the Production

 

Illustration & Animation

 

Video in the series

Stu Sufrin did most of the visuals. He was someone we found five years back, when we ran a one week intensive artist in residency program for college students.

Recruiting people for that program is its own story.

 
 

Video in the series

Stu’s not only incredibly talented, he was also passionate about the subject matter, which goes a long way.

 
 

Music

 
 

The musician, Elijah Aaron, is someone I also absolutely love. We go back many years, when he submitted a song to a contest I ran.

 
 

Elijah’s song from the 2013 contest.

 

Impact

 

Anecdotally, I’ve had many teachers write me saying how helpful these videos were in teaching the subjects, and how nothing like this has ever existed before. The videos are getting tens of thousands of views, which is a great start.