Rabbi Dan Roth

Where are you from? What’s your background?

I’m a regular yeshiva kollel guy from London. After Kerem B’Yavneh in Israel, I moved onto the Mir. Before creating Torah Live, I had no professional background in animation, video, technology — I got into it unusually.

Tell us the story behind Torah Live and what motivated you to found it.

Sixteen years ago, I taught Pirkei Avos at Ohr Sameach. I was excited after spending three years writing this book (Relevance: Pirkei Avos to the 21st Century, Feldheim). The class itself? Disaster! The kids walked out of the room, texting — and totally disinterested.

It was the worst day of my life. 

I felt like quitting, but had to come back the next day. The pressure was mounting. I had 5 kids at home and had trouble sleeping.

Then Hashem opened up a new world. He put this idea in my head that I had to find a new language. I realized: I had to speak to kids on their bandwidth.

I taught myself C4D, SketchUp, Premiere Pro, video and sound effects. Those same kids who couldn’t sit through a single lecture were glued to their seats.

It wasn’t Torah Live back then — just Dan Roth trying to keep his day job. With a lot of siyata dishmaya, it’s been growing and growing.

What is Torah Live — and why do today’s kids need this platform?

Torah Live is an interactive online learning platform that brings Torah alive. We have hundreds of videos that explain Jewish themes from brachos and Shabbos, to Emuna, Tefilla, Honoring Parents, Friendship and Patience.  We create videos in superb professional quality because kids expect a high entertainment level. 

Tell us about Torah Live’s impact.

Over the last few years, we’ve had 1.8 million video views and 130,000 active users. Over 10 million dollars have been invested to produce hundreds of videos — and our website.

93% of teachers rated the video quality as excellent/above average.* 

84% of parents say Torah Live teaches their children about Judaism while having fun.

Our videos are showcased on YidFlicks, Toveedo — and even El Al Airlines. At first, we gave El Al three hours of content. Today  they have 11 hours of content and 7,500+ views every few months.

Sounds like a lot to handle. Who else is on the Torah Live team?

We’ve built a tremendous team with 7 full-time employees and 52 freelancers- script writers, editors, producers, sound mixers and special effect artists. Before we broach any topic, our research team learns the sugyas to ensure accuracy and clarity. And our Nasi — our President — is HaRav Yitzchak Berkovits, shlita; all piskei halacha go through him.

Producing these videos and building this platform must cost a lot of money. How is Torah Live funded?

95% is funded by generous people globally who believe in our mission and care about Jewish education. 5-10% comes from subscriptions.

What advice do you have for parents who want to make Torah exciting?

To get children excited about Judaism, parents must be authentically excited. Children need to see the joy their parents have for mitzvos and their happiness to do chesed.

How can people access Torah Live, or participate in Torah Live events?

Head to TorahLive.com and sign up to watch the videos — they’re free. 

If you want bells and whistles — games, quizzes, avatars, and earn “dinarim” (virtual coins  for mitzvos) and submit your own creative content for prizes — we offer an annual subscription of $90. 

According to Rav Berkovits’s psak, maaser money may be used for the subscription, as every dollar goes to making more videos and content. We’d love to create content on every halacha, hashkafa, middah tovah. We’re bursting with video ideas to produce and funding is holding us back. $90 gives your family annual access to amazing features and enables us to make more videos.

Tell us about the Torah Quest. Why was Baltimore chosen first?

Torah Quest is Torah Live’s first community-wide Torah scavenger hunt. We start at Seven Mile Market or at Shaarei Zion at 1 P.M. on Sunday June 25th.  

Participants get a map with riddles to solve, leading to a grand carnival at the Park Heights JCC— earning prizes and cool swag. 

We’re premiering Torah Quest in Baltimore because thanks to the generosity of Dr. Paul Volosov, Baltimore is the first Torah Live city. 7 years ago, Dr. Volosov sponsored access to Torah Live for every school in Baltimore. 

With Hashem’s help, this event will be successful and we’ll keep going to Toronto, Miami, Los Angeles, NYC, and around the world.

Where do we sign up for Torah Quest?

It’s easy and free! Sign up at torahlive.com/torahquest. I’ll be there Sunday June 25th — and look forward to seeing you in person.

*2019 independent survey by MSL consulting.

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