BimBam to Close This Spring After 11 Amazing Years as a Jewish Digital Storytelling Pioneer
Award-winning content to remain online at ReformJudaism.org to continue sparking connections to Judaism and to inspire the next generation of Jewish Digital Storytellers
Oakland, CA – Today, BimBam (founded as G-dcast) announced it will end active operations this spring after 11 years of creating groundbreaking Jewish content online. Its library of over 400 original videos will remain online as the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) will integrate nearly all of BimBam’s content into its website.
Founded by Sarah Lefton in 2008, BimBam was inspired by her self-education journey as an adult who grew up with a frustratingly minimal Jewish literacy. With a background in media production and advertising, Sarah decided to share her Jewish learning experiences online, through short animated videos featuring teachers, rabbis, and artists she admired. Through the use of animation and live-action storytelling, BimBam and its ground-breaking content won numerous awards. The team traveled the country to inspire the next generation of Jewish content creators.
“The Internet is where people learn things these days,” said Sarah Lefton, founder of BimBam. “The data tells us that children under 8 spend an average of 2 hours and 19 minutes a day in front of screens, and adults obviously even more so. We made high quality, accurate, and really engaging work for kids and adults and we’re so proud of what we accomplished in developing and elevating a new form of Jewish education,” she added.
Key among BimBam’s accomplishments are:
- Creating the original cartoon series Shaboom! made for 4–7 year-olds and their parents. It teaches everyday Jewish values like welcoming guests, expressing gratitude, and visiting the sick, to tens of thousands of children.
- The building of a library of “Judaism 101” content for young adults – to help open the world of Judaism – rituals, prayers and texts – in an easy-to-consume and understand way. In fact, 43% of BimBam’s viewers are between the ages of 18-34 years old.
- Animation of the entire Torah with at least 1 video for every Torah portion, plus huge swaths of the Hebrew Bible from Joshua to Esther to Psalms, including a brand new King David series
- Groundbreaking artists’ beit midrashes for rabbis and art students, who co-created videos with us on the Talmud, Jewish law and everyday prayer.
- Working with over 5,000 Jewish educators in every setting to make their content available.
- Innovating the use of social media through the Yom Kippur themed e-Scapegoat
- Practicing radical generosity in sharing out content widely through partners to maximize their reach.
“The BimBam library is rich, entertaining, and welcoming to everyone who wants to learn more about Judaism, and we’re honored that ReformJudaism.org will make that content available to the most people,” said Rabbi Rick Jacobs, URJ President. “Many Reform educators, clergy, and creative talent contributed to these superb videos which are powerful tools and conversation-starters for all audiences including individuals of all ages and backgrounds, families with young children, and the Reform movement’s network of educators and youth professionals to share with their students.”
BimBam’s accomplishments are staggering. They include:
- over 22 million minutes of watchtime on YouTube (cumulative 42 years)
- More than 400 original videos created
- 11 million views on YouTube
- Awards from philanthropy and community organizations
Outgoing BimBam Executive Director Jordan Gill summed up the transition saying, “Jewish education is a core mission of our peoplehood. We sought to make digital storytelling accessible to Jews looking to learn more about who they were and their heritage. BimBam always pushed the envelope to try new ways to engage. We are pleased that the content will live on through ReformJudaism.org and inspire the next generation of Jewish digital storytellers.”
In putting the closure of Bimbam into a larger context, Sarah Lefton added, “People engage with media all day long, but it’s rare in today’s screen-filled world that we pay for that media. BimBam has been blessed with extremely generous donors and friends for 11 years but we were unable to sustain our budget at a size that would let us produce high-quality content without compromising our approach. Our board spent about a year analyzing various ways we could tweak our business model or combine forces with partners, and decided unanimously that the best path forward was an asset pledge to a larger organization that we love and trust.”
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