Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah, is the perfect time to study Torah with a friend, a family member, or even a celebrity!

At Sefaria, we decided to find some well-known people to study Torah with, record the interviews, and share it with the Sefaria community. You can see how it all turned out by signing up to receive exciting new content in our Torah Talks: Shavuot collection.

The experience of learning a text, studying it with someone else and recording the conversation is one that your students can also participate in.

Learning the Text

Depending on the level of your students, you can decide how you want your students to learn the main text.

  • Choose one text for the entire class and learn it together.
  • Choose a few texts and break the students into smaller groups to learn their text together.

Use whatever techniques you are used to using for teaching a new text.

If students are going to be working with a text that they have already learned, you can skip this preparatory step.

Building a Torah Talk Project

Before you begin, you will have to make two big decisions.

  1. Who would you like your students to learn with? Some possibilities are:
    • A friend or or classmate.
    • A relative
    • A well-known person in the community
    • A friend who is taking the role of a truly famous person. (Students can pick a favorite actor, singer, athlete, etc)
  2. What would you like your students to learn? Some suggestions are:

Preparing for the interview

Once the groups are chosen and the texts have been learned, it is time to prepare for the interview.

  1. Each student, or student pair, should have a Sefaria sheet that they will be working with.
    • If you are using texts that are in the Shavuot Torah Project or Torah Talk - School Edition collections, students can copy the sheets.
    • If you are using texts of your choosing, make a sheet with the text(s) which your students can copy.
  2. Students add questions that they would like to ask their partner about the text. The questions can start with basic comprehension questions and move into larger, thematic questions.
  3. If students are interviewing each other, they should decide who will be the interviewer and who will be interviewed.

The Interview

Students can use any type of video recorder to record their video. When they finish recording, they should upload it to YouTube.

Some things to keep in mind are:

  • Provide the students with a somewhat quiet place to work.
  • Suggest a length of time for the recording, perhaps around 10 minutes, and an amount of time to complete the interview, perhaps around 20 minutes.

When the interview is completed, students add their recording to their sheet.

Sharing their Work

Students can upload their sheets to Padlet or other sharing platforms that you use. You can also create a collection for all of the student sheets.

Provide time for the students to listen to each other's interviews.

Share the sheets with parents or the school community by sending the URL of the collection or Padlet board in an email or LMS.