From the Meriam-Webbster Dictionary:
in·fo·tain·ment; Pronunciation: \ˌin-(ˌ)fō-ˈtān-mənt\; Function: noun
Etymology: information + entertainment; Date: 1980: a television program that presents information (as news) in a manner intended to be entertaining.
From Zion, however,”shall go forth the law, and the word of haShem from Jerusalem,” so whereas television brought us infotainment, the Jewish people surely prioritizes studitainment, of the etymology study”entertainment.
Bridging the gap between learning and leisure, particularly for children (but also for adults) who have not yet developed all requisite autodidactic skills, comes Animated Talmud.
Five years in the making, animatedtalmud.com is a virtual learning experience, designed to capture the attention of today’s children, who are constantly inundated with color and excitement, by using a media they are already attracted to. Animated Talmud required the skills of a team of artists, animators, full scripts and a narrator, resulting in a beautiful website … Funded exclusively by donations, Animated Talmud is completely free because, in Goldstein’s words, “it was a labor of love, not something to be making money on.”
While Goldstein’s original plan was to animate selected perakim in Gemara that younger children might be learning in school starting with Eilu Metzios, numerous educators told him that before delving into the intricacies of the Talmud, children needed to first understand the basics. Volume One of Animated Talmud, “Introduction to the Talmud”, contains fifteen short lessons with over one hundred minutes of animation, describing how Mishnayos and Gemara came to be written down, the history of the Talmud, basic Gemara terminology, how pages are laid out in a Gemara and how they were first printed, among many other fascinating lessons. (Source: VosIzNeias)
I wish I had had this when I started studying Talmud. My first year was particularly bewildering, as I had not the slightest inkling of the historical, social and functional context of Talmud. It was like learning how to calibrate gears and put together an engine without either seeing one in action or knowing it can be used to drive cars and heavy machinery.
While I take issue with some factual errors and anachronistic artistic liberties, mostly but not exclusively related to the costumes depicted, R’ Goldstein reacted very positively to a detailed critique of the first clip, and I am confident the program will become even more excellent than it already is. Meanwhile, I showed it to my kids, who loved it.