1. How has your organization, G-dcast, capitalized on social media?
We have always posted our videos to Youtube and Facebook for free use and comments, plus we tweet about the parsha a few times a week. It's really paid off, as many, many people embed the videos on their own Facebook pages or Twitter streams and we see a very significant piece of our traffic coming in through those channels. People hear about G-dcast through their friends, which is a great cost-effective way for us to get the word out. We also love the way that people discuss the parsha in these comment threads and on each others' Facebook pages.

2. How did you conceive of the idea to start G-dcast?
Basically, I heard a wild story one evening about a man who buried his own leg. It was a diabetes-related amputation, and as it turned out, he was following a very Jewish burial custom about preserving all the parts of the body in one place that is discussed at length in Talmud and other places.

To me, at the time, this was entirely new. I thought, “What? That’s Jewish? Who knew?!” and embarked on a two week research project that took me to a rabbi, a funeral director and a pile of Jewish texts. It was the most Jewish learning I’d done in a decade. And I realized, as a media producer, that this story was a powerful opportunity. Presented as an animation (a medium it seemed custom-made for) it might trigger less engaged viewers to try out some Jewish learning as well.

I partnered with a writer and animator to explore the idea of teaching Jewish ideas through funny little films. We decided to start with the Bible. G-dcast secured pilot funding two years later and launched in 2008 with 55 short films and Teachers’ Guides. We are making "the leg film" this winter!

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
I am so excited to spend time in person with the actual people out there working with youth. We make films for kids and teens but we spend so much time in the studio sitting at our computers and at mixing boards, etc, that we rarely get to hang out with the people who are actually using these programs to make an impact on young people! Working with educators and kids energizes me so much - I learn so much everytime and always return to my creative process with dozens of new ideas. I remember everyone's faces when I go back to work, and  make newer, better stuff thanks to the opportunity to connect.

Sarah Lefton is the Founding Director of G-dcast, a fusion of a publishing career (The New York Times, etc), and a passion for Jewish community building (Camp Tawonga, JCCSF, Mission Minyan.) Her last startup was JewishFashionConspiracy, home of the YO SEMITE and JEWS FOR JETER tee shirts.

Sarah was named one of the Forward 50 most influential Jews of 2009, and is a recipient of the Joshua Venture Group fellowship for Jewish social entrepreneurs. She was a guest of the Obamas at the White House Jewish Heritage Month reception.

See her videos at www.g-dcast.com


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