One of the hallmarks of Halachic Judaism is the freedom that is created through the boundaries that following the 613 commandments provide. As our rabbis teach us in Pirkei Avot, "You will not find a freer person than one involved in Torah." Without some guide to structure one's life, one cannot be truly free. One is at the whims of his inclinations and desires. Only by operating within a framework of rules, can one truly shine creatively. Similarly in the arts and sport, it is the structure of the Shakespearean sonnet, fourteen lines of rhymed iambic pentameter, or of Haiku, the five-seven-five syllable pattern; the complex rules of baseball or football, that give one the ability to improvise and develop something that is truly unique and ingenious. This is true for our students as well.
One outlet for student creativity in the 21st century has been video production. However, too often, without the proper direction and structure, student created videos can be less than satisfying. One way to solve this is to give students the ability to create video that follows a very specific structure that has been around since the dawn of film making, stop motion videography. This technique, in which one pieces pictures together frame by frame to make moving images, can be quite tedious, requiring a great amount of patience and persistence. However, it is the set boundaries that this technique provides that allows kids to show off their incredible talent and creativity. As one student remarked, "Creating stop motion video is like making a silent film. Every movement matters."
Our recent Frisch School Shiriyah featured a stop motion video competition. The results were simply incredible. Each grade's video based on their Shiriyah team themes within the framework of the overall theme of this year's Shiriyah, Pathways to Piety, is featured below. Each used its own unique method whether it be people, fruit, Lego, clay, or paper cut-outs, to create a highly original and creative presentation. --Full disclosure: I have a cameo appearance in the sophomore video which was created by my son and his friends.-- Get ready to be wowed by the tremendous talent and creativity unlocked by allowing high school students to utilize this highly structured video method!
Freshman Brachot- Blessings
Sophomore Nezikin- Damages
Junior Pirkei Avot- Ethics of our Fathers
Senior Maaseh Avot Siman Lebanim- The Ways of our Fathers is a Sign for the Children