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In the mid-1990s, Taking the MTV Challenge was developed by a team that included a psychiatrist, rabbis and Jewish educators, who viewed some 150 hours of the worst - and best - that TV has to offer. The initial 150 hours were distilled into 45 minutes. These 45 minutes were further distilled into 15 trigger tapes to be used in 17 sessions, with comprehensive lesson plans developed by the team.
Today, along with trigger clips, Taking the MTV Challenge includes a teacher's manual containing over 25 detailed lesson plans. Each lesson plan not only guides participants in deconstructing the video messages, it also provides classical Jewish texts that either contrast with or confirm the values that flow from the clips. Over 100 traditional texts are studied by the participants in this innovative process.
The newly re-designed, cutting-edge twenty-first century version of Taking the MTV Challenge offers new digital videos from a broad range of media, including the Internet. The teacher's manual is now available on DVD, and regular updates - via the Internet and DVD - include responses to new TV programs, commercials, music videos and Internet sites.
For 2012 we are adding an exciting Mayim Bialik edition which not only includes clips from Dr. Bialik’s appearances on The Big Bang Theory but also her own thoughts on the videos and texts that will be viewed and studied by participants. You’ll even get to hear her advice for those who are considering and acting career! For a preview of that “coming attraction”, click here.
Although originally designed for high-school age teens, Taking the MTV Challenge now provides a tool that enables people of all ages to view the media through Jewish eyes. Participants learn to deconstruct media images and compare those messages with a Jewish alternative.
Taking the MTV Challenge is an effective antidote to some of the problems and challenges faced by today's teens (and adults). Educators across the nation, including the New York Board of Jewish Education, have enthusiastically endorsed this project.
Perhaps the best endorsement of Taking the MTV Challenge comes from its broad-based success. Each year, more than ten thousand young people are taking the MTV challenge across North America, as well as England, Holland, Japan, Australia and Israel.