Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah had a problem. They wanted to attract more applicants, but they were specifically interested in students who would be a good fit with their culture and values. A standard recruitment video that talked about the yeshiva’s meaningful student-teacher relationships and plentiful trips wouldn’t cut it. This traditional approach was accurate, but generic; it didn’t give any real insight into the unique character of Yesodei HaTorah, and no matter how well-made it was, it wouldn’t draw the kind of attention they really wanted.
We were therefore consulted not just to produce new visuals, but to team up with Rabbi Krohn, the director of admissions, to put the essence of Yesodei HaTorah into words that would connect with their ideal applicants. What did Yesodei HaTorah do for its students? How was this achieved? Why was it important? Answering these questions would reaffirm the goals at the heart of the program. Only then could we go ahead and represent Yesodei HaTorah properly on camera.
It wasn’t enough to declare broadly that the yeshiva promoted new skills or that it fostered personal growth in its students. There are many kinds of skills and many areas of growth, and various yeshivot choose to emphasize different priorities. Our revelation was that Yesodei HaTorah stressed individuality and self-reliance – it was geared towards a population of students who weren’t satisfied with their previous Jewish education and who wanted to be able to depend on themselves, rather than their rabbis or teachers, to access Judaism. Yesodei HaTorah encouraged exploration and emphasized the skills needed for independent study.
We collaborated with the organization on multiple videos and witnessed incredible success over a period of several years. In one video, a diverse group of alumni shared how they came to choose Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah and how their experiences there continued to be a vital part of their personal paths – some with careers, some in the IDF, some learning on their own or preparing for their roles as parents, in America and in Israel. The core message of Jewish self-determination was thus projected both before and after the yeshiva experience. This was a truly mature expression of the objective we had formulated together.
Now armed with a concise and unambiguous message, Yesodei HaTorah saw precisely the reactions they were hoping for, from students who understood what the yeshiva stood for and wanted to be a part of it. The year after the first video was released saw enrollment grow by over 50%, and the school maintained strong numbers during the rest of our partnership as well. “During a recent recruitment trip,” one recruiter told us, “some students even applauded – something which is utterly unheard of.”