by Rabbi Alanna Sklover,

Rabbi/Educator at Germantown Jewish Centre

This month, something new and wonderful hit the internet’s on-demand airwaves. Jewish online content for young children (I’m thinking here about ages 3-6, or so) has long disappointed me. Characteristics including low production value, pronunciation of Hebrew that is incongruous with the sound of non-Ashkenazi/ Orthodox worship, a lack of racial and gender diversity, and non-egalitarian portrayals of gender roles in Judaism render much of this content unusable and even alienating to many families who are raising Jewish children today. Plainly put, it has been challenging for today’s families to find educational and engaging Jewish online content for their young children that looks and feels representative of their own Jewish experience.

A new offering from BimBam (formerly G-dcast) and its creative and visionary leader, Sarah Lefton, is changing this scenario. In partnership with organizations across the Jewish landscape – United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), PJ Library among others, BimBam has now released the premier episodes of Shaboom!, an animated webseries geared towards Jewish 3-7 year-olds and their families. Shaboom! will offer 11 episodes in its first season (each episode is about 8 minutes long and new episodes will become available each week) and each episode will post with a short accompanying Parent video and resources for home and classroom.

But… what is Shaboom!? In its pilot episode (available now at: we meet Gabi and Rafael, two “sparks,” magical angelic (and milti-racial!) creatures who are on a mission to “fix the world.” They live in a world of magic in which all stars have six points – Gabi even sports a Jewish star on her hair clips – and rainbow slides are the main mode of transportation. Using their magic word “Shaboom!” they playfully help human characters in our world to notice and tap into the power of mitzvot (in the case of the first episode, the commandment of hachnasat orchim – welcoming) with song, jokes, and up-to-date cultural references.

In addition to being visually engaging and of a high professional quality, the thing that most impressed me about Shaboom! was the way in which the show blends together both accessibly and higher-level Jewish cultural and religious “in-language” (the random family helped by Gabi and Rafael are called “the Plonys”, Yiddish is integrated in lines like “oops, plotz-landing!” and their sign-off, “So may it be, next week,” reminds us of ending a rabbinic teaching with the words ken y’hi ratzon).

I look forward to seeing how the rest of the first season of Shaboom! unfolds, and look forward to hearing your (and your children’s) reflections as well. And, as Rafael and Gabby say, “Time to shine, sparks. SHABOOM!”