May 5, 2022
Ever since the pandemic began, I have been compiling lists of streaming Jewish Studies book launches, interviews, lectures, performances, and roundtables. The current list is the 123rd I have issued. It provides daily posts for the Association for Jewish Studies website and gets sent to an email list of those who requested to receive it. The numbers of such Zoomed events initially were low, and preparing my B’nai Binge lists didn’t consume much of my time. They grew exponentially during the height of the pandemic with each week’s list being on average 12 single-spaced typed pages long. Checking over 200 websites weekly and then entering each event onto the list usually has taken me 2 days every week for the past year
As the severity of the pandemic has diminished this year, Jewish Studies departments and programs have gradually shifted to more in-person formats. The current list runs about half the length of the typical list for much of the pandemic. The decrease can be partially attributed to the ending of spring quarters and semesters and the onset of summer vacation. Since I need a vacation too, the current list will be the last until September. For it to return then, I will need some B’nai Binge’s readers to volunteer to assist me in compiling the lists so that it is not post such an onerous task for either me or them. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d be willing to assume covering events for a particular region of the United States or abroad.
Until September, you can find listings of extensive streaming and zoomed Jewish programming on the following websites:
My Jewish Learning’s The Hub: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/the-hub/
Generations of the Shoah International Newsletter (for Holocaust related programming): https://www.genshoah.org/gsi_newsletter.html
Center for Jewish History: https://programs.cjh.org/
Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program: https://occsp.net/csp-online-events/
American Jewish University: Maven-Online Jewish Learning: https://maven.aju.edu/
Valley Beit Midrash: https://www.valleybeitmidrash.org/upcoming-events/
Association for Jewish Studies: Events in Jewish Studies
You’ve got more time on your hands than you have ever had, but also more anxiety about when the coronavirus pandemic will be over. I annually organize a Jewish Film series at my synagogue. Since it has been cancelled, I’ve been compiling lists of Jewish programming you can stream in your home.
Chai Flicks: A subscription streaming service for Jewish films.
Family Business (Netflix): A French Jewish family converts their failing kosher butcher shop into a marijuana store.
Hunters (Amazon): A group of Nazi hunters stalks German war criminals living in the United States. If you like Quentin Tarantino movies, you’ll love this though I should add many Holocaust survivors and scholars have been offended by its over-the-top treatment of the Shoah.
The Kominsky Method (Netflix): If you haven’t caught the comic chemistry between Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas navigating the vicissitudes of aging, get ready for some laughs and tears.
Maktub (Netflix): Two Israeli criminals survive a terrorist bombing and decide to repent by fulfilling the wishes contained in notes placed in the cracks of the Kotel.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon): A Jewish wife and mother gets divorced from her husband to pursue her career as a standup comedian in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Otherhood (Netflix) Played by Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette, and Felicity Huffman, three mothers, one whom is Jewish, cope with their relationships with their sons who have left home.
The Plot Against America (HBO) Based on Philip Roth’s novel, this series traces how a Jewish family responds to Charles Lindberg becoming president and implementing fascist policies.
Russian Doll (Netflix): Natasha Lyonne plays a Jewish woman dies every evening her birthday party is held and returns the next day to celebrate at the same party.
Shtisel (Netflix): This Israeli soap opera about an ultra-Orthodox family surprisingly has attracted both Gentile and Jewish viewers.
The Spy (Netflix): Sacha Baron Cohen plays the Israeli spy Eli Cohen.To Dust (Amazon): A Chasidic Cantor whose wife recently died obsesses over how her body will decompose.
Ergo Media: Buy DVDs of Jewish feature and documentary films.
Israel Film Stream Center: Purchase Israeli films for streaming.
Jewish Film Institute Online Shorts Collection: If you’re a fan of shorts, you can stream Jewish shorts from your computer.
National Jewish Film Center: Buy DVDs of old and new Jewish films.
Better Things (FX. Hulu): Pam Adlon is great as a single Jewish mother raising three daughters in Los Angeles.
Bombshell (Netflix): Documentary about Heddy Lamarr, brilliant inventor and beautiful actress.
Broad City (Comedy Central, Hulu): If you haven’t ever seen the raunchy antics of two single Jewish women in New York, now’s a chance to add some laughs to your shut-in life.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW and Amazon) A high-powered Jewish female lawyer gives up her job to pursue a man she had a fling with when she was a teen at summer camp.
Menashe (Netflix): An independent Yiddish film about a Chasidic man fighting to regain custody of his son after his wife’s death.
The Meyerowitz Stories (Netflix): The estranged members of a dysfunctional Jewish family gather to attend an exhibition honoring the artwork of its patriarch.
Red Sea Diving Resort (Netflix): Dramatization of how the Mossad helped Ethiopian Jews escape to Israel.
The Scent of Rain in the Balkans (MHz Choice) A generational saga about a Sephardic Jewish family in Bosnia between 1914 and 1945.
Transparent (Amazon): Meet the Pfefferman family as its members navigate their Jewish and sexual identities.YidLife Crisis (https://www.yidlifecrisis.com/): Two Yiddish speaking young men deal with dating and being religious in Montreal.
Go2Films/On Demand Pages: Israeli films available for rental streaming;
Jewish Film Institute: Rentals for streaming.
Jewish Life TV (DirecTV): Available for subscription.
The Angel (Netflix): A disaffected Egyptian official becomes a spy for Israel.
Atomic Falafel (Netflix): The prospect of a nuclear war between Israel and Iran is not funny, but it can be when it is treated in a style that is reminiscent of Airplane and The Hebrew Hammer.
The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch (Netflix): A single orthodox Swiss man gets tired of his parents arranging dates for him and falls in love with a Gentile woman.
The Beauty and the Baker (Amazon): Israeli romantic comedy series about the relationship between an ordinary baker and a supermodel.
The Cakemaker (Netflix): A gay German baker is having an affair with an Israeli man. When the Israeli suddenly dies, the baker goes to Israeli to work in the restaurant owned by the man’s wife.
Happyish (Showtime and Hulu): A one season series about an advertising man married to a Jewish woman whose fraught relationship with Judaism and her mother is a recurring theme. It was created and written by acclaimed Jewish author Shalom Auslander.
Numbered (Netflix): Documentary about how Israeli survivors and their relatives view the numbers tattooed on their arms.
One of Us (Netflix): Documentary about 3 former pious Hasidim trying to live secular lives.
Prisoners of War (Showtime): Three Israeli soldiers held prisoners in Lebanon for 17 years return to their families and have trouble coping with their families and their fame. Homeland was adapted from this series.
Schitt’s Creek (Netflix): After being defrauded of their wealth, a formerly rich half-Jewish family moves to a little town they purchased as a joke birthday gift for their son.A Touch Away (Amazon) Israeli series about star-crossed lovers: a secular Russian immigrant and an ultra-Orthodox woman set in Bnei Brak.
The Vore: Has movies from Israel and other countries that can be streamed for free.
Just Watch: Search engine for finding out if a film is currently available for streaming on cable networks or websites and, if so, identifying which ones are streaming it.
A Fortunate Man (Netflix): An ambitious Danish engineer falls in love with the daughter of a Jewish banker at the turn of the 19th Century.
Friday Night Dinner (Amazon): You can rent the first season of this popular British comedy series about a Jewish family getting together for Shabbat dinner.
The Infidel (Amazon, Vudu, YouTube): Muslim man discovers he was adopted from a Jewish family and decides to learn more about Judaism, much to the dismay of his family and son’s fanatical future father-in-law.
Jo Jo Rabbit (Amazon or On Demand): A funny and sweet story about an indoctrinated Nazi boy who discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in the attic.
To Each, Her Own (Netflix): French movie about a Jewish lesbian who plans to come out to her family when she discovers she’s attracted to a man.
Our Boys (HBO): Powerful Israeli series about the kidnapping and murder of an Arab teen by three Israeli young men as retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of three Israelis teenagers.
A Tale of Love and Darkness (Netflix): Natalie Portman’s directorial debut based on Amos Oz’ coming of age and his relationship with his mother at the end of the British Mandate and the Israeli War of Independence.
Tel Aviv on Fire (Amazon): A Palestinian actor starring in an Israeli soap opera disagrees with its creators on how it should end.
Uncut Germs (Amazon or On Demand): The Diamond District of New York provides the backdrop from this unsettling look into a Jewish trader’s gambling addiction. Adam Sander gives a bravura performance.Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort (Amazon): Documentary about the history and demise of the Catskills Jewish resorts.
Internet Archive: Free movies, books, and music to stream and download.
The Jewish Channel: Subscription cable television channel available from Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Open Culture: Thousands of free movies for streaming, some of which are of Jewish interest.
Forever Pure (Amazon): Documentary about how the fans of Israel’s most racist soccer team responded when it signed two Arab players.
Foxtrot (Amazon): An Israeli father is erroneously notified that his son was killed while serving in the IDF. The story switches to the base where his son is serving and then to six months later.
A French Village (MHz): How the inhabitants of a French village respond to the German occupation of their town between 1940 and 1945.
Go for Zucker (Fandor/Amazon): German comedy about a Jewish family once divided by the Wall sitting shiva to fulfil their mother’s stipulation that the secular brother must reconcile with his Orthodox brother for them to inherit her estate.
Hostages (Netflix): Israeli series about a surgeon and her family being taken hostage by terrorists trying to kill the Israeli prime minister by preventing the doctor from operating on him.
Mekimi (Amazon): What becomes of a couple’s relationship when the man joins the Breslov Hasidic movement.
Mossad 101 (Netflix) A drama with many comic touches about the training academy for the Mossad.
Red Trees (Amazon): Documentary of a daughter tracing how her father escaped occupied Prague and built a new life in Brazil.
The Song of Names (On Demand): A Jewish violin prodigy left by his Polish father with a British family during the war disappears to find out what his father’s ultimate fate in Poland was.Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream (Amazon): Documentary about the history of Streit’s, the manufacturing of matzah, and the financial pressures that forced Streit’s to close its old factory.
Facets Edge: Subscription streaming service that carries many art, indie, and foreign films.
Reel Good: Has a filmography of Israeli movies available for streaming on various channels.
Brooklyn Bridge (YouTube): Iconic television comedy about a Jewish boy growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s.
Fateless (Amazon; Tubi): A graphic portrayal of a Hungarian teen surviving in a concentration camp based on the novel by Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész.
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amselem (iTunes; Google Play): A mesmerizing trial of a woman arguing that a rabbinical court should force her husband to agree to a divorce.
Live and Become (Vimeo): An Ethiopian Christian mother insists that her son assume the place of recently deceased Ethiopian Jewish boy on an airlift to Israel. The rest of the movie traces the boys adoption by an Israeli family and his maturation from boy to man.
Out in the Dark (iTunes; Vudu): An Israeli and Palestinian man fall in love but face family and political pressures to break up.
The Secrets (Fandango Now, Google Play, YouTube): Follows a group of female students attending an Israeli Yeshiva.
Sefarad (Amazon): A dramatized history of the conversos of Oporto, Porgual and how army captain Artur Barros Basto tried to teach the community there in 1923 about the Jewish beliefs and rituals they had forgotten.
Standing Up, Falling Down (Amazon): Billy Crystal shines as an elderly alcoholic who befriends a young comedian who has moved back with his family for financial reasons.
They Are Everywhere (Netflix): A French actor in therapy relates his fears about anti-Semitic stereotypes illustrating each canard with a humorous story.
Unorthodox (Netflix): A Hasidic woman from Brooklyn flees to Berlin to start a new life.
World War Z (Amazon, Google Play, Vudu) An entertaining Zombie movie set in part in Israel and featuring a strong Israeli female soldier helping Brad Pitt to defeat the Zombies.Zero Motivation (Amazon): Funny movie about Israeli women in an IDF clerical unit.
Adventures in Jewish Studies: Podcasts on a wide range of Jewish Studies topics.
Can We Talk? Jewish Women’s Archive podcasts about Jewish women and issues that concern them.
Jewish History Matters: Discussions with leading Jewish historians.
A Jewish Life: Profiles and interviews with contemporary Jewish communal, political, and religious leaders.
Jewish Lives: Biographical programs about important Jewish historical figures.
Judaism Unbound: Podcasts that catalyze and support grassroots efforts to re-imagine and re-design Jewish life in America for the 21st Century.
People of the Pod: American Jewish Committee and Times of Israel podcasts.
Tablet Podcasts: Podcasts on a variety of Jewish topics from the online journal Tablet.
Tikvah Podcasts: The Tikvah Fund is committed to supporting the intellectual, religious, and life of the Jewish people and the Jewish State.
Two Nice Jewish Boys: A podcast about Israel.
UCLA Leve Center for Jewish Studies: Lectures by eminent Jewish Studies scholars.
Agent Emes and the Giant Ego (Amazon): 12 year old detective saves Passover with the help of a famous rabbi.
Crimes and Misdemeanors: Woody Allen’s reckoning with whether there is a God and evil gets punished with a memorable Seder scene.
“Elijah the Prophet at a Seder,” Saturday Night Live
Exodus: Gods and Kings (Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu): Ridley Scott’s epic retelling of the Exodus story.
It Runs in the Family (Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu): Kirk Douglas as the domineering patriarch of a dysfunctional Jewish family. One scene involved the family seder.
Let My People Go (Amazon, iTunes): Jewish French gay man brings his Norwegian lover to his family’s Seder.
Moses (DIRECTV): Miniseries about Moses and the Exodus.
Passover Fever (Israel Film Center) Three generations of an Israeli family contend with each other and the issues they are grappling with at its Seder.
The Prince of Egypt (Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, Hulu): Animated version of the story of Moses and the Exodus from DreamWorks.
A Rugrats Passover: Season 3, Episode 23 (Hulu, YouTube)
“The Seder,” Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 5, Episode 7 (HBO). Larry invites a sex offender to the his Seder.When Do We Eat? (Amazon, Google Play, YouTube): What happens when you mix ecstasy and a family Seder?
Arranged (Amazon): An Orthodox Jewish woman and pious Muslim woman become friends as both of their parents try to find them the right men to marry.
The Birdcatcher (YouTube, Google Play, Vudu) Jewish girl disguises herself as a boy to work on farm in Nazi-occupied Norway.
City of Joel (Amazon, Google Play, YouTube): Documentary about Satmar enclave located 50 miles north of New York.
Dough (Amazon, Tubi): Delightful comedy about a Kosher baker who hires an African immigrant as an apprentice. When the latter hides his marijuana in the dough, business picks up.
Harold and Maude (Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon): Perhaps the perfect black comedy to watch during a pandemic exploring the celebration of life and fascination with death.
Leon the Pig Farmer (Amazon, Tubi): A Jewish man discovers his biological father is a big farmer and reunites with him to learn the trade.
Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob (Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube): If you enjoy classic slapstick, you’ll love this comedy about a French anti-Semite and Arab revolutionary disguised as rabbis trying to escape their enemies.
Messiah (Netflix): A street preacher from Syria claims to be the Messiah and marches with his followers to Israel prompting investigations by the CIA and Mossad.
The Operative (Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube): The Mossad recruits a woman to serve as a spy in Tehran.
Resistance (Amazon): How the French Jewish boy scouts and Marcel Marceau helped rescue Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of France.
Seder-Masochism (Vimeo) Animated musical recounts the Passover story with stunning visuals.West Bank Story: Academy Award winning short about a love story between an Israeli man and Palestinian women whose parents run competing falafel stands.
I’ve been doing research for the past two years on American Jewish women directors and wanted to share some of the films by the pioneers that you can stream at home. Although a considerable number of women directed films during the silent era, those numbers dwindled to two, Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino, between 1930 and 1960. The decline of the studio system and the political and social movements of the Sixties opened up opportunities for more women directors in the next decade. Jewish women were disproportionately represented in their ranks.
Maya Deren (1917–1961): Deren is often called the mother of experimental film.
Meshes in the Afternoon (1943)
Shirley Clarke, nee Brimberg, (1919–1997): Clarke was the first Jewish woman director to win an Oscar for her documentary Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World (1963). Her feature films The Connection (1961) and The Cool World (1964) employed a cinema vérité style. Here’s a brief retrospective of her career.
Stephanie Rothman (1936–present): Rothman directed exploitation films produced by Roger Corman. Feminist film critics now recognize her films for featuring strong women leads.
The Velvet Vampire (1971)
Elaine May (1932–present). Already respected for her comedic and writing talent, May became the first woman director hired by a major studio in the 1970s. Although feminist critics initially criticized her portrayal of women, contemporary scholars have challenged this assessment.
A New Leaf (1971), Amazon.
The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
Mikey and Nicky (1976): Hear Peter Falk recite the Kaddish. Google Play, Tubi, and YouTube.
Ishtar (1987) The movie that ended her directing career until recently. Amazon, Vudu.
Joan Micklin Silver (1935–present). She deserves her title as the mother of feminist Jewish film. Hester Street and Crossing Delancey are her best known movies, but she also has made television and cable films about Jewish topics or featuring notable Jewish characters.
Hester Street (1975): Fandor on Amazon.
Between the Lines (1977)
Crossing Delancey (1988): Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
A Private Matter (1992)
In the Presence of Mine Enemies (1997).
Claudia Weill (1947–present): Like Micklin Silver Weill went from an impressive debut independent film to making studio movies and directing television programs.
Girlfriends (1978): Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
It’s My Turn (1980) Amazon, iTunes, Vudu
A Child Lost Forever: The Jerry Sherwood Story (1992)
Lee Grant, nee Lyova Haskell Rosenthal (ca 1925–present): Since she was a renowned actress, Lee Grant was invited to participate in the first Directing Workshop for Women run by the American Film Institute in 1975. Her first feature film was an adaptation of Tillie Olsen’s Tell Me a Riddle. She has continued to be prolific documentarian and TV filmmaker.
Tell Me a Riddle (1980): Amazon, Google Play, YouTube.
A Matter of Sex (1984): Amazon, DirecTV, Epix.
What Sex Am I? (1985), While only a clip is available online, this remarkable documentary is one of the first about transsexuals.
Abe: Half-Palestinian, half-Israeli boy tries to united his family by cooking fusion cuisine. Amazon
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz: Richard Dreyfus shines in this adaptation of the Mordecai Richler novel.
Berlin Babylon: Stories set in Berlin during the Weimar Republic illustrating the forces that brought Hitler to power. (Netflix)
Famous Nathan: A documentary tracing the history of Famous Nathan’s hotdogs.
Freud: The young Sigmund Freud helps solve mysterious murder cases. Netflix.
Is It Good for the Jews? Podcast Discussions on anything and whether it is good for the Jews.”
The Kibitz Podcast: A podcast about Jewish ideas and culture.
The Last Resort: Documentary about Jewish retirees in Miami Beach during the 1970s. Netflix.
My Jewish Learning: “Daily Guide to Our Zoom Events, Livestreams and other Online Resources”
UK Jewish Film: Streams free Jewish short films.
Rachel Harris, David Myers, Nomi Stoltzenberg, Dara Goldman, Liat Maggid Alon, “Unorthodox: A Panel Discussion”
The Virtual Cinema of the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive: Over 600 films documenting an array of subjects such as Jewish life in the British mandate of Palestine, Israel, and Jewish communities around the world.
When Heroes Fly: Four Israeli veterans of the Lebanon War of 2006 reunited to rescue a woman held captive by a cult in Columbia. Netflix
Who Will Write Our History? Documentary and dramatizations about how the Oyneg Shabes movement collected archival material in the Warsaw Ghetto. Amazon, Vudu.
*I welcome links to other Jewish Studies lecture series that are available online. email@example.com
The Downtown Seder: City Winery’s annual Seder which streamed last night features famous singers like David Broza and Peter Yarrow, comedians like Lewis Black, and prominent public figures like Dr. Ruth and Jerry Nadler.
The 2014 Downtown Seder is also online.
The Animated Haggadah: Claymation version of the Passover story for kids.
The Devil’s Arithmetic: Adaptation of Jane Yolen’s novel about an American Jewish teenager who learns the meaning of Passover and the Holocaust by time travelling. Amazon and Vudu.
“Faith Off: Easter vs. Passover,” John Stewart
“The History of the Haggadah,” Adventures in Jewish Studies Podcast
“It’s Passover Grover,” Sesame Street
Passover Seder—Mendy Pellin Standup Comedian
Passover Videos on YouTube: Over 650 Passover Videos on one website.
“Seder Anything,” Gossip Girl, Season 2, Episode 21
Seders in the Time of Coronavirus—Museum of Jewish Heritage: Liza Schoenfein, Adeena Sussman, and Jane Eisner discuss holding Seders in the this trying year.
“Transparent,” Season 3, Episode 10: The Pfefferman’s improvise a Seder on a cruise ship. Amazon.
Note: There are fewer movies about the Sephardim than ones about Ashkenazim, and many of those that do exist aren’t available for streaming.Here’s a partial list of some you can stream at home.
Daniel Deronda: Series adapted from George Elliot’s eponymous novel. Hulu.
Every Time We Say Goodbye: American solider convalescing in Mandatory Palestine falls in love with Sephardic woman, much to the dismay of her family. Amazon, iTunes, Vudu.
The Garden of the Finzi Continis: Oscar-winning film about how a wealthy Italian family fails to realize how vulnerable they are to fascist and Nazi anti-Semitic policies.
The Governess: Sephardic woman from London disguises herself as a Protestant to flee an arranged marriage and serve as a governess for Scottish family. Amazon, Vudu.
The Heritage: An Eternity of Love: An Israeli man seeks to regain his ancestor’s house in Spain and discovers its history. He falls in love with a Spanish Gentile woman like one of his female ancestors had done with a Christian man during the Inquisition. https://israelfilmcenterstream.org/film/heritage-eternity-love/
Magic Men: An elderly Israeli man returns to Greece with his son to find the man who saved him during the Holocaust. https://israelfilmcenterstream.org/film/magic-men-2/
The Midnight Orchestra: Son of a famous Moroccan Jewish musician returns there to bury his father and meets the musicians he once played with. Hoopla
The Optimists: Documentary about the rescue of Bulgarian Jews during the Holocaust. Amazon.
The Rabbi’s Cat: A whimsical animated film set in Algeria about a rabbi’s speaking cat who converts to Judaism. It shifts from religious debates, Jewish texts brought by a Russian Jew, and a quest to liberate a community of black Jews. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Rescue in Albania: How Albanians saved the majority of Jews in their country during the Holocaust. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ8szhccfZM
Sallah: The classic Israeli comedy about how North African olim were “absorbed” into Israeli society and how they learned to outwit the bureaucracy.
Sefarad: The Jewish community of Oporto funded this docudrama about the exile of Jews from Portugal and the campaign to persuade crypto-Jews to identify themselves and affiliate with the Askenazi community that had established itself in the country by the 1920s. Amazon.
Song of the Sephardi-David Raphael: Sephardic music.
Sons of Liberty. A short biopic from 1939 about the Sephardic financier Haym Solomon who helped fund the Revolutionary War.
Stars: A German soldier falls in love with a Bulgarian Jewish girl he meets while transporting her to a concentration camp.
A Summer in La Goulette: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim girls in Tunisia decide to lose their virginity over the summer, but the Six Day War strains their relationships. Kanopy.
Triumph of the Sprit: A Jewish boxer from Salonika fights to entertain the SS and survive in Auschwitz. Amazon, iTunes, Vudu.
Turn Left at the End of the World: Olim from India and Morocco cling to their British and French traditions in a development town.The Wedding Song: A Muslim woman and Sephardic Jewish woman who are friends prepare for their marriages amidst the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of Tunisia. Amazon.
The second wave of American Jewish women directors enjoyed greater commercial success that the pioneers (with the exception of Streisand), but didn’t usually delve into Jewish topics, though they sometimes introduced characters and references that were explicitly or implicitly Jewish.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Look Who’s Talking: Amazon, Vudu.
Clueless: Amazon, Google Play Vudu, YouTube.
Loser: Amazon, Crackle, Vudu.
The Hot Flashes: Amazon, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube
Smithereens: Amazon, Google Play, YouTube.
Desperately Seeking Susan: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu.
Making Mr. Right
She Devil: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Boynton Beach Club: Amazon, Vudu.
This Is My Life: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Sleepless in Seattle: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Michael: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
You’ve Got Mail: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Julie and Julia: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube.
The Peacemaker: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube.
Deep Impact: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube.
Pay It Forward: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube.
On the Basis of Sex: Showtime.
Circus of Books: Documentary about a straight Jewish couple who ran Los Angeles’ most popular gay bookstore. Netflix (April 22).
Demon: An allegory of Polish-Jewish relations told through the story of a Dybbuk possessing the groom at a Polish wedding. Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube.
Dreaming of Jewish Christmas: The contributions of Jewish songwriters to Christmas music. iTunes.
Fauda: The third season of the Israeli hit series about an Israeli counterintelligence units operations in the Territories begins April 16. Netflix.
Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles: The origin story of the beloved musical. Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube.
The Kiddush Man: Short about a boy who sneaks out of Shabbat services to snack from the Oneg buffet learns to understand why one member of the congregation gets so angry at him
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels: Premiering April 26, this series follows a Jewish and Latino team of policemen investigating a murder in Los Angeles in 1938 amid a backdrop of Mexican-American culture there and Nazi and American fascists activities there. Showtime
The Saturday Night Seder: There’s still one more day of Passover to enjoy this entertaining, albeit unconventional, Seder.
Wish I Was Here: Underemployed actor no longer can afford to send his children to a Jewish day school and homeschools them. His family copes with his daughter becoming a baal teshuva, the impending death of his father, and the sexual harassment at work of his wife. Netflix.World on Fire: Dramatic series about how World War Two affected the lives of ordinary people, including some Jewish characters. PBS, YouTube.
Here are a few recommended Holocaust films that you can stream.
1945: Two Jews return to their Hungarian village after the war causing a panic among the inhabitants who fear why they have come back. Amazon, Tubi.
Aftermath: Two brothers uncover the secret that their townspeople participated in killing Jews during the war. Amazon, Tubi, Vudu.
Auschwitz: The Nazis and Final Solution: Six part series tracing the evolution of Auschwitz from a camp for political prisoners and slave laborers into an extermination camp. Netflix
Conspiracy: Dramatization of the Wannsee Conference meeting where the logistics of the Final Solution were delegated. Amazon, Google Play, HBO Now, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Denial: Dramatization of Deborah Lipstadt’s trial for allegedly slandering Holocaust denier David Irving. Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Fanny’s Journey: An uplifting Holocaust children’s film about a young girl shepherding her sisters and other Jewish youngsters from France to Switzerland . Amazon, Vudu.
A Film Unfinished. Found footage of a film the Germans were making about the Warsaw Ghetto. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Germans and Jews: Documentary about the attitudes and experiences of Jews residing in today’s Germany and of how their German Gentile contemporaries regard them. Amazon.
The Invisibles: The stories of four Jews who managed to hide in wartime Berlin. Amazon, Kanopy, Vudu
Korkoro: One of the few feature films about the persecution of Romanis by the Nazis. Vudu.
Labyrinth of Lies. Docudrama about the resistance a German investigator received in getting his government’s cooperation in arresting and trying Nazi war criminals. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube.
Nazi Death Squads: Documentary about the Einsatzgruppen. Hulu, Netflix.
The Photographer of Mauthausen: True story of interned Spanish photographer who managed to take and hide thousands of photos documenting the atrocities in Mauthausen. Netflix.
Phoenix: A disfigured Jewish survivor receives plastic surgery to reunite with the Gentile lover who betrayed her. Amazon, IFC Films Unlimited.
Primo: Anthony Sher as Primo Levi recalling how he survived in Auschwitz. HBO-GO, Hulu.
The Resistance Banker: Dutch brothers who helped fund the anti-Nazi resistance. Netflix.
Riphagen: Infamous Dutch collaborator who betrayed many Jews while helping a few. Netflix
The Round Up: The mass arrests of of Jews in Paris on July 17, 1942. Amazon, Vudu, YouTube.
Sobibor: A Russian film about the prisoner revolt in Sobibor. Amazon, Kanopy, Vudu.
Son of Saul: Oscar winning film about a Sonderkommando member intent on giving a Jewish burial to a boy who was gassed. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Süskind: Dutch Jewish Council member rescues Jewish children. Amazon, Kanopy, Vudu.
We Shall Not Die Now: The story of the Holocaust told by survivors and liberators. Amazon, https://www.weshallnotdienowmovie.com/watchWhen Hands Touch: A rare film about the plight of an Afro-German girl under Nazism. Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube.
On April 24, 1915 the Ottoman Empire arrested approximately 250 prominent Armenians and deported them a month later to the Turkish interior where most of them were killed. Armenians annually commemorate April 24th as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. There are few movies about the genocide because Turkey has pressured countries to halt their production, limit their distribution, or undermine their reception. On the eve of Germany’s invasion of Poland, Hitler informed his generals of plans to massacre many Poles to achieve German living space concluding with this haunting question: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” I’ve prepared this list to promote its memory and international recognition.
Note: Other important films like Ararat and The Lark Farm are not available for streaming.
1915: Armenian American directs a play about the genocide that is haunted by its ghosts. Google Play, iTunes, YouTube.
Architects of Denial: Documentary about Turkey’s denial that the Armenian genocide happened. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube.
Armenia, My Love: A epic tracing the childhood of an Armenian boy who loses his family in the genocide but immigrates to the United States where he becomes a famous artist.
The Armenian Genocide: PBS documentary on the genocide.
Army of Crime: True story about an anti-Nazi resistance movement consisting of Armenian and Jewish immigrants in occupied France. Amazon, Google Play, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube.
The Cut: An Armenian blacksmith is initially deported to be a slave laborer and then left for dead. After the genocide, he embarks on an international quest to find his missing daughters. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Forty Days of Musa Dagh: Low budget adaptation of Franz Werfel’s eponymous novel about the Armenian revolt in Musa Dagh.
Germany and the Secret Genocide: Germany was the Ottoman Empire’s ally in World War One, but aided the genocide and failed to stop it.
Intent to Destroy: Documentary about the Armenian Genocide. Amazon, Hulu, Sling, Starz.
The Promise: Epic drama about the genocide as experienced by an Armenian medical student, an American journalist, and the woman they both love. Amazon.
Lost Birds: A brother and sister survive on their own after returning home to their village and discovering their parents and their neighbors are no longer there. Amazon, Vudu.
Music to Madness: The Story of Komitas: Documentary about the musician and ethnographer who preserved Armenian folk music but went mad from his ordeal during the genocide. Amazon.
Ravished Armenia: A 1919 silent film starring a young woman who survived the genocide. Only parts of the film remain.
Screamers: Concert about the Armenian genocide and more recent genocides by the group System of a Down.
The Son of the Olive Merchant: Documentary about a French Armenian returned to Turkey to find out what happened to his family during the genocide.
Tabu: Star crossed love of an Armenian American man and a Turkish woman who must confront the historical memories that prompt their parents to oppose the relationship. Amazon
They Shall Not Perish: Documentary about the Near East Relief, the organization which raised millions of dollars to save orphaned Armenians. Amazon.Turkey: The Legacy of Silence: Documentary about Turks discovering their Armenian ancestry.
1948: Creation and Catastrophe: Documentary on how the creation of Israel displaced Palestinians. Tubi
Above and Beyond: Documentary about Jewish American pilots who flew planes for Israel in 1948. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, Tube, YouTube
Al Nakba: Four part documentary series on 1948 from the Palestinian perspective. Other 3 episodes are on YouTube.
Ben-Gurion: Epilogue: Interviews of Ben-Gurion.
The Birth of Israel: BBC documentary about 1948.
Cast a Giant Shadow: American Mickey Marcus trains an IDF unit. Amazon, iTunes.
Dawn: Adaptation of Eli Wiesel’s novel about Holocaust survivor’s moral dilemma about executing a British soldier taken hostage by the Irgun. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube.
Exodus: Hollywood epic about Holocaust survivors entering Palestine and fighting in the War of Independence. Vudu.
Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer: An American Jew, a son of Holocaust survivors, a Mizrahi sabra, and an Irishman fight in 1948 war.
Israel: Birth of a Nation: Sir Martin Gilbert narrates this documentary about 1948.
Kedma: Amos Gitai film about Holocaust survivors fighting in the 1948 war. Kanopy.
The Little Traitor: British officer befriends a Jewish boy during the War of Independence. Amazon, Tubi, YouTube.
The Long Way Home: Oscar winning documentary about the end of World War Two and the events leading to the establishment of Israel. iTunes, Vudu.
Pillar of Fire: Seven part documentary series of British Mandate and War of Independence. Other six episodes on YouTube.Sword in the Desert: First American film about the War of Independence.
Last week I gave my first Zoom lecture for the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture and over 90 people registered for it. Since this kind of programming is happening around the country, I’ve prepared a list of some sites you might want to peruse.
The Ladino Project: Videos of some of the songs from Madre, a tribute to Ladino women.
Noa and Gil Dor: Home concert during the pandemic
Radio Free Covid-19: The Tshudne Stunde: Yale Strom and Elizabeth Schwartz perform klezmer and Ladino music weekly on Wednesdays at 4 PM EST.
Are you missing going to the theatre to see concerts, musicals, and plays? There are many websites that are streaming their productions for free, pay per view, or by subscription. This is a list of general concerts and plays without a specific Jewish focus.
Street Scene (1931): Elmer Rice play about immigrants living in a tenement reveals the stereotypes they have of each other.
Black Legion (1937): Bogart movie about nativist and racist group in Detroit. Euphemisms are used, but Jews also are implicit targets. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
They Won’t Forget (1937): Fictional version of Leo Frank trial and lynching where he is suspect as a Northerner.
Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939): Exposé of Nazi spy ring whose antisemitism is cloaked in euphemisms. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Mr. Skeffington (1944): Jewish stockbroker marries a Gentile socialite much to the consternation of her brother. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Crossfire (1947): Film noir about an Irish American detective finding the murderer of a Jewish veteran. Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube.
Gentleman’s Agreement (1947): A Gentile reporter poses as a Jew to do an exposé on American antisemitism. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Open Secret (1948): A man uncovers a racist group trying to drive a Jewish shopkeeper out of the neighborhood.
The Young Lions (1958): World War II story contains powerful scenes about antisemitism among American soldiers.
The Intruder (1962): William Shatner as an anti-integration agitator who sees desegregation as a communist Jewish plot.
Skokie (1981): Holocaust survivors in predominantly Jewish suburb try to stop planned American Nazi march in their village.
Betrayed (1988): FBI infiltrates neo-Nazi encampment. Amazon, iTunes, Vudu.
The Murder of Mary Phagan (1988) Dramatization of the Leo Frank trial and lynching. Amazon, DIRECTV, Xfinity.
Talk Radio (1988): Oliver Stone’s fictionalized recounting of the career and murder of Jewish shock jock Alan Berg. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Fires in the Mirror (1991): Anna Deveare Smith’s remarkable on woman show about the Crown Heights riots. (first part of six online).
Homicide (1991): A Jewish cop suspects an antisemitic motive for a murder he is investigating. Criterion Channel.
Never Forget: Survivor Mel Mermelstein’s court case against the Institute for Historical Review to prove the Holocaust happened.
School Ties (1992): A Jewish teen pretends to be Christian to play football for a private school. Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Quiz Show (1994): Quiz show feeds answers to questions to a Gentile professor to beat a Jewish contestant. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Liberty Heights (1999): Jewish teenagers in Baltimore experience antisemitism when they venture out of their neighborhood. Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Focus (2001): A Gentile man experiences antisemitism when he starts to wear glasses.
Crown Heights (2004): Television movie about the Crown Heights riots. Amazon, Sling.
Borat (2006): Sacha Baron Cohn’s character Borat finds that many Americans share his stereotypes of Jews. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
The People versus Leo Frank (2009): Actors read from court transcripts and letters related to the trial and lynching of Frank.
American Experience: Henry Ford (2013): Documentary biography which has section on Ford’s antisemitism. iTunes.
Indignation (2016): A New Jersey teen encounters antisemitism at small Midwest college in the 1950s. Amazon, Google Play, HBO Now, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Imperium (2016): FBI agent infiltrates neo-Nazi group with scene that remarkably foreshadows Charlottesville. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
BlacKkKlansman (2018): Black police detective and Jewish cop infiltrate KKK group. Amazon, Google Play, HBO Now, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube.
Viral: Anti-Semitism in Four Mutations (2020): Documentary about contemporary antisemitism in France, Hungary, the United States, and the United Kingdom. PBS May 26, 2020.
Anita (Argentina: 2008): A Down syndrome Jewish girl wanders the streets of Buenos Aires in search of her mother after the AMIA bombing.
Family Law (Argentina, France, Italy, Spain): Jewish son and father explore their differences and similarities.
Gaby: A True Story (Mexico, USA: 2004): Daughter of Austrian Jewish refugees overcomes cerebral palsy to become a famous author.
God’s Slave (Argentina Venezuela: 2013): Israeli agent tracks an Islamic terrorist intent on attacking Jews after the AMIA bombing. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Tubi, YouTube.
Havana Curveball (Canada, Cuba, USA: 2014): Bar-mitzvah boy brings baseballs to kids in Cuba where his grandfather fled during the Holocaust.
The Last Suit (Argentina, Spain: 2017): Jewish tailor goes to Poland to find the man who saved him during World War II. HBO Go, HBO Now, Hulu.
Leona (Mexico: 2018): Jewish woman falls in love with a Gentile. Her family objects. Kanopy.
Mr. Kaplan (German, Spain, Uruguay): Elderly Jewish immigrant in Uruguay believes he has located a Nazi war criminal living there. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube.
Mamaliga Blues (Brazil, Moldova, USA: 2014): Brazilian Jewish man goes to Moldova to search the grave of an ancestor.
My Mexican Shivah (Mexico: 2007): Sitting shivah for the deceased patriarch of their family, its members come to terms with each other. Amazon, Sling TV.
Nora’s Will (Mexico: 2008): Dying on the eve of Passover, a woman’s plans for the Seder bring her family back together.
The Tenth Man (Argentina: 2016): Man returns to the old Jewish neighborhood in Bueno Aires to reconnect with his father. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube.
Whiskey (Argentina, Germany, Spain, Uruguay: 2004): When his brother unexpectedly shows up in Uruguay, a man enlists an employee to pretend she is his wife. Amazon, Netflix.The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (Brazil: 2006): When a boy’s parents go into hiding to evade persecution, an elderly Jewish man who shares his passion for soccer befriends him.
Note: Some Jewish film festivals that were scheduled during the pandemic are streaming their films for the price of a ticket. Others are streaming films they’ve shown in the past or interviews with filmmakers and lectures.
Baltimore Jewish Film Festival (May 16-June 10)
Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema (May 17-26)
Miami Jewish Film Festival, May 18: Short Film Showcase
Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival (Mondays)
San Diego Jewish Film Festival (interviews and lectures)
Seattle Jewish Film Festival: May 18 Interview with Daniel Hendler, Director of Unorthodox
Toronto Jewish Film Festival (May 30-June 7):
Virtual Israel Film Center Festival (June 7-14)
Abe and Phil’s Last Poker Game: Amazon, Google Play, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube
Afternoon Delight: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube
Annie Hall: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Bananas: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
The Big Fix: Tubi
The Big Lebowski: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Biloxi Blues: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube
Blazing Saddles: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Borat: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Brighton Beach Memoirs: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Broadway Danny Rose: Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube
Come Blow Your Horn: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Diner: Amazon, Cinemax, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Fading Gigolo: Google Play, Tubi, YouTube
The Frisco Kid: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Goodbye, Columbus: Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube
Goodbye New York: Amazon, Sling TV
The Great Dictator: Amazon
Harold and Maude: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube
The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
The Hebrew Hammer: Amazon
I Love You Alice B. Toklas: Amazon. Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Just Tell Me What You Want: Amazon. Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTub
Keeping the Faith: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Keeping Up with the Steins: Amazon. Google Play, HBO Now, iTunes, Vudu, YouTub
The Kominsky Method: Netflix
Liberty Heights: Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTub
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
Lost in Yonkers: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
The Meyerowitz Stories: Netflix
Miami Rhapsody: Amazon, Cinemax, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Mr. Saturday Night: iTunes
My Favorite Year: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Obvious Child: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube
Once in a Lifetime (1932)
Private Benjamin: Amazon, Cinemax, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
The Producers: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
A Serious Man: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube
The Shamrock and the Rose (1928)
Sleeping with the Fishes: Amazon, Tubi, Vudu
This Is My Life: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
This Is Where I Leave You: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
To Be or Not to Be (1983): Amazon, Cinemax, Hulu, Sling TV, Starz
Wet Hot American Summer: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
The Birth of a Nation: Not to be confused with the racist silent film of the same title, this is a reconstruction of the Nat Turner rebellion. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Black Wall Street Tulsa: Documentary about the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.
Boyz n the Hood: Growing up as a black male in Los Angeles. Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Detroit: Dramatization of the Detroit riots of 1967. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Do the Right Thing: Anatomy of how and why riots erupt. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Eyes on the Prize: 14 hour PBS documentary on the history of the Civil Rights movement.
4 Little Black Girls: Documentary about the Birmingham church bombing of 1963.
Fruitvale Station: Portrayal of the events leading to the San Francisco police killing the African American Oscar Grant. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube
Ghosts of Mississippi: Dramatization of the investigation into the murder of Medgar Evers. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Hate Crimes in the Heartland: The Tulsa Race Riots and the Good Friday murders. Vudu
The Hate U Give: Teenager witnesses police shooting her best friend. Cinema, Fandango, Vudu
I Am Not Your Negro: History of racism in the United States based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
LA 92: Documentary on the Rodney King riots in 1992. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube
Mississippi Burning: Investigation into the murder of 3 civil rights activists in 1964. Amazon, iTunes, Vudu
Murder in Mississippi: TV docudrama about the murder of three civil rights activists in 1965.
Queen and Slim: Fictional movie about a young black couple who are victimized by an unjust police stop and then evade arrest. Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube
Reconstruction: America After the Civil War: Documentary on the history of Reconstruction and the white backlash against it. https://www.pbs.org/weta/reconstruction/
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow: Documentary on history of legal discrimination and segregation of blacks from after the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement.
Rosewood: A reenactment of the massacre of hundreds of African Americans by the whites of Rosewood, Florida in 1923.Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Selma: The background of the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery and the police violence it triggered. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
13th: Documentary on the history of the 13th amendment and its misuse to criminalize and incarcerate young black men. Netflix
12 Years a Slave: Based on the memoir of an African American freeman who was kidnapped and enslaved in the South. Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Violence: An American Tradition: Documentary on the history of American racial violence.
Watchmen: A futuristic series about race relations in the United States which begins with the legacy of the 1921 Tulsa massacre. Amazon, Google Play, HBO, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
When They See Us: Four-part series about the Central Park 5. NetflixWithin Our Gates: Silent movie by pioneering black director Oscar Micheaux about the experience of a Southern black woman who moves to the North.