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Nu? What’s New to Read, Watch and Listen to during the Pandemic?

01/06/2021 07:41:34 PM


Join Rabbi Pein for “Nu? What’s New to Read, Watch or Listen to During this Pandemic?” on
Thursday, January 21st at 4 PM. Please register for the Zoom discussion here.

During the Covid-19 epidemic we have probably spent an abundant amount of time ingesting
various forms of media content. Just as there has been a proliferation of general media content, so
too there has been an increase of Jewish-themed content. As we settle in waiting to get
vaccinated here are some Jewish media recommendations from our CJL Faculty and TINW staff:

Our Favorite and Influential Jewish Books:

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok – A classic book about an artist growing up in Brooklyn who struggles between a modern and Hasidic identity.

Tough Questions Jews Ask by Edward Feinstein – Rabbi Feinstein answers questions you always wanted to know about Judaism but have not yet asked. The book is geared toward teens / young adults.

The Wise Folk of Chelm by Seymour Rossel – Classic tales revisited and retold using 21st century language.

Never Alone by Natan Sharansky – Sharansky’s recent autobiography depicts how his connection to the Jewish community has been the driving force in his life and his political and professional career.

Everyday HolinessThe Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar by Alan Morinis – An accessible introduction to the spiritual path of Mussar, a Jewish spiritual practice that gives concrete instructions on how to live a meaningful and ethical life. Filled with relevant and meaningful anecdotes.

The Orchard by Yochi Brandes – An amazing historical novel which tells the story of the venerated yet enigmatic Rabbi Akiva, placing him in the context of his contemporaries, the Sages of Jewish tradition and of early Christianity. Similar to As a Driven Leaf by Milton Steinberg.

Jewish Digital Newspapers, Magazines, Websites

The Jewish Week and the Forward are probably the most well-known Jewish newspapers which are now exclusively online. Tablet  is a daily online magazine of Jewish news, ideas and culture., Kveller, and MyJewishLearning are informative Jewish websites and send out weekly emails with current Jewish content.

Israeli Shows Being Streamed

Shtisel and Unorthodox (Netflix) - Both shows reveal the dynamics of a Haredi (traditional Jewish) lifestyle. Unorthodox is based on a book of the same name.

S’rugim (Amazon Prime) -  Named for the knitted skull covering that traditional men wear, this show follows the life of single young adults in Jerusalem, an Israeli version of Friends. (Rabbi Pein’s favorite!)

Fauda (Netflix) – The title is Arabic for 'Chaos', and the show depicts the two-sided story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Valley of Tears (HBO Max) –A searing Israeli drama about the Yom Kippur War.

Tehran (Apple TV) - A show filled with suspense about a female Israeli spy who becomes trapped in Iran.

Shows with Jewish Content:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime) – Set in the 1950’s, this is a series about a female Jewish character, “Midge” who becomes a stand-up comedian.

An American Pickle (HBO Max) – A fictional movie about a man named Herschel who immigrates to America in 1919 but then is transported to the future (somewhat humorously) where he eventually meets his grandson.  Both characters are well-played by the actor Seth Rogen. Though the plot sounds far-fetched, the movie and ending evoke interesting conversations about the current state and future of Judaism.


Judaism Unbound, Unorthodox and Israel story cover distinctly Jewish themes and/or portray life in Israel.

Jewish Sacred Aging has an interesting podcast discussing the future of American synagogues.

The website, Kveller, has a podcast, Call your Mother, which is a favorite among many Jewish parents.

Nu? Your Favorites – Let’s Discuss!

What can we discern from this proliferation of Jewish media content? What are some of your favorite Jewish books, TV shows, and podcasts?  Let’s discuss some of our current favorites, revisit some old ones, and perhaps even watch some fun clips on Thursday, January 21st at 4 PM. Please register for the Zoom discussion here.







Thu, June 30 2022 1 Tammuz 5782