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Jewish Videos


All videos are linked to Amazon.com.

As a warning, I have put up pictures of the covers to give you somewhat an idea of the style of each video (I know, I know. "Don't judge a book by its cover") so the pages may load slowly.


Passover


The Prince of Egypt (DVD)


Also Available on VHS
Nearly every biblical film is ambitious, creating pictures to go with some of the most famous and sacred stories in the Western world. DreamWorks' first animated film was the vision of executive producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, a key architect in the Disney studio's rebirth (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, etc.).

Here is an Egypt alive with energetic bustle and pristine buildings. Born a slave and set adrift in the river, Moses (voiced by Val Kilmer) is raised as the son of Pharaoh Seti (Patrick Stewart) and is a fitting rival for his stepbrother Rameses (Ralph Fiennes). When he learns of his roots--in a knockout sequence in which hieroglyphics come alive--he flees to the desert, where he finds his roots and heeds G-d's calling to free the slaves from Egypt.

Description from Amazon.com

A Rugrats Passover



Let My Babies Go! (Rugrats)
Picture Book Also Available
Anyone familliar with the Passover story, yet not how to explain the concept of plagues and miracles to younger children will find amusing help with the popular characters from the Rugrats series. Also good is an animated insight into the religious heritage of Tommy's mom.

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

Shalom Sesame #10:
Passover

Passover at Bubbe's
This video is done by the same puppet troupe (and has the same characters) as the award-winning Chanukkah at Bubbe's and is the second in their Jewish holiday series. That was the reason I bought it sight unseen -- and I was not disappointed. In fact, I think this video even surpasses the Chanukkah episode.

Bubbe is everybody's loveable Jewish grandmother, who runs a boarding house with a zany variety of characters living there. In this story, all -- well, almost all -- of them pitch in to help Bubbe get ready for Passover. You guessed it -- the lazy guy who tries to get everybody else to do his share of the work for him ends up as Pharoah in the flashback to the days of Moses.

Among of the cutest things on the video are the talking haggadah (Passover book) and the various ritual foods that come to life on the seder plate. The songs are good, too, combining old favorites with new originals. (The "Bubbe's Boarding House" theme song, while not about Passover per se, sure is catchy.) Every kid I have shown this to -- Jewish or not -- has absolutely loved it. Adults will enjoy it, too!

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

A Passover Seder
Narrated by Elie Wiesel

Passover:
Traditions of Freedom

Shalom Sesame Series


Shalom Sesame #1: The Land of Israel
Join your favorite Sesame Street characters, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and others, on an exciting tour of Israel. Created by Children's Television Workshop and Jim Henson Productions for Israeli television, this series will delight in both English and in Hebrew.

Shalom Sesame #2: Tel Aviv
Join your favorite Sesame Street characters, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and others, on an exciting tour of Israel. Created by Children's Television Workshop and Jim Henson Productions for Israeli television, this series will delight in both English and in Hebrew.

Shalom Sesame #3: Kibbutz
Join your favorite Sesame Street characters, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and others, on an exciting tour of Israel. Created by Children's Television Workshop and Jim Henson Productions for Israeli television, this series will delight in both English and in Hebrew.

Shalom Sesame #4: People of Israel
Join your favorite Sesame Street characters, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and others, on an exciting tour of Israel. Created by Children's Television Workshop and Jim Henson Productions for Israeli television, this series will delight in both English and in Hebrew.

Shalom Sesame #5: Jerusalem
Join your favorite Sesame Street characters, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and others, on an exciting tour of Israel. Created by Children's Television Workshop and Jim Henson Productions for Israeli television, this series will delight in both English and in Hebrew.
Chanukah on Sesame Street
Shalom Sesame #6: Chanukah
Bert, Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster, and other "Sesame Street" favorites are off on a magical tour of Israel. Your child will thrill to the sounds of their favorite pals talking in Hebrew and English, while host Jeremy Miller recalls the story of the Maccabees and the long, hallowed tradition behind the Festival of Lights.

Shalom Sesame #7:
Seasons
Join your favorite Sesame Street characters, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and others, on an exciting tour of Israel. Created by Children's Television Workshop and Jim Henson Productions for Israeli television, this series will delight in both English and in Hebrew.

Shalom Sesame #8:
Journey to Secret Places
Join your favorite Sesame Street characters, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and others, on an exciting tour of Israel. Created by Children's Television Workshop and Jim Henson Productions for Israeli television, this series will delight in both English and in Hebrew.

Shalom Sesame #9:
Aleph Bet Telethon
Join your favorite Sesame Street characters, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and others, on an exciting tour of Israel. Created by Children's Television Workshop and Jim Henson Productions for Israeli television, this series will delight in both English and in Hebrew.

Shalom Sesame #10:
Passover

Shalom Sesame #11:
Kids Sing Israel
(Grouches Don't)
Join your favorite Sesame Street characters, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and others, on an exciting tour of Israel. Created by Children's Television Workshop and Jim Henson Productions for Israeli television, this series will delight in both English and in Hebrew.

With Sarah Jessica Parker

General Jewish Videos


Joseph - King of Dreams (DVD)


Also Available on VHS
As the millennium turns, the crazed trend to produce direct-to-video sequels swells. Very few of these sequels are inspired, although most do not harm their origins. One might understandably pick up something labeled "from the makers of The Prince of Egypt with trepidation. Happily, the makers leave Moses alone and tell the tale of another Bible star, Joseph, known for his coat of many colors and a fantastic destiny. Joseph (voiced by Ben Affleck), his father's favorite son, is sold into slavery by his jealous half-brothers. After years of struggle, Joseph rises to be the Pharaoh's trusted adviser when his gift for interpreting dreams pays dividends. The 78-minute feature is rich in color and features several strong songs ("Better Than I" is the standout) written by newcomer John Bucchino. We're ready for the next "sequel."

Description from Amazon.com

VeggieTales:
Esther, The Girl Who Became Queen
A lonely trumpet solo and a narrator sporting a Jersey accent set a somewhat ominous, Godfather-esque stage for this stylish, 35-minute lesson about courage. But fear not: it's a VeggieTales story after all, and it soon kicks into action. Based on the Bible story of Esther, "just an ordinary girl" who becomes queen of Persia, this animated retelling tosses in the usual cup of Veggie humor to lighten the flavor of its very serious message. Esther, a young green onion, cannot understand why she has been chosen to wed King Xerxes (played by the humble pickle, Mr. Nezzer). Her cousin Mordecai (Pa Grape) assures her that G-d must have a reason; she soon discovers that her entire family's fate rests upon her ability to show courage under pressure.

Description from Amazon.com

Hanukkah


A Rugrats Chanukah



The Rugrats' Book of Chanukah
Picture Book Also Available
It's Chanukah the Rugrats way: Tommy the Macabee, an ancient idol named Cynthia (isn't that the name of Angelica's favorite doll?), and Stu's own turbo-charged menorah, which promises to bring down the house in every sense. This very good holiday special will certainly satisfy Rugrats fans, but also has crossover appeal to anyone looking for a very funny holiday program.
Chanukah on Sesame Street
Chanukah on Sesame Street
Bert, Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster, and other "Sesame Street" favorites are off on a magical tour of Israel. Your child will thrill to the sounds of their favorite pals talking in Hebrew and English, while host Jeremy Miller recalls the story of the Maccabees and the long, hallowed tradition behind the Festival of Lights.

Chanuka at Bubbe's
This was the first release in the "Bubbe's Boarding House" series of Jewish children's videos. It got rave reviews and awards when it first came out back in 1989, and is still one of the best Hanukkah videos on the market. It's done with a very creative cast of puppets, and the Hanukkah story is told in a way that kids of all ages can relate to.

Bubbe is a loving Jewish grandmother who runs a boarding house, where a variety of characters live and work together to do the chores around the place. Most of them are cooperative and get along well together, but, as often happens, there's that one egotist who thinks the world revolves around him. So of course, he ends up playing King Antiochus, the Greek ruler in the Hanukkah story who ordered the Jews to worship his statue. After the story is told and the lessons learned, everyone sings Hanukkah songs together, including a very catchy original that goes, "We light up the candles every night -- it's a beautiful sight!"

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

There's No Such Thing as a Chanukah Bush, Sandy Goldstein





Chapter Book also available
Awards:
  • 1998 Emmy Award Winner ("Outstanding Achievement for Children's Programs")
  • The Golden Eagle: Cine 1995 (The Council on International Nontheatrical Events)
  • Silver Plaque for Children's Films at the International Film Festival in Chicago
  • Bronze Plaque from the Columbus International Film & Video Festival
  • Second prize for Live Action Short Video at the Chicago International Children's Film Festival


Almost every Jewish child who lives in the U.S. has experienced it: that longing for a Christmas tree. And every now and then, he or she may encounter a child who has a Chanukah Bush, which is just "like a Christmas tree... but it's for Jews." Parents may find themselves hard pressed to explain why they won't put a tree up in their own home, even though others may do so. There's No Such Thing as a Chanukah Bush, Sandy Goldstein is the Emmy-winning (for Outstanding Achievement for Children's Programs) 23-minute film about young Robin, a girl who wants a tree so badly that she dreams of decorated trees beckoning to her. Despite her mother's explanation that people are Jewish in different ways, which is why Sandy Goldstein can have a Christmas tree and they cannot, Robin still desires one of her own. A night out at a Christmas party with her grandfather changes her wishes, though, when she learns that it's OK to enjoy other people's trees as you help them celebrate their holidays, just as they can help you celebrate yours. "There's a difference between celebrating something because you believe in it and helping friends celebrate something because they believe in it." This is a lovely story that will appeal to young children and help them to understand and appreciate the traditions and cultures of others.

Lights:
The Miracle of Chanukah
To be honest, I expected this to be yet another tired re-telling of the Maccabees versus the Greeks. I was pleasantly surprised, and this video quickly became one of my all-time favorite Hanukkah movies for children -- and adults, too!

In this presentation, the war theme is thankfully kept to a minimum. Instead, the focus is on the question of forced assimilation of the Jews into Greek culture. This is represented by the use of dancing animated Hebrew letters -- the "lights" -- that follow the Jewish characters and come floating up from the Torah scroll as it is read, etc. The replacement of the brilliant, dancing Hebrew letters with sluggish, duller Greek ones -- and the social oppression that follows -- is overcome, of course, by the Jewish heroes, who free the lights to shine brightly once more.

I especially liked the idea that the kids in the opening scene (in ancient Israel) are the same kids as in the closing scene (in modern times) which gives a sense of cultural continuity "from generation to generation." This is a story that is written on many levels, and will be enojyed by your family every year. Highly recommended!

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

A charming retelling of the Hanukkah story, the struggle of a people to maintain their religious beliefs and observances in the face of adversity. Also addresses the issue of religious freedom and the right to be different. Narrated by Judd Hirsch and Leonard Nimoy.

Hanukkah Tales & Tunes
This video tells the story of Hanukkah and some of the customs surrounding the holiday. There are songs, dances, and skits. The song about Antiochus sticks in my head. My daughter (age 3) asks to get this tape from the library over and over--I finally bought her a copy of her own.

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

Lovely Butterfly:
Chanukah
From the popular Israeli TV show "Lovely Butterfly." This program explains the meaning and the traditions of this holiday and features two of Israel's most popular performers in stories, games and familiar Chanukah songs. For ages 2-6.

A Taste of Chanukah
Most watching A Taste of Chanukah expect the customary recounting of how the Maccabees' oil lasted eight days instead of one allowing them to defeat the Syrians. And it's no surprise when host Theodore Bikel breaks into "Oh Chanukah" in Hebrew. But women singing "Ocho Candelitas" in Spanish? Or a gospel choir joining in on "Labach Heil"? This is not your ordinary Chanukah. In fact, this eclectic celebration of the Jewish Festival of Lights musically directed by Hankus Netsky features 150 musicians from the New England Conservatory of Music. Other participants include the Boston Community Gospel Choir, Cantor Morton Shames, a klezmer band, and an irreverent latke cooking demonstration by humorist Chasia Segal, who pokes fun at pancakes, food processors, and the Internet. The families in the audience laugh, applaud, and absorb the more solemn moments of this 56-minute PBS extravaganza with equal enthusiasm. Traditionalists get their lighting of the Menorah. Rebels get an R&B version of "The Dreidle Song." Everyone leaves happy.







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