What are the best new Jewish and Israeli videos?

A look at the most interesting, entertaining, important and inspiring new releases in the Jewish world.

Kosher-Style Videos on Bagels.TV (photo credit: screenshot)
Kosher-Style Videos on Bagels.TV
(photo credit: screenshot)

What’s the latest in Jewish and Israeli music and culture? We try to keep up with the trends on Bagels.TV, our portal for (kosher-style) Jewish videos. Every day, we sort through dozens of new videos to find the most interesting, entertaining, important or inspiring ones. Here are a half-dozen videos you probably haven’t seen, but you definitely should.

If you’d like this to become a regular feature, leave a comment below, or send an email to [email protected].

As Israel’s Ethiopian community celebrates its Sigd holiday this week, the spotlight is on a young crop of talented artists. Orit Tashoma is a rapper, spoken word artist and soul singer who has not shied away from criticizing Israeli society and its treatment of the Ethiopian community.

The 33-year-old native of Nazareth Illit was born in Israel shortly after her parents arrived on one of the first airlifts of Ethiopian Jews in Operation Moses. In her new single, Free (Chofshiya), Tashoma speaks her mind about the conventional pursuits of happiness and success. She’ll be performing at the Ethiopian Music Festival in Tel Aviv this Saturday night. 

Taboo, a new television series on Kan (Hebrew, available in Israeli only), is an intriguing and risky new project by journalist and comedian Hanoch Daum. Its goal is to laugh at the most vulnerable parts of society. Episodes to date have dealt with the overweight, the terminally ill, people with blindness and visual impairment, and the Ethiopian community. In each episode, Daum spends time with individuals, learns about their difficulties, pains, and challenges, and performs standup comedy where he laughs with them, not at them. Its a fascinating and gut-wrenching journey that promotes identification and awareness as it makes light of challenges without mocking them. 

In honor of Sigd, let’s take the Ethiopian episode. Daum takes four immigrants to visit a golf course as they talk about how they feel excluded from Israeli society economically and socially. Then, on stage in front of them, Daum jokes, “They told the Ethiopians they were coming to the land of milk and honey, but then they brought them to Kiryat Gat. There’s milk and honey, but only because they are checkout clerks at Rami Levy.” You can watch all the episodes (in Israel) here

Binyomin Miller

Few Jewish stars have made me laugh harder than Binyomin Miller. Miller started getting noticed in Yeshivish circles nearly ten years ago, when his Purim video "Things not to say on a shidduch date" went viral, as he parodied a young suitor saying all the wrong things.

Several years, his ridiculous rap video promoting a local community race set a new standard for self-deprecating parody in the English-speaking Hassidic world. His material is dense with Yiddish expressions and rabbinic idioms and may be somewhat inaccessible for the uninitiated, but even if you don’t get the humor, it’s worth watching the way he delivers it. His first video in several years, Types of Yidden, has him examining different streams of Judaism to find the one that’s right for him. See more here.

“Friday night Jews” (Freitagnacht Jews) is a German television series where host Daniel Donskoy travels to different cities around the world to ask local Jews what it means to be Jewish today. Donskoy, a playful and charming host, visits London, Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv, and Istanbul to meet with local Jewish celebrities, meet the community, and dig up stories that will make you laugh or cry. 

While the show is filmed in German, several episodes have been dubbed to English. In this episode, Donskoy is in London to meet British comedian David Baddiel and Dana Margolin, singer of "Porridge Radio". You can watch the Tel Aviv episode here.

I enjoyed watching this silly song called Chelm released this week by Rogers Park, a band comprised of a few Jewish friends living in Chicago. Chelm, the Polish city famously inhabited by fools in Jewish folklore, is a place where the leaders act foolishly and the wisdom of the downtrodden is derided, and sometimes it doesn’t seem so far from our regular lives

Since it’s Thanksgiving weekend, let’s end with Amar Lach Toda (Saying thanks to you) by Itai Levi. Levi, a 34-year-old Yemenite singer from Rehovot, has been one of the country’s top music stars in recent years, and this song has racked up nearly two million views since it was released two weeks ago. Okay, there’s absolutely nothing American about this Mizrahi-pop love song, but a little bit of gratitude is something we all need right now.