As tonight is the first night of Chanukah, we thought we’d take a look at some films and TV shows that recognise the Jewish Festival of Lights. And there’s one for every night of the festival, so instead of playing dreidal game after dreidal game you could watch one of these…
Chag Chanukkah Sameach
Full Court Miracle
Before the days of High School Musical, the Disney Channel had films with religion at the heart of them, yes they still had basketball and cute boys but there was a deeper message. This is a true Chanukah Miracle story and also rather educational if you don't know the Chanukah story.
Worth your gelt? Yes, it's got all the ingredients to make a great Disney movie and if you don't know anything about the festival you can learn too
The OC- The Best Chrismukkah Ever
It's as dramatic as any OC episode, but it's Christmas/ Chanukah time for the mopey teens. Seth explains that in the Cohen household they celebrate Chrismukkah. There is a bit of a hoo-hah with Marissa and Ryan caught shoplifting and Summer and Anna fighting over Seth. The Chrismukkah miracle is that firstly two girls fancy Seth and secondly Ryan getting off scott free for shoplifting.
Worth your gelt? Not really, non-Jews loved it and went on about it for months, some still do at the mention of Chanukah and Jews found Seth's Chrismukkah blabbing intensely annoying.
8 Crazy Nights
Unlike most films in the holiday season, alcoholism, bereavement, and depression are the key themes. Despite this it is an animated musical comedy, which really does not hold back on subject matter. You may recognise 8 crazy nights from a line in Adam Sandler's song The Chaunkah Song- "Instead of one day of presents, we get eight crazy nights!"
Worth your gelt? The Chanukah Song from Sandler was pretty great, unfortunately this doesn't quite live up to it. You need a scatological sense of humour to enjoy this and the ability to turn a blind eye to continuous product placement.
South Park - Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics
Mr Hankey is hosting his very own variety show and is made up of a selection of comedy songs. The highlight probably comes when Kyle sings "Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel", only to be joined by the rest of the gang who alter the words to hilarious affect.
Worth your gelt? Yes, it's very funny, the episode of course received lots of complaints but if you aren't up tight you'll love it and you'll find yourself singing along.
The Hebrew Hammer
A Jewish superhero, known as The Hebrew Hammer (amazing name, I know), who needs to save Chanukah from the evil son of Santa Claus, who wants to destroy the festival and make everyone celebrate Christmas instead.
Worth your gelt? It's a pretty crazy film and as you may have guessed received quite a lot of complaints - but not at the representation of the Christians in the films but the Jews?! Apparently it takes the parodies of Jewish stereotypes a little too far. If you like a full-on parody with Jewish twist then this is for you.
Friends - The One With The Holiday Armadillo
Ross wants his son Ben to get exited about the holiday season, in particular Chanukah. But Ben really wants a visit from Santa, unfortunately all the Santa costumes have gone, so he's left with an Armadillo, but he still manages to give Ben both Christmas and the education about Chanukah he wanted to.
Worth your gelt? Yeah, it's Friends isn't it? Apart from being a bit of a giggle, it raises the issues of children who have one Christian parent and one Jewish one and the confusion at this time of year, which is believe it or not isn't often brought up.
An American Tail
The film produced by Steven Spielberg, begins with a Chanukah scene, with Papa Mousekewitz giving Fievel and Tanya presents. It's a lovely start to the film before the real adventure begins.
Worth your gelt? Yes, at the time it was the highest grossing non-Disney film. It's an emotional story about a Jewish family immigrating, unusual stuff for a cartoon at the time but cemented its place as classic.
A Rugrats Chanukah
The story of Chanukah is told through the eyes of the Rugrats, who pretend that they are the main characters. At the same time Grandpa Boris argues with his old rival Schlomo about who will play the lead in the synagogue's Chanukah play.
Worth your gelt? It has become one of the most popular episodes of the Rugrats, which counts for something. It is genuinely enjoyable for all age groups and any religion and is a pretty funny take on the age-old story.