This is an annotated list of
DVDs for educators and librarians who want to have a core library of fine DVD
titles for use in Jewish education.
Pre-K/Kindergarten & up!
THE SECRET IN BUBBIE’S ATTIC (ages 4-11) Wonderful vignettes and songs. Egalitarian.
Use individual segments in classroom (e.g. for holiday teaching); Holidays include High Holidays, Sukkot & Hanukkah. Entire video can be used at home.
BENJAMIN AND THE MIRACLE OF HANUKAH (ages 4-9).
Basic story that parallels Hanukkah story. Recommended for “story hour.” Light.
THE SABBATH (ages 4-11) All schools.
Use only one film on the DVD at a time. Four great short segments to introduce concept of Shabbat.
Songs and Fun for Nursery and Up!
JINJA’S ISRAELI SAFARI (ages 2-11) Great way to introduce various animals. All schools.
A unique video (to be shown 10-15
minutes at a time) with delightful Hebrew songs.
LIGHTS (ages 7-11) All schools.
The classic imaginative animated video that addresses “the right of a Jew to be different… from a Greek…”
way to introduce the New Year as well as Israel. Has a wonderful story with lots
of of “edutainment.”
CELEBRATION (ages 8 up). All schools*.
ADVENTURE (ages 8 up). All schools*.
TREE (ages 8 up). All schools.
ANIMATED BOOK OF ESTHER (ages 8-13). All schools
A different way to augment teaching. The reading is alternately mixed
with simple Purim mmm
fun/jesting. Use 10 minutes at a time to “flavor” the holiday.
*ORTHODOX SCHOOLS: Males sometimes walk without head coverings.
THE EIGHTH DAY (ages 10 up) All schools.
A terrific Jewish identity trigger as well as another way to tackle the Hanukah period ff for older children. Uses a story set in the time of the Maccabees to deal with assimilation- Hellenization.
T.G.I. SHABBAT (ages 14 up). Reform & Conservative schools.
A videoplay which tackles some key questions about the Sabbath. This can be
used to stimulate discussion on the meaning of Shabbat.
AND REBELS: THE STORY OF HANUKKAH (ages 14 up). All schools.
A videoplay which provides an introduction to the Passover seder. A creative teacher can use individual segments from this DVD to get at some of the key elements of the haggadah.
HOW TO READ HEBREW…AND LOVE IT (ages 8 up). All schools.
A great way to augment phonetic teaching of Hebrew. Use for “pull-out” or send home with child. Also use 5-10 minutes at a time in classroom. This can also be terrific for teaching an adult how to read.
A DVD for toddlers that teaches Hebrew through the immersion method. This is not for every educator, but it does provide a nice intro to the shapes and sounds of the aleph-bet.
Customs and Ceremonies/Rites of Passage
THE EIGHTH DAY (ages 10 up). All schools.
A terrific Jewish identity trigger as well as another way to tackle the Hanukah
period for older children. The story brings in circumcision as a family of
Jewish rebels from the time of the Maccabees flees the Seleucid Greeks. Don they
have a brit, if it will put the family in danger ?
DISCOVERY (ages 10 up). Reform & Conservative schools.
THE JOURNEY (ages 10 up). All schools.
Set in 20th century, to be used as Jewish identity trigger as well as a means to generate discussion on meaning of Bar Mitzvah. The story is placed in the former Soviet Union and provides a nice introduction to the Soviet Jewry movement.
BAR MITZVAH IN ISRAEL (ages 10 up). All schools.
A look at Israeli youth. Classroom: Best to use only latter part of video
for flavor of Israeli Bar Mitzvah.
SEAL UPON THY HEART (ages 12 up). Conservative-Orthodox schools.
A wonderful look from Halachic standpoint. Though dress and hair styles date this video, it still provides excellent breakdown of ceremony. Rabbi Maurice Lamm provides background.
THE CORRIDOR (ages 12 up). All schools.
Set at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, this tackles the question of death through a story of an individual who has an "out of body" experience. This requires a skilled teacher who is ready to challenge students with this Science Fiction-style film, made to stimulate thought and discussion.
Introduces students to the Torah, the
scribe, the “sofer,” and how the Torah is written. Short of bringing in a
sofer, this is a good way to introduce how the Torah is written.
WRAPPED: THE HOW AND WHY OF TALLIT & TEFILLIN (ages 10 up). All schools.
Introduces students to Tallit &
Tefillin. Good "how-to" to wear, as well as providing a good background. Of
particular interest is the insight provided by a Sephardic rabbi who shows the
difference between Ashkenazi & Sephardi tradition. There are both a
traditional & egalitarian version.
THE PERFECT GIFT (ages 12 up). Reform & Conservative schools.
A great way to introduce and provide understanding for important items used
in everyday Jewish life. Use segments.
Bible- The Temple- Jerusalem
MISHKAN (ages 10 up). Conservative-Orthodox schools.
AMATZIA: THE BAR KOCHBA CAVES (ages 12 up). All schools.
Short enough to make this usable for an introduction to Biblical archaeology
as well as usable for Lag B’Omer.
THE ENIGMA OF THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS (ages 12 up). All schools.
With much attention again being placed on the Dead Sea Scrolls, this DVD does a fine job providing an introduction.
Quite usable for an introduction to Biblical archaeology as well as the time
of Jesus, if you are dealing with the beginning of Christianity
JERUSALEM: SOUL OF A PEOPLE (ages 12 up). All schools.
JERUSALEM POTPOURRI (ages 8 up). All schools.
Assemblage of short vignettes about a variety of Jerusalem’s sites. Use one
segment for a younger class; show several or entire program for older children.
MELODIES OF JERUSALEM (ages 12 up). All schools.
Why not teach Jerusalem through some of its most famous songs. Choose a few songs and give a different perspective on things. Orthodox schools: Performer sings “sleeveless.”
ISRAEL: NEVER A DULL MOMENT (ages 10 up). All schools.
Too long to show in its entirety for young children, but it provides great
chronological history. Only goes thru 1988, but still worthwhile.
IMPRESSIONS OF ISRAEL (ages 8 up). All schools.
About the best there is (still not excellent) for giving children a visual
sense of how Israel looks. Contain “beach” scenes that may not be
appropriate for all schools. You may wish to combine this with a few
carefully chosen YouTube videos.
ADVENTURE TRAVEL IN ISRAEL (age 10 up). All schools.
Creative teachers take segments (day for a dig, rock climbing, etc.) to further
an understanding of how Israel is special, yet like any other country.
KIBBUTZ (ages 10 up). All schools.
An introduction to the kibbutz. This video captures that flavor that makes
kibbutz special as an Israeli institution, like no other in the world. Note
that the entire nature of today's kibbutz is different. Many kibbutzim now have
industry and have changed ideology.. Still, this provides a good foundation.
ALONG WITH ISRAEL (ages 12 up). All schools.
Grades 3 up
PRESERVING THE PAST TO ENSURE THE FUTURE (ages 10 up). All schools.
A short introduction to the Holocaust focusing in on Yad VaShem and the
children. Effectively ties in present-day bigotry.
ANOTHER STORY (ages 7 up). All schools.
This 15 minute film does a great job tackling the issue of discrimination and
racial profiling. An excellent introduction to prejudice.
THE WORLD OF ANNE FRANK (ages 10 up). All schools.
A nicely done video on Anne Frank that incorporates history, interviews and dramatization. Wait until age 12 unless used within curriculum.
THE JEWS OF POLAND (ages 12 up). All schools.
Use one (of five) ten minute film to show a vibrant pre-war Jewish Poland.
Worth doing just to give visual sense of period. Also use video segments of
shtetl life from IMAGE
BEFORE MY EYES
WHEN OUR BUBBAS AND ZEYDAS WERE YOUNG (ages 10 up). All schools.
Use one or two of the beautiful segments to introduce the richness of Yiddish
language and culture and the breadth of Eastern European Jewish life prior to
TEVYE DER MILKHIKER (Tevye the Milkman) (ages 12 up). All schools.
Screen 5 to 8 minutes from this Yiddish classic movie. It could be the scene
when Tevye pleads with the priest to "Free" his daughter Khave or when he is
sitting shiva because she has intermarried. Discuss Eastern European Jewish life
and the differences with Jewish life in America today.
JEWISH-AMERICAN PATRIOTS (ages 10 up). All schools.
The video that you’ve been waiting for- An introduction to America’s most
notable Jews in our history.
WEST OF HESTER STREET (ages 12 up). All schools.
Though an hour long (often too long for younger grades) this blends drama and
history effectively. Deals with Jews being ashamed of new immigrant Jews and
the famous "Galveston Plan."
HOW TO TRACE YOUR JEWISH ROOTS (ages 12 up). All schools.
Some creative teachers have added genealogy to their teaching of American Jewry. Many successes using this for middle school.
THE ENCHANTING TRAVELS OF BENJAMIN OF TUDELA (ages 10 up). All schools.
This delightful animated short relates the travels of Benjamin and he sought out Jews across the world. A wonderfully brief way to present the status of world Jewry as dispersed through the ages.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MARRANO FAMILIES (ages 12 up). All schools.
Provides an understanding of the expulsion from Spain and Inquisition. Two nice and short videos in one. Show only one a session.
JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN THE MIDDLE AGES (ages 12 up). All schools.
Use each (of three) ten minute film to provide overview of the “richness” of
each of these important communities. Show only one a session.
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