This week’s Jewish themed TV picks

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Dan Buffa, SPECIAL FOR THE JEWISH LIGHT

Everyone knows Hallmark is the channel where pure fluff is assembled: shows and movies that probably will make you cringe with oversaturated drama and theatrics. But before you have the complete urge to switch channels, they lure you in with more pancake syrup-type entertainment.

A good Hanukkah film on Hallmark?

Could this Hanukkah season introduce the first quality Hallmark film? More than that, is it a good Hanukkah film? “The Eight Gifts of Hanukkah” challenges that theory. The story revolves around a newly single optometrist finding a new love during the Festival of Lights.

The first good thing about it is that the film premieres Friday, Dec. 3, during Hanukkah, with Stars of David sightings, a Jewish fundraiser and some Jewish cuisine as well.

Unlike other Hanukkah-themed Hallmark films, there are more than a few stockpile Jewish characters. Both the movie’s stars, Jake Epstein and Inbar Lavi, are both Jewish; Lavi is Israeli born. Here’s the trailer:

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Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman fans, rejoice!

Via HBO Max, Jewish fans can find some comedic and earnest delight in the new stop-motion capture animated series, “Santa Inc.” The tale of a hard-working young elf (voiced by Silverman) who aspires to be Santa Claus (Rogen) one day, but faces adversity and hardship in reaching her goal.

Created by Alexandra Rushfield, viewers can expect a fair amount of raunchiness from Rogen, Silverman and the Max Original series — but with characters called Candy Smalls and special events like “the Annual State of the North Pole address, “perhaps some laughs and endearment can be found.

The Jewish community’s favorite kid’s band is back with a new album, but they want to be able to allow adults to love it as well. “Jews All Over the World,” released on Nov. 12, took 10 years to produce but the band wants you to think of it as “great music” and not just great kid’s music. A hard divide to find in any household around the world-how many times can you really listen to “Baby Shark” and “Raining Tacos” without reaching for a stiff drink?

One of the songs digs into the idea that no matter where you are in the world, there’s something Jewish to see. Another tune titled “It’s Purim” moves a little quicker. If you are interested in listening to some new songs with your family, click the Spotify link for the whole album.

Say mazel tov!

With the end of the year signaling presents and gifts, what about something new to send to your loved ones? Via SayMazelTov.com, the Jewish community can arrange for influencers, singers and comedians to send your person of choice a special message. Do you want Yoni Z to sing you a Hanukkah song? It’ll cost $54, so this may be a gift for a real close friend or relative, but the joy on someone’s face hearing something produced just for them is an essential prize to give another.

What about fashion lovers? Women’s fashion is being rescued by Chaya Chanin and Simi Polonsky, owners of The Frock, an e-commerce and fashion startup. They can give you new ideas and combinations to consider this month, with a small fee for the experience. When you’re paying for these things, you’re paying creatives and not a corporation.

Mel Brooks has a new memoir 

How many 95-year-olds publish a book? If you’re Brooks, one of the most iconic comedy minds in entertainment, it’s just another audience to thrill. The new book covers facts about his life and his career in show business–including his hilarious turns in “Blazing Saddles,” “The Producers,” “Young Frankenstein,” or “Silent Movie.”

The memoir, titled “All About Me!” was a result of bottling up an outgoing soul like Brooks during the pandemic. While some leaned into the idea of never leaving the house and discovering hidden areas in your home, the funny man got to writing and chronicling just how he became famous. A bit involving a meeting with Alfred Hitchcock over roast beef and pudding had Brooks arriving with a small bell attached to him. Comedy minds can’t afford to have limitations, and Brooks never has run into one. Seek out his book for a quiet moment before the December storm truly begins.

A good tennis movie with a Jewish link, not named “King Richard”

Last, but not least, for all the tennis lovers who already watched “King Richard” with Jewish actor Jon Bernthal, they should track down “Battles of the Sexes.” Starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell as Billie Jean King and Bobby Jones as the two squared off in a match, it also co-stars Sarah Silverman in one of her finest performances.

See you next weekend.