Best of 2016: What We Loved in Jewish Culture This Year


This year was a terrific one for Jewish creative output. There were many Jewish films, both mainstream and festival favorites, which saw their screen debuts. Jewish musicians released superb recordings. Jewish authors published numerous critically acclaimed books, and TV shows with Jewish stars and Jewish themes abounded.

There were even some fun social media posts and one-off videos that showcased Jewish humor and ingenuity.

Put simply, it was a year for serious naches.

The following are just a few of our favorites. Have anything you’d like to add? Add your comments below.

The Black Widow by Daniel Silvablackwidow

The bestselling novelist’s 16th installment in the Gabriel Allon series takes on ISIS attacks in Paris, with a suspenseful and depressingly current narrative.





Transparent, season 3

The third season of Amazon’s incredible Transparent prompted this Esquire headline: “Transparent Is the Most Jewish Show on Television.” It’s certainly the only one that features a female rabbi as a major character.

‘The Juslims’

“The Juslims,” a Halloween superhero duo of Jewish and Muslim friends, went viral after a Twitter posting.Two best friends — one Muslim, one Jewish — went viral after a photograph of their Halloween costume as the superhero duo “The Juslims” was posted on Twitter. The next generation will bring peace to us all!



moonglow-bookMoonglow by Michael Chabon

The space race, South Philadelphia, mental illness and Jewish family secrets on steroids. What more could you want from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author?





“HOLY SH*T (You’ve Got to Vote)”

“Holy Sh*t” was a pro-Hillary Clinton video sporting a prominent cast.

The Jewish star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rachel Bloom, made a pro-Hillary get-out-the-vote video for Funny or Die that features an incredible who’s who of TV funny people (plus Moby). Profane and hilarious.


You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen

This exquisite album came out shortly before the legendary Jewish singer-songwriter passed away. On its most powerful song, recorded with a synagogue choir, Cohen sang, “Hineni hineni — I’m ready Lord,” and God took him at his word.


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This Harry Potter spinoff produced and written by J.K. Rowling features orphaned Jewish sisters, Tina and Queenie Goldstein, as central characters. England’s Telegraph called them the story’s “feminist heroes.”


Toward a Hot Jew by Miriam Libicki

Graphic novelist Libicki grew up Orthodox and was an IDF soldier, which she details in this stunning collection of illustrated essays. A perfect foil for that Instagram account, Hot Israeli Army Girls, which recently went viral.




Broad City, Season 3

Broad City enjoyed another big year in 2016, and Ilana Glazer (left) and Abbi Jacobson even performed in Philadelphia.
Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer brought their hilarious Comedy Central sitcom back for a third season this year — with a final episode that had them boarding a plane for a Birthright trip. The pair came to Philly this year, too, for a Golden Slipper benefit.


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