Best Jewish Movies To Watch In Amazon Prime
One of Us
This powerful documentary from directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, the team responsible for Jesus Camp (a 2006 film about youngsters at an evangelical summer camp) follows three ex-Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn as they adapt to their new secular lifestyles. Etty Ausch is in the midst of a custody battle with her former husband, whom she claims was abusive throughout their marriage, while Luzer Twersky, who left behind his wife and children when he decided to stop being religious, is seen trying to make it as an actor. Meanwhile, Ari Hershkowitz reveals he was a child sex abuse victim and has struggled since leaving his community with drug addiction.
Award-winning director Marina Willer’s father was among only 12 Jewish families to survive the Nazi occupation of Prague during the Second World War. In Red Trees, she traces the perilous journey taken by the family, as told through the voice of her father, Alfred (narrated by Tim Pigott-Smith), from war-torn Eastern Europe to the solace of South America. The visually-stunning film features footage shot by Academy Award-nominee César Charlone (City f God).
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
With more shtick than you can shake a stick at, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, which picked up no fewer than eight Emmy Awards the first time around, has just returned for a new series. Rachel Brosnahan stars as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a young Jewish 1950s housewife-turned aspiring stand-up comic, alongside Alex Borstein as her manager, Susie Myerson, and Tony Shalhoub as her bewildered father, Abe. Created by Gilmore Girls writer Amy Sherman-Palladino, and inspired by her Jewish comedian father, the show is a homage to all things Jewish, from bris and brisket, to Palwin and pickles. Just when you think it can’t get any more Jewish, the cast takes off to the Borscht Belt in the Catskills for the second series.
When Heroes Fly
Written and directed by Omri Givron, co-creator of Hostages and based on a book by Amir Gutfreund, the show tells the story of four veterans of a special commando unit from the 2006 Lebanon War who reunite for a final mission – to rescue the girlfriend of one of the commandos, who has been abducted by a cartel in Columbia. A second series is already in the works for the thrilling drama, which won best series at the first Canneseries festival earlier this year.
This stranger-than-fiction documentary, which won an Emmy Award earlier this year, deals with the racist subculture among fans of Jerusalem’s Beitar soccer club, Israeli director Maya Zinshtein’s film focuses on La Familia, a group of far-right, anti-Arab Beitar fans and their response to the team signing its first Muslim players — two Chechens — as well as to the wave of lone-wolf attacks that engulfed Israel in 2015.
A box office hit in its native Israel, Maktub revolves around Steve (Guy Amir) and Chuma (Hanan Savyon) as two small-time gangsters, who decide to change their ways after becoming the sole survivors of a terrorist attack at a restaurant in Jerusalem. They visit the Western Wall to give thanks, where they accidentally pull out a note left by a man who asks for God’s help in rekindling the passion in his marriage — he earns little and must work long hours, leaving no time for romance. Chuma sees it as a sign and insists they were spared to become his guardian angels and also grant wishes to others who have left prayers in the sacred wall. Available on Netflix
This real-life thriller is directed by Ariel Vromen and based on Uri Bar-Joseph’s bestselling novel, The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel. The gripping plot tells the story of high-ranking Egyptian official Ashraf Marwan, who became a spy for Israel despite being the son-in-law of former Egyptian President Garmal Abdel Nasser and adviser to his successor, Anwar Sadat.
The Resistance Banker
Chosen as Netherland’s entry for next year’s Oscars, The Resistance Banker shows the audacious actions of Walraven van Hall and his brother, Gijsbert, members of a prominent banking family, who for three years bankrolled the Dutch resistance. Together, they stole $250million from Nazi-controlled coffers and borrowed an additional $250m from other bankers to carry out attacks, smuggle Allied pilots to safety and provide financial support to at least 8,000 Jews in hiding during World War II. The bravery of van Hall, who was recognised as a Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem in 1978, is powerfully told.
Gripping drama from director Chris Weitz retelling the true-life story of Mossad agent Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) and his team, who covertly hunted down and captured Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), while hiding in Argentina. Operation Finale shows Eichmann’s subsequent arrest and trial in Israel in 1961, where he was ultimately executed for his crimes.
Shtisel first aired in 2013 in Israel, but the popular drama’s reach will now be global thanks to a deal announced with Netflix. Focusing on a fictional, ultra-orthodox family from Jerusalem, this family drama follows a young bachelor and his widowed father, who search for love within the strict rules of religious observance.