Eight Jewish Movies to Cuddle Up to in the Winter

December 11, 2023Wes Hopper

It's time to hunker down with a warm cup of cocoa and some feel-good Jewish movies. Whether you're trying to beat the winter blues or need a break from the news, we've got eight Jewish movies that are guaranteed to lift your spirits. We've also paired each movie with a tasty treat that ties in with the movie.

1. "Young Frankenstein" (PG)

When Mel Brooks paired Madeline Kahn with Gene Wilder in his spoof of a classic science fiction story, he discovered a winning concoction. Wilder plays the titular Dr. Frankenstein with Kahn as his fussy fiancé and Peter Boyle as the monster. The film is a loving riff on James Whale's 1931 "Frankenstein," with just as many callbacks as gags. As one of Brook's most cohesive and silly films, it definitely deserves a place on this list. Food pairing: Brandy or warm milk. If all else fails, Ovaltine.

2. "Crossing Delancey" (PG)

You can't really have a list of beloved feel-good Jewish movies without including Susan Sandler's "Crossing Delancey." Set in New York City in the late 1980s, the film follows Izzy Grossman, played by Amy Irving. Izzy is a slightly adrift 20-something bookstore worker who is pining fruitlessly for a pretentious author until her Bubbe enlists a matchmaker to find a decent suitor. The matchmaker suggests mild-mannered pickle vendor Sam (Peter Riegert). The two begin a halting relationship, with Sam proving to be confident and patient. A testament to the power of finding love in unlikely places, "Crossing Delancey " is the kind of warm-hearted romantic comedy they just don't make anymore. Food pairing: Pickles, of course!

3. "Clueless" (PG-13)

Despite claims by writer/director Amy Heckerling that main character Cher Horowitz (played by Alicia Silverstone) was never intended to be Jewish, "Clueless" has come to be known as a Jewish movie anyway. Based on Jane Austin's "Emma," "Clueless" takes place at an elite Beverly Hills high school during the 90s. Though Cher is commonly satirized for her obsession with clothes, she has remained a style icon for generations of fashion lovers. Between the nostalgia factor and a hefty helping of quotable one-liners, it's easy to see why "Clueless" has become a modern-day classic. Food pairing: Turkey sandwich with a swipe of mayo or any junk food from the 90s. Be sure to add a Diet Coke!

4. "An American Pickle" (PG-13)

"An American Pickle" sees Seth Rogen performing double duty by playing app designer Ben Greenbaum and his ancestor, Jewish immigrant Herschel Greenbaum. Herschel accidentally falls into a vat of pickles and is preserved in brine for nearly 100 years. He tracks down Ben and soon becomes incensed at Ben's lack of drive. Herschel recognizes the opportunities in front of him and begins building a pickle empire. The movie depicts the tension between honoring one's family and the modern-day emphasis on self. "American Pickleis a satire that will leave you smiling. Food pairing: Did I already suggest pickles? How about some refreshing seltzer water?

5. "The Wedding Singer" (PG-13)

Adam Sandler's romantic comedy, "The Wedding Singer, " inspired a few more collaborations with co-star Drew Barrymore, but none captured the magic of this film. Sandler plays a wedding singer who is forging a burgeoning connection with Barrymore's character as she prepares to marry her low-life cheater fiancé. Sandler's aura of Jewishness shines in this movie, whether or not it's explicitly part of his character's backstory. The film features typical Sandler tropes: hilarious songs, terrific one-liners delivered by minor characters, and a grand gesture of love at the end. Food pairing: Meatballs, preferably one in each hand.

6. "You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah" (PG-13)

Here, Sandler applies his romantic comedy to a film aimed at young adults, but with a twist. The will-they, won't-they dynamic centers around a pair of best friends who break up, make up, and repeat as their bat mitzvahs approach. Adam Sandler's daughter, Sunny Sandler, stars as Stacy Friedman, a 13-year-old girl suffering the slings and arrows of early teenage life. Adam Sandler delivers some of the best one-liners as Stacy's father in a light-hearted, touching film. Food pairing: No bat mitzvah is complete without Twizzlers! Munch on some Twizzlers or M&M's as you watch this coming-of-age flick.

7. "Borat" (R)

"Borat" has spawned one sequel, many Halloween costumes, and at least one person who insists on saying "very nice" in a faux-Kazakh accent. Sacha Baron-Cohen's satirical mockumentary is a genre unto itself. The titular character's blatant disdain for Jewish people allows the "real" folks in the film to express their own antisemitic sentiments. It's easy to forget just how funny Borat can be. If you like your comedy with a bit of an edge, "Borat " may be for you. Food pairing: American fine dining (cultural misunderstandings optional).

8. "An American Tail" (G)

"An American Tail"is an animated adventure from 1986 that follows a family of Jewish mice who immigrate to America to escape pogroms in Russia. The film is filled with memorable songs and feature the voices of Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, and Christopher Plummer. "An American Tail " became the highest-grossing non-Disney animated movie at the time upon its release. A delight for the whole family, this movie encapsulates the triumph of the immigrant spirit. Food pairing: Your choice of cheese to share with your mostly vegetarian cat (it's okay if they eat fish).

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