update deskJewish & Israeli Holidays

TV network lights up with Chanukah programs for kids, families

“JLTV wants to offer our viewers a panoply of feel-good programming to demonstrate that even during these dark times, we present light,” executive vice president Brad Pomerance told JNS.

From the “Nefesh Mountain Hannukah Holiday Concert.” Credit: Courtesy.
From the “Nefesh Mountain Hannukah Holiday Concert.” Credit: Courtesy.

The Jewish Life Television Network (JLTV) is beefing up its lineup for Chanukah to provide comfort to people as the war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization that runs the Gaza Strip continues.

“This year, more than ever, JLTV wants to offer our viewers a panoply of feel-good programming to demonstrate that even during these dark times, we present light as we celebrate the ‘Festival of Lights,’” said Brad Pomerance, executive vice president for JLTV.

Among the Chanukah programs that will air holiday-themed episodes are kids’ programs “Rhythm ‘n’ Ruach,” with performers Shelley Dean and Adrienne Suson; and “A Musical Chanukah with Wacky Wendy” with host Wendy Hersh. It is also airing “Cruising Israel,” which focuses on different locales, including an oil farm, and the “Nefesh Mountain Hannukah Holiday Concert,” with the bluegrass band of the same name.

Other shows airing during Chanukah will include food-based fare like “Feed Me Bubbe” and “Flavors of Israel.”

JLTV’s regular programming includes classic B&W TV shows like “The Goldbergs” and “Bonanza,” though it has in recent years expanded its offerings and now includes Israel-TV shows like “Fauda” and “Prisoners of War,” along with “Servant of the People,” which stars the now-president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel, Pomerance said viewers have been tuning into the channel’s English-language news programs that are produced in association with ILTV in Israel, including a nightly news update.

Though Christmas-themed TV shows have become ubiquitous starting as early as September, Chanukah offerings remain sparse and have been met with mixed results. The classic “Friends” episode—“The One With the Armadillo”—drew criticisms from some as Ross focused on a fake Chanukah mascot instead of on the joy of the Jewish holiday, and the Hallmark Channel’s foray into Jewish-themed Chanukah films haven’t always hit the mark, say those involved.

The gold standard when it comes to Chanukah TV shows, according to many TV watchers, remains the Nickelodeon cartoon “A Rugrats Chanukah,” which first debuted in 1996.

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