December 7, 2019
Jake Epstein and Kelly Jakle; Photo courtesy of Litetime

The Jewish Stars of 2019 Holiday TV

To impress her Jewish boss at his Hanukkah party, Christy needs a crash course in Hanukkah tradition, and Jewish Jonathan wants to learn about Christmas to celebrate it with his girlfriend’s family. Mutual education inevitably turns into more in the romantic comedy “Mistletoe & Menorahs,” premiering on Dec. 7 on Lifetime. Starring Jake Epstein and Kelley Jakle, the movie’s story was inspired by Israeli-born writer Guy Yosub’s real-life relationship with his wife. 

Sharone Hakman (from left), Duff Goldman, Molly Yeh. Photo courtesy of Food Network

Food Network celebrates the Festival of Lights with several Hanukkah specials revolving around the fried favorites we love. On Dec. 21, four chefs take on the “Ultimate Hanukkah Challenge,” putting their own twists on latkes, brisket and sufganiyot in an effort to impress host Molly Yeh and judges Duff Goldman and Sharone Hakman. In the Dec. 8 episode of her weekly series, “Girl Meets Farm,” Yeh serves up an interfaith feast that includes roasted spiced chicken and apples, potato latkes with caramelized-onion sour cream, and raspberry rose-filled donuts. On “Good Eats,” Alton Brown investigates potato-pancake history and technique in an episode titled “Whole Latke Love,” premiering on Dec. 15.

Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt; Photo courtesy of Spectrum

Twenty years after it ended its seven-season run on NBC, “Mad About You” returns on Spectrum cable with its original cast, led by Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as Paul and Jamie Buchman. In the reboot, the couple struggles with aging and being empty nesters, now that their daughter has started college. Richard Kind (Dr. Mark Devanow) and John Pankow (cousin Ira) reprise their roles. The series premieres with six episodes on Nov. 20 and another six on Dec. 18.

The Orthodox title character not only resists his mother’s matchmaking efforts but secretly falls for a non-Jewish girl in the comedy “The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch,” now streaming on Netflix. Originally released in Switzerland as “Wolkenbruch’s Wondrous Journey Into the Arms of a Shiksa,” the German-Yiddish-Hebrew-language movie stars Joel Basman (“Land of Mine”) as Motti. 

Iliza Shlesinger; Photo courtesy of Netflix

Comedian Iliza Shlesinger’s recent nuptials provide fodder for jokes about wedding planning, honeymooning and bachelorette parties in her fifth Netflix standup special, “Iliza Unveiled,” debuting Nov. 19. Shlesinger also will star in a sketch comedy series for the streaming service in 2020.

Kat Dennings and Esther Povitsky; Photo by Ali Goldstein/Hulu

Kat Dennings (“2 Broke Girls”) stars as a woman who seeks to reconnect with her female friends after her longtime boyfriend dumps her in Hulu’s “Dollface.” Esther Povitsky (“Alone Together” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) plays her co-worker and friend in the comedy, which begins streaming on Nov. 16.

Lizzy Caplan plays the daughter of a murdered man whose possibly coached testimony may have convicted an innocent man (Aaron Paul) in the Apple TV+
drama “Truth Be Told,” premiering Dec. 6. Octavia Spencer stars as the journalist whose podcast played a part in the conviction, and she seeks to reopen the case two decades later. 

In director Michael Bay’s latest action thriller, “6 Underground,” six billionaires fake their deaths and form a covert vigilante squad to take down criminals. The cast includes Mélanie Laurent, Dave Franco and Lior Raz (“Fauda”). It premieres on Dec. 13 on Netflix. 

Idina Menzel; Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS

Idina Menzel hosts and performs songs from her “Season of Love” album while introducing stories about adoption in the 21st annual “A Home for The Holidays” special, airing on CBS on Dec. 22. Adam Lambert also performs. 

A young, female conductor shakes things up when she takes over as maestro of the orchestra in the French drama “Philharmonia,” debuting on the Topic streaming service at Topic.com and via Roku Nov. 21. The cast includes Tomer Sisley.