Jewish Heritage and Holidays Review

Jewish Heritage and Holidays in ASL

Video Review 
by Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, 
Maryland School for the Deaf

© 2003

Jewish Heritage and Holidays in ASL
VHS, ASL, no sound
Tape One: Purim (14 minutes)
      presented by Beatrice Pfaff
Tape Two: Passover (80 minutes)
      presented by Beatrice Pfaff
Tape Six: Food Brachot and the Meaning of the Shma (8 minutes)
      presented by Samuel Landau
Tape Seven: What is the Meaning of Kosher Sex?:
Having Jewish Values in a Relationship (10 minutes)
      presented by Samuel and Rachelle Landau
Tape Eight: Midrashic and Rabbinic Stories (90 minutes)
      presented by Hillel Goldberg, Daniel Pfaff, and Joseph Pfaff

Each of these videotapes tackles a different topic relating to Judaism, with a wide variety in amount of information covered.  Most of the videos feature a single presenter at a time, telling the stories that underpin the Jewish holidays and customs which form the focus of that video.  The only exception is “What is the Meaning of Kosher Sex?”, which presents a dialogue between a husband and a wife about the importance of maintaining Jewish values in a marriage.  Each video presents stories, history, and traditions, sometimes including information about specific songs and celebrations, and historical background is given where necessary.  Occasionally demonstrations are given, as in the Passover videotape, where a group of young people show a Seder.  The presenters are expressive and clear, particularly the two teenage boys who present stories such as “Daniel and the Lions” on the Midrashic and Rabbinic Stories videotape.  Graphics are occasionally inserted into the stories, which adds interest and gives the viewers’ eyes a break.  Less successful is the overlay technique used in the Purim and Passover videos, where pictures are projected over the screen while the presenter is signing.  Though this helps to keep the various characters in the story straight, it makes it extremely difficult to see the signer.  Overall, this is a useful collection for Deaf ministry, particularly videotape #8, which contains 25 different stories.


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