Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Back to Opinion

Replace Hebrew School Books With Israeli B-Movies

‘Don’t be a shvitzer,” said the mother to her son as he left to join the IDF. This is but one of the wonderful bits of motherly advice in “Eskimo Limon,” the 1978 Israeli cult classic. “Eskimo Limon” is among the many hilarious Israeli movies from the ’60s and ’70s known as “Bourekas films”: tawdry, cheaply made and rife with political incorrectness and cleavage shots. In other words, kids might actually look forward to learning Hebrew on Sunday mornings if Bourekas films made up the core of the curriculum.

Although these movies were passé in Israel by the 1980s, they remain powerful educational tools for teaching youngsters not only Hebrew but also Israeli culture and history. The films showcase the ethnic tensions that plagued Israel when the country itself was in young adulthood, usually pitting a Sephardic “good guy” against an Ashkenazic establishment figure. The sight of the short-shorts and hairy legs alone would be enough keep Hebrew school students laughing all semester. And the breast shots would help keep even the most rambunctious boys in their seats.

Memo to teachers: Do not show “Eskimo Limon” until the last week of class, lest your male students attempt to imitate the scene in which a young man inserts his genitals into the bottom of a tub of popcorn and then offers his date a handful.

Mason Lerner is the sports editor of The Faster Times.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.