Time seems to have changed since October 7. Looking back at Kveller’s top stories of 2023, I couldn’t help but think that if you told me I’d written some of these stories years ago, I would’ve believed you. It feels like years and lifetimes have passed since some of them.
And yet, it’s worth remembering what you couldn’t help but click on this year. The pieces below are full of delightful stories, excellent shows, and music that delights and uplifts you — giving us ways to remember 2023 that go beyond just heartbreak and grief.
Enjoy this look back at 2023 — and here’s to more great stories (but better news) in 2024.
P.S. If you appreciated our work this year, would you consider making an end of the year gift to Kveller? Your donations play a crucial role in our mission to provide connections that matter to our beloved Jewish community.
Our top story of the year
Our top story of the year was, in fact, about Israel, and more specifically, how to talk about it with your kids. On October 9, Dr. Sivan Zakkai wrote a guide for how to handle these conversations with different age groups, allowing parents to tailor them to their needs, but also giving them the words they needed to make sure their kids weren’t accessing any information that would be inappropriate for them, and steering them away from the incomprehensible amount of misinformation still being disseminated about Israel and Gaza.
The top TV shows and movies you cared about this year
And now, for some distraction! The biggest film story you cared about this year was that of Steven Spielberg’s amazing mother, Leah Adler, featured in “The Fabelmans.” You can also read a delightful son-mother review of the movie.
And in times of trouble, who wants anything more than to binge an excellent Israeli TV show? Our listicle of the Israeli shows you can stream right now was one of the top viewed new stories on our site this year.
One of my personal highlights of this year was watching a screening of “Mr. Saturday Night,” the excellent and very Jewish musical starring Billy Crystal, which also included a Q&A with Crystal and Bette Midler. It was one of our most read stories, too.
You were also incredibly excited for the new show from “Unorthodox” creator Anna Winger, “Transatlantic,” which remains one of my favorite shows of the year. You can read my interview with Winger about it, in which she talks about why she never wanted to make a show about the Holocaust, and how “Transatlantic” changed her mind.
You also loved Alex Borstein’s incredible special, “Corsets & Clownsuits,” which is so incredibly Jewish and funny. We talked to Alex about her parents and Jewish identity, and her devotion to helping Ukrainian refugees.
“Barbie” was the biggest movie of the year, and so of course we needed to talk about that one uncomfortable Jewish joke (and about Barbie’s incredible Jewish inventor).
Some other top stories are about shows we have to look forward to in 2024 — including the “Shtisel” prequel “Kugel” and Hulu’s “We Were the Lucky Ones,” which stars Joey King and our favorite Israeli actor, Michael Aloni.
The new babies and baby names you loved reading about:
The music that brought you joy this year (aka the year of Babs)
It was the year of the Babs (is every year really the year of the Babs? I think so). We got a new Barbra Streisand memoir, over 1000 pages of glorious recollections from the sharp and funny diva herself and two new special album releases. At Kveller, we took a chance to remember Barbra singing “Avinu Malkeinu” and sharing a prayer for peace in Israel.
When it came to holiday parodies, your favorite was Y-Studs’ excellent Journey Passover one. Yet this collaboration between Y-Studs, The Maccabeats and Six13 — the three biggest Jewish a cappella groups, who sang a prayer for Israel together — deeply resonated with our readers.