by Rachel Friedlander
How does one make theological discussions, Biblical questions, and the beliefs of Messianic Judaism lighthearted and entertaining? With a little flash animation and some quick wit, this seemingly impossible proposition is fulfilled. The Kosher Joe animated series, which debuted in October 2009, has already released six episodes.
In each installment, Kosher Joe, a rather pensive Messianic Jew, receives questioning emails from confused viewers. These emails broach common and controversial topics, encouraging discussion and debate.
Joe’s musings are often interrupted with the contrasting (and oft hilarious) opinions of his sister, Abbie, Uncle Moishe, congregational leader Isaac Jacobs, and Rabbi Brickman.
The points in each episode are presented in varying fashion—some, like “Green Onions for Passover?,” convey a simple, yet profound message with humor. Others are doused in Scripture and debate. Accordingly, runtimes range from a little over a minute to nearly four minutes.
Although the series may sound like Strong Bad removed his boxing gloves and converted to Judaism, these videos do more than entertain. They may not teach you how to draw dragons or mix your own techno music, but they do invite the audience to take time to ponder important and life-changing points. In some episodes, they make this opportunity literal, inviting viewers to participate in a poll or to email Joe himself.
But these are not the only form of interactive features. The website (http://www.kosherjoe.com/) that houses the series also provides links to resources that discuss the viewpoints presented in each episode. That way, whether one would like to take a closer look at the biblical issues or try a round of the “Kosher or Naught?” game, the site is an appealing destination for Jew and Gentile, for sane and meshuggeneh alike.