One day, after Shaina Silver-Baird graduated from theatre school, the rabbi from her bat mitzvah called her up to ask her if she’d be a cantor for an upcoming wedding. Silver-Baird was not religious; she didn’t go to synagogue, speak Hebrew or understand exactly what she was getting into. But she agreed. Years later, from that experience, a web series was born: Less Than Kosher, which premiered at the 2023 Toronto Jewish Film Festival and is now streaming on Highball TV.
The digital series follows Viv, a flailing pop star who, like Silver-Baird, winds up singing cantorially. Underscoring the electro-pop prayer remixes is a surprising amount of heart, digging into the definition of spiritual identity among secular Jews. Silver-Baird and the show’s co-creator, Michael Goldlist, join The CJN’s arts podcast Culturally Jewish to explain.
Note: This episode features explicit language.
Culturally Jewish is hosted by Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Our producer is Michael Fraiman, and our theme music is by Sarah Segal-Lazar. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To support The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt, please consider a monthly donation by clicking here.