Wednesday, May 18, 2022

A YouTube Polyglot Tries Out His Yiddish in Brooklyn

The New York Times recently published a feature article about Frankie Light, an African-American Brooklyn resident whose shtick is learning new languages and posting YouTube videos of him trying to use them in conversation in public places.

As Saki Knafo wrote in the article in the Metropolitan section,

Frankie Light is what’s known on social media as a YouTube polyglot. He studies various languages and practices them on the streets of New York, enlisting strangers as impromptu conversational partners. The often-charming results are then posted online. His most popular videos have gotten more than seven million views.

Frankie's adventures in the streets of Crown Heights and Boro Park were a mixed success. Despite his valiant attempts to engage residents in Yiddish conversations, most of them said they spoke "a bissele Yiddish" - a little Yiddish, and said they were more comfortable in English, Russian, French, and Hebrew. But we give Frankie a big "E" for effort.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Two Jews Choose: Josh Peck & Eliot Glazer Decide if Elon Musk, Piercings, & More Are Jewish or Goyish

It started with standup comedian Lenny Bruce back in the 1960s. He saw the world as absurdly divided between things that were Jewish and things that were goyish.

“Jewish”, he said, is stuff like pumpernickel and fruit salad. White bread and baton twirling, on the other hand, is distinctly “Goyish”. Clearly, he was really poking fun at such categories. And never more so than when we realize that “Jewish”, for Bruce, didn’t even refer, necessarily, to Jews: “If you live in New York or any other big city, you are Jewish. It doesn’t matter even if you’re Catholic; if you live in New York, you’re Jewish. If you live in Butte, Montana, you’re going to be Goyish even if you’re Jewish.”

Newer comedians have picked up the theme. Notably, writer and producer Eliot Glazer has been posting a series of videos reviving the Jewish or Goyish question. In this clip, Glazer and actor Josh Peck consider typing Elon Musk, piercings, arriving late vs. arriving early, Chinese food vs. sushi, burgers vs. hot dogs, and a host of other pairs as either Jewish or Goyish.

Enjoy!

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Monday, May 16, 2022

A Joke to Start the Week - "How to Remember New York"

It's another Monday and time for another Joke to Start the Week. This week we're posting another joke from Dr. Jay Orlikoff, a retired dentist from Centereach, New York, a community on Long Island in Suffolk County.

After a distinguished and meritorious dental career, he is shifting his focus to telling and posting jokes on YouTube. We were fortunate to find some of his jokes and we're sharing one of the family-friendly ones with you today. 

Here's the setup: A doctor from Los Angeles is in New York for a medical convention. As a remembrance of his trip to New York he decides to look for a souvenir to bring back. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, May 15, 2022

Mel Brooks Reflects on His Remarkable Life in Show Business in His New Book "All About Me"

Shortly after publication last year of his new biographical book All About Me, Mel Brooks was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on ABC News. 

The 95-year-old actor, comedian, film producer, director and screenwriter has had a career in show business that’s spanned over seven decades. His new memoir tells his journey of a lifetime.

In the interview, Brooks reflects on his career and offers anecdotes about the creation of some of his most memorable films.

Enjoy!

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Friday, May 13, 2022

Welcoming Shabbat with Yigdal by Israeli Singer-Songwriter Yasmin Levy

Yasmin Levy is an Israeli singer and songwriter of Judeo-Spanish music. 

With her distinctive and emotive style, Levy has brought a new interpretation to the medieval Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) song by incorporating more "modern" sounds of Andalusian flamenco and traditional Turkish music as well as combining instruments like the darbuka, oud, violin, cello, and piano. 

In this video Yasmin sings her interpretive version of Yigdal, a song traditionally sung at the end of Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday night.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase: Chico Marx Impersonates His Brother Harpo on "I've Got a Secret"

I've Got a Secret was an American panel game show produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman for CBS television. Created by comedy writers Allan Sherman and Howard Merrill, it was a derivative of Goodson-Todman's own panel show, What's My Line? 

Instead of celebrity panelists trying to determine a contestant's occupation, as in What's My Line, the panel tried to determine a contestant's secret: something that is unusual, amazing, embarrassing, or humorous about that person.  

On April 21st, 1954 Chico Marx fooled the I've Got A Secret panel into thinking he was actually his younger brother Harpo Marx! Here's the rare video clip.

Enjoy!

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  #Throwback Thursday    #TBT

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Showcase: Allan Sherman Sings "Strange Things in My Soup"

Allan Sherman dominated the world of song parody during the 1960s and recorded eight albums, starting with My Son the Folksinger.  

Listening to or reading his lyrics is a crash course in pop culture of the 1960s, with Sherman taking satiric swipes at summer camp, psychiatry, fad diets, Hadassah ladies, school dropouts, and upward mobility.

The popularity of his parodies got him many guest appearances on TV variety shows. In this video clip, Sherman sings his take-off on Frank Sinatra's popular Strangers in the Night.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Yiddish Word of the Day: I'm Sorry

Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter has been posting Yiddish words and expressions to give non-Yiddish speakers an introduction to how these familiar Yiddish phrases might be used in everyday situations.

Originally a regular series, they are now posted from time to time. Whenever we find a new one, we'll share it with you.

Schaechter, who was appointed the new editor of the Forverts in 2016, is the first woman to helm the paper in its 119-year history, its first editor to have been born in the United States, and likely its first editor who is shomeret Shabbat.


Today's expressions focus on the many ways of saying "I'm sorry" in Yiddish

Enjoy!

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Monday, May 9, 2022

A Joke to Start the Week - "Train Pass"

It's another Monday and time for another Joke to Start the Week. Today Mickey Greenblatt is back with another oldie but goodie.

Marshal (Mickey) Greenblatt received degrees from Columbia (BA and BS in Flight Sciences), a DC from Von Karman Institute (1963) and his PhD from Princeton in Aerospace Sciences. He worked as a researcher for NASA and the Naval Research Laboratory. 

With four other scientists, he founded Fusion Systems Corporation, which invented microwave-powered UV lamps for drying coatings. He founded and served on the boards of technology companies and is active in volunteer work. He served on the executive committee of the Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington for many years.

Mickey also loves Jewish jokes and sent us this one to share with you. Here's the setup: Sadie Cohen lived in a diverse neighborhood in Long Island. Her neighbor was a very sweet Black woman who stopped in one Saturday. And she said "Mrs. Cohen, I'm going into the city to see my daughter. Is there anything I can get for you?" And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, May 8, 2022

A Mother's Day Musical Special: Cantor Azi Schwartz Sings "My Yiddishe Momme"

Today is Mother's Day and we celebrate by posting a tribute to all mothers in the form of a new rendition of My Yiddishe Momme by Cantor Azi Schwartz of the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York.

My Yiddishe Momme is a song written by Jack Yellen (words and music) and Lew Pollack (music), first recorded by Willie Howard, and was made famous in Vaudeville by Belle Baker and by Sophie Tucker, and later by the Barry Sisters.

Tucker began singing "My Yiddishe Momme" in 1925, after the death of her own mother. She later dedicated her autobiography Some of These Days to Yellen, "A grand song writer, and a grander friend". Sophie Tucker made 'Mama' a top 5 U.S. hit in 1928, English on one side and Yiddish on the B-side. Leo Fuld combined both in one track and made it a hit in the rest of the world."

Enjoy, and Happy Mother's Day!

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Friday, May 6, 2022

Welcoming Shabbat with a Ukrainian Version of Shalom Aleichem by Cantors Sergei and Elena Schwartz

Tonight we welcome Shabbat with a version of Shalom Aleichem that's set to a famous Ukrainian song Nich Yaka Misyachna - "Нiчь яка мiсячна" (What a Moonlit Night)..

It's sung by Cantors Sergei and Elena Schwartz of Temple Sinai of Roslyn, New York, Long Island's largest Reform synagogue as a symbol of support for Ukraine.  

Enjoy, and Shabbat Shalom! 

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Thursday, May 5, 2022

Today Israel Celebrates its 74th Independence Day

Last night, after the end of Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day), a day of sadness and subdued music, Israel came alive with the joy of celebration as the nation started a 24 hour commemoration of Yom Haatzmaut (Israel Independence Day).

All across the country, the aromas of barbecues filled the air as the streets were filled with music and singing. The Israeli Air Force put on an air show over much of the country. The celebrations will continue all day today until nightfall.

Today we join Israel's i24 News in wishing the people of Israel a very happy 74th birthday.

Mazal tov and Chag Sameach!

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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Happy Birthday Israel! Tonight the Jewish World Celebrates Israel's 74th Independence Day

Chag Sameach to all of our readers and to the State of Israel in celebration of its 74th Yom Haatzmaut (Israel Independence Day). The celebration starts tonight at the conclusion of Yom Hazikaron and continues all day Thursday.

Today we're posting a tribute to the land of milk and honey. With a background of Israelis of all ages joining Koolulam singing Chai (We are alive) the video travels the length and breadth of the country with familiar scenes of popular sites and a clip of David Ben Gurion proclaiming the state in 1948. 

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

A Break From Humor on Yom Hazikaron - Israel's Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers

Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, is always preceded by Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for its fallen soldiers. The message of linking these two days is clear: Israelis owe their independence — the very existence of the state — to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for it.

This year Yom HaZikaron begins tonight and will be observed tomorrow until nightfall when the Yom HaAtzmaut festivities begin and continue through Thursday night.

To mark Yom Hazikaron we're sharing a video of Cantor Israel Nachman and the Estonian National Male Choir singing Mi Sheberach L'Tzahal, the prayer for the Israel Defense Forces, set to the melody of Eretz Tzvi, originally made popular by singer Yehoram Gaon.

Cantor Nachman serves as cantor at the Tel Aviv International Synagogue (TAIS-Temple Beth El) and is well-recognized for his talents, having given concerts all over Europe.

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Monday, May 2, 2022

A Joke to Start the Day - "Adam Gets His Wish"

It's another Monday and time for another Joke to Start the Week. This week we're posting another joke from the prolific Dr. Jay Orlikoff, a retired dentist from Centereach, New York, a community on Long Island in Suffolk County.

After a distinguished and meritorious dental career, he is shifting his focus to telling and posting jokes on YouTube. We were fortunate to find some of his jokes and are sharing one of the family-friendly ones with you today. 

Here's the setup: Very soon after his creation Adam was walking around Eden. He looked up into the trees and saw two birds billing and cooing. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, May 1, 2022

Yiddish Word of the Day: All About Cooking

Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter has been posting Yiddish words and expressions to give non-Yiddish speakers an introduction to how these familiar Yiddish phrases might be used in everyday situations.

Originally a regular series, they are now posted from time to time. Whenever we find a new one, we'll share it with you.

Schaechter, who was appointed the new editor of the Forverts in 2016, is the first woman to helm the paper in its 119-year history, its first editor to have been born in the United States, and likely its first editor who is shomeret Shabbat.


Today's expressions focus on cooking, both literally and also how they are used to describe someone who's furious and someone who always mixes into everyone else's business.

Enjoy!

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Friday, April 29, 2022

Welcoming Shabbat with Mizmor Shir by Atara Saracik and Her Israeli Band

Atara Saracik is an Israeli singer and musician whose band features a saxophone as well as a host of Middle Eastern instruments. Together they produce a beautiful haunting sound that transports the listener to Israel.

Here is Atara Saracik and her band singing Mizmor Shir l'Yom Hashabbat, from the Kabbalat Shabbat liturgy.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, April 28, 2022

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, a Partisan Song Heard 'Round the World

Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) started at sunset yesterday and is being observed worldwide today.

"Zog nit keyn mol" (Never Say; Yiddish: זאָג ניט קיין מאָל‎) or "Partizaner lid" (Partisan Song) is a Yiddish song considered one of the chief anthems of the Holocaust survivors and is sung in memorial services around the world.


The lyrics of the song were written in 1943 by Hirsh Glick, a young Jewish inmate of the Vilna Ghetto. The title means "Never Say", and derives from the first line of the song. Glick's lyrics were set to music from a pre-war Soviet song.

In this year's commemoration of Yom Hashoah, the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation shared versions of the song by a group of JPEF Partisans, the Ellenbrook and Carmel Schools of Perth, Australia, Seattle Day School, Washington, and the Herzliya School of Cape Town, South Africa.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Special: Alex Edelman at the Vegan Cupcake Shoppe

Alex Edelman grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family and, following high school, spent a year in a yeshiva in Jerusalem. During his time, he helped to establish the city's first comedy club -- Off the Wall Comedy. 

In 2008, he moved to New York City to study English at New York University. He graduated in 2012. During college, he continued to perform stand-up and later joined Upright Citizens Brigade. 

His first show, Millennial, won the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer, the first show by an American to do so since 1997. 

In this video clip, Edelman tells about what happened when he walked into a vegan cupcake shoppe in Brooklyn.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Touring Jerusalem Through the Eyes of a Running 3-Year-Old Toddler

We've toured Jerusalem many times, but we've never seen it through the perspective of a three-year-old toddler on the run. 

Thanks to the use of a special camera stabilizer, Jewlicious founder David Abitbol treats us to a unique visit through Jerusalem. 

Follow the 3-year-old toddler as he runs through the alleyways of Nachlaot, the food stalls at the Mahane Yehuda Market, the cobblestone roadways in the Old City, the Jews assembled at the Kotel and the bountiful space at Al Aqsa / Temple Mount. 

Enjoy!

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Monday, April 25, 2022

A Joke to Start the Week - "An Exotic Pet"

It's Monday morning and as usual we're starting the week with a new old joke. Here's one we found from the annals of Old Jews Telling Jokes. It's told by Joel Leizer, a dentist from New Jersey.

Here's the setup: There's a very wealthy man who likes exotic pets. He goes into a pet store and says "I would like the most exotic pet that you have in the store." And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Hava Nagila Around the World - Malika Hakimova Sings at Uzbekistan Talent Show

One of the joys of posting videos on Jewish Humor Central is discovering new versions of traditional Jewish and Hebrew songs as they are performed around the world, often in unexpected places.

Since we started Jewish Humor Central in 2009 we have posted 104 different versions of Hava Nagila. The song has shown up in many countries, including some unexpected ones (Scroll down the left column on this page and click on Hava Nagila in the Keywords list and you'll see what we mean.)

Today we're posting a version of Hava Nagila that was performed at a Uzbekistan TV Talent Show by Malika Hakimova.

Enjoy!

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Thursday, April 21, 2022

Farewell to Pesach and Welcome to Shabbat - Josh Goldberg Sings Oseh Shalom with Rap by Tamir Tencer

Josh Goldberg is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, producer, and soon-to-be ordained Cantor, whose perspective on life, love, faith, and the world is reflected in his music as well as his personal endeavors. 

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Josh studied music from an early age and is an accomplished pianist, guitarist, and singer, traversing a variety of musical genres with equal dexterity. 

Tamir Tencer is an Israeli rapper. As we celebrate the end of Passover and welcome another Shabbat, Josh and Tamir collaborate in a rendition of Oseh Shalom that expresses the wish that the one who makes peace in the heavens will bring peace down upon us. 

This song is dedicated to all those who are suffering in Ukraine or have been displaced from Ukraine, and all whose who are suffering due to terrorism in Israel. It's a prayer that we may collectively raise our voices and do everything in our power to stop this violence so we may all live together as creatures made in the divine image. 

We will be celebrating Shabbat and the last days of Pesach so there will be no post tomorrow. We'll be back on Sunday with our usual mix.

Shabbat shalom and Chag Pesach sameach!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Yiddish "Fiddler" Actors Form New Sexy Yiddish Singing Group Called "Mameles"

A trio of actors who met while members of the cast of the Yiddish version of Fiddler on the Roof have created a new singing group that brings back memories of The Barry Sisters.

As Julia Gergely wrote in the New York Jewish Week,

The women who make up the trio, Maya Jacobson, Raquel Nobile and Jodi Snyder, had gotten together for a night of fun and to reminisce about the 2018 production of “Fiddler on the Roof” (“Fidler afn Dakh”) at the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, where they met as members of the cast.

Jacobson had been listening to The Barry Sisters — a duo whose Yiddish covers were wildly popular in the mid-20th century —  and realized it was time for the next generation to carry on the tradition.

“I heard The Barry Sisters’ version of ‘Abi Gezunt’ and I knew I wanted to record this with these two, my favorite people and some of the best performers I know, and make a trio,” Jacobson, 25, told the New York Jewish Week. “I knew people in the Jewish community would be really into this. Yiddish is such huge part of Jewish culture stomped on by the Holocaust that is really being found again.”

Despite acting in Yiddish productions and singing Yiddish covers, none of the women speaks Yiddish fluently, though Jacobson bragged that she had a continuous 71-day streak in Yiddish on the language-learning app Duolingo.

The name of the group, The Mamales, is an homage to the 1938 Polish Yiddish film “Mamele.” It starred Molly Picon, “Second Avenue’s longest-reigning queen and the best-known Yiddish actress/singer later on Broadway,” according to the Milken Archive of Jewish Music. Picon wrote the lyrics for Abraham Ellstein’s melody and performed "Abi Gezunt” in the film, where it became an instant hit.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Passover Humor: Houston Texans Photo Shows Players Carrying Matzo Instead of Football

The Houston Texans football team stirred up a minor firestorm this week by posting two photos of their players carrying matzos instead of a football.

As Jason Miles wrote for KHOU-11,

Some believe the Houston Texans fumbled by posting photo-shopped images of two players holding Matzah bread instead of footballs to the team's social media.

The post includes the caption “Happy Passover to all who celebrate!”

“I think they’re trying to be funny but I can see how people would take offense to it,” said Thomas Welham of Houston.

"It’s a little jarring to see them photoshopped in there," said Charlie Nater.  "But I'm not offended by it.”

“I think there’s too much negativity in the world and people should just live and let live,” said Samantha Sutton.

“I thought it was great,” said Rabbi Aryeh Wolbe of the Torah Outreach Resource Center of Houston, or TORCH.  "People need to lighten up a little."

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Monday, April 18, 2022

Celebrating Passover with "When You Believe" from "The Prince of Egypt"

Today we continue our week of Passover programming with a rendition of the song When You Believe from the animated film The Prince of Egypt. It's from the Shabbat Shira service at the Park Avenue Synagogue earlier this year. 

Cantor Azi Schwartz was joined by his children Daniel and Emmy and Cantor Mira Davis on the Bimah of the synagogue.

The first feature film from DreamWorks to be traditionally animated, The Prince of Egypt (1998) is an adaptation of the Book of Exodus and follows the life of Moses from being a prince of Egypt to his ultimate destiny to lead the Jews out of Egypt.

The song When You Believe, written by Stephen Schwartz, became a commercially successful single in a pop version performed by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, and went on to win Best Original Song at the 71st Academy Awards.

Enjoy! 

A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Welcoming Passover and Shabbat with a Seder Medley by Cantor Azi Schwartz and His Children

Tonight Jews all over the world will sit down for the first of two seders and retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt about 3400 years ago. In Israel there will be one seder. 

This year the first day of Passover coincides with Shabbat, so instead of our weekly posting of a Shabbat melody, we are posting a medley of Pesach songs from the Haggadah.

Last year Cantor Azi Schwartz of the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City joined with two of his children to sing a medley of the most popular seder songs, including Ma Nishtana, V'Hi She'amda, and Dayenu.

Tomorrow and Sunday we will be celebrating Pesach with our family at home and in the synagogue, so there will be no Jewish Humor Central posting until Monday.  

If you will be unable to attend Passover services this year, many congregations will be conducting services on Zoom and on TV. The Jewish Broadcasting Service will feature Orthodox services from The Hampton Synagogue and Reform services from the Central Synagogue. The Conservative Park Avenue Synagogue will be live streaming its Passover services on their website.

Shabbat shalom and Chag Pesach kasher v'sameach!

A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.