Monday, August 13, 2018

A Joke to Start the Week - "A Shakespeare Audition"


It's another Monday, and time to share another Joke to Start the Week. Our July program at the Berkshire Hills Eisenberg Adult Vacation Center in Copake, New York, brought us back in touch with staff members and vacationers who shared jokes with us last year and who came prepared with a few more for us to share with you.

Bob Epstein, a retired assistant principal in the New York school system, is a recreation specialist at the Copake camp. He is also a veteran of other adult camps.

In today's post, Bob takes us to the rehearsal room at the New York Public Theatre where director Joseph Papp gives a veteran actor of the Yiddish theatre an opportunity to audition for a Shakespearean role.

Enjoy!

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Jews are Coming - Joshua Circumcises the Israelites (Parody)


In 2014 Israeli satire on TV took a bold step forward with the airing of a new series of sketches called HaYehudim Ba'im (The Jews Are Coming).

Written by Natalie Marcus and Asaf Beiser, the show asks questions about everything, from the Bible to Ben Gurion to the Ashkenazi leadership. Their approach is to  go into the texts and make you think. They say that they give all their subjects a critical look, but they're not attacking, just giving the story a fresh, modern look.

The series ran for three seasons on Israeli TV, all in Hebrew. Some of the half-hour episodes were divided into video clips and published on YouTube with English subtitles. We found a few new ones and we'll continue to share them with you. Today we're posting a parody that reimagines the scene after crossing the Jordan river where God tells Joshua to circumcise the second generation of men who left Egypt, where circumcision could not be practiced.

This video clip, like all the others in the series, may offend some readers who are not open to satirical interpretations of the scriptures and satirical views of Jewish life through the ages, but we believe that there's a place for humor everywhere and we hope you'll find the satire amusing.

Enjoy!

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Welcoming Shabbat with a North African Version of Yigdal by Marlene Samoun


Most synagogues conclude the Friday evening service with the liturgical poem Yigdal

Yigdal (Hebrew: יִגְדָּל‬ means "Magnify [O Living God]") is a Jewish hymn which in various rituals shares with Adon Olam the place of honor at the opening of the morning and the close of the evening service. 

It is based on the 13 Articles of Faith formulated by Maimonides (The Rambam). A translation can be found in any bilingual siddur in the language of the country where it is sung.

Today we're welcoming Shabbat with a version from North Africa sung by Marlene Samoun, a French singer, accompanied by violinist Rachid Brahim-Djelloul. The lyrics alternate in Hebrew and French.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Milton Berle Does Standup Comedy at Montreal Just for Laughs Festival


Milton Berle, comedian and actor, known for his many roles on Broadway and the screen, brought olde tyme standup comedy to the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal in 1991.

Just For Laughs is the world's premier destination for stand-up comedy. Founded in 1983, JFL produces the world’s largest and most prestigious comedy event every July in Montreal, as well as annual festivals in Toronto and Sydney.


Enjoy!

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#Throwback Thursday    #TBT

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Comedy Showcase: Bob Alper on Being a New England Rabbi



Rabbi Bob Alper, one of our favorite standup comedians, was the headliner at the finals of The Jewish Week's annual Best Comedian competition at the Broadway Comedy Club in June.

He gave us a copy of his standup routine and we're happy to share it with you in segments.

In this first segment he talks about how he became an adviser to presidential candidate George H.W. Bush at an encounter in New England, and comments on what constitutes a real Jewish accent.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

House Speaker Paul Ryan Discovers His Jewish Roots; Stephen Colbert Offers Him Bris


While participating in the taping of an upcoming episode of the PBS show Finding Your Roots, House Speaker Paul Ryan found out that genetic testing confirmed that he is 3% Jewish.

As CNN reported,
The show's host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., shared the Wisconsin Republican's reaction to discovering his roots during a panel on Tuesday.

"You could have knocked him over with a feather and then he was very proud of it," Gates, who also serves as an executive producer on the show, said during the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles. 
A publicist for the show confirmed Gates' comments during the panel, and Ryan's upcoming appearance on the show, in an email to CNN.
"We don't know who that Jewish person was, but we know it was on his mother's German line, which makes sense," Gates continued. "So somebody who was a Christian German slept with a Jewish German person and that's where that came from."
In a tweet on Wednesday, Ryan, who is Catholic, seemingly hinted at finding out about his roots.
 "Guess I need to start saying 'L'Chaim' now, too!" he tweeted, attaching a GIF of himself holding up a drink. He did not reference the show itself in the social media post.
Late night talk show host Stephen Colbert rushed in to offer Ryan a "Bris-Stravaganza" with mohels standing by. Here's the Colbert video clip. Enjoy!

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Monday, August 6, 2018

A Joke to Start the Week - "A New Medical TV Show"


It's another Monday, and time to share another Joke to Start the Week. We're still processing some of the classic jokes that we collected from the volunteer joke tellers who vacationed last month at the Berkshire Hills Eisenberg Adult Vacation Center in Copake, New York. The season has ended, but the happy memories linger on.

Retired accountant Ted Klein had as much fun telling his jokes as we had listening to them and recording them. Today we're posting another one of Ted's jokes.

Here's the setup: This man has a problem passing water, and he goes to a urologist. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

"Tevye's Daughters" from Yiddish "Fiddler" Sing "Making Whoopee" in Yiddish


Rachel Zatcoff and Stephanie Lynne Mason, who are currently playing the roles of Tevye's daughters Tsaytel and Hodel in Joel Grey's Yiddish production of Fiddler on the Roof, shared the stage last December at a special Folksbiene benefit concert honoring Broadway director Jerry Zaks.

The two singers performed a Yiddish version of Makin' Whoopee, the song made famous by Eddie Cantor in 1929.

Just below the Folksbiene concert video you'll find an excerpt from the film Makin' Whoopee with Cantor singing the song back in the day.

Enjoy!

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Welcoming Shabbat with Adon Olam at Touro Synagogue Jazz Fest in New Orleans


From its beginning in 1828, New Orleans' Touro Synagogue has evolved through changes in location, liturgy, clergy leadership, and the way New Orleans Jews view their religion.

 The synagogue bears the name of Judah Touro, son of Isaac Touro, the cantor who founded the oldest synagogue in the United States in Newport, Rhode Island in 1763.

With historic roots and a progressive heart, Touro Synagogue is a community that is filled with beautiful contradictions – a grand, historic sanctuary and an intimate, embracing chapel; an active group of knowledgeable sages and a vibrant young adult community; a love of enduring Jewish traditions and a drive for spiritual innovation and forward motion; a commitment to the inner life of the congregational family and a constant energetic force that engages with the renewal of greater New Orleans.

In 1991, Touro decided to invite guest musicians and a Jazz band to create the first Jazz Fest Shabbat, a special tribute to one of New Orleans’ greatest traditions, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Since then, this unique and nationally recognized worship fills the historic main sanctuary each year. Special guests have included Ellis Marsalis, Jeremy Davenport, Henry Butler, Theresa Andersson, Kermit Ruffins and his Barbecue Swingers, Marcia Ball, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, John Boutté, Dr. Michael White, the Joe Krown Trio with Walter Wolfman Washington and Russell Batiste, Jr., and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Each of them has added their own unique talents, making Jazz Fest Shabbat special every year.

Here's the congregation singing Adon Olam to When the Saints Go Marchin' In at the 2018 Jazz Fest Shabbat in May 2018.

Enjoy and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Buddy Hackett on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show in 1980


It's another Throwback Thursday and today we're turning the clock back 38 years to 1980 for another appearance by Buddy Hackett on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.

In this episode Buddy talks with Johnny about snakes, nutrition, medicine, psychics, seances, and recalls an episode when his recently deceased mother-in-law has a brief exchange in Yiddish with her brother.

Enjoy!

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#Throwback Thursday    #TBT