Sunday, January 16, 2022

It's Time to Celebrate Tu B'shvat - Israel's Tree Holiday. Plant a Tree and Enjoy Its Fruits and Nuts

Tonight and tomorrow we celebrate Tu B'shvat, the 15th day of the month of Shvat, a joyous Jewish holiday that celebrates trees and nature. It brings us back to our roots, literally. 

Here's a short video to give you an introduction to this holiday that's widely celebrated throughout Israel.

A Tu B'shvat seder is becoming more popular each year.  Just type Tu B'shvat seder into YouTube and you'll find lots of examples to use as a basis for your own celebration.

Enjoy!

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Friday, January 14, 2022

Welcoming Shabbat with "Oseh Shalom" by Cantor Tifani Coyot of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles

Oseh Shalom Bimromav appears multiple times in our Shabbat services, as it is part of the Kaddish prayer.

A musical version of Oseh Shalom was composed by prolific Israeli composer Nurit Hirsh, who is also known for BaShana HaBa-ah and A-Ba-Ni-Bi.

Oseh Shalom Bimromav was composed for the first Hasidic Song Festival, held in 1969, where it took third prize. Her melody has since become part of the liturgy in synagogues and Jewish communities worldwide.

This week we're welcoming Shabbat with the singing of Oseh Shalom Bimromav by Cantor Tifani Coyot of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles, California. 

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase: Morey Amsterdam on Nudity in the Movies

It's another Throwback Thursday and we're taking you back 52 years to 1970 when comedian Morey Amsterdam made another appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Back in 2015 we posted a classic Morey Amsterdam standup routine with Polish jokes, doctor jokes, and golf jokes. This week we found another one of his routines in which he jokes about nudity in the movies.

Amsterdam was a great stand-up comedian in the days when political correctness was unheard of. His ability to come up with a joke on any subject earned him the name of The Human Joke Machine.

Amsterdam had his own TV shows from 1948 to 1950. Among his regular guests was song-and-dance man Art Carney. In 1950 he hosted the comedy-variety show Broadway Open House, TV's first late-night entertainment show, on NBC. It demonstrated the potential for late-night programming and led to the later development of The Tonight Show.

Enjoy!

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  #Throwback Thursday     #TBT

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Special: Joan Rivers Recalls When Her Daughter Melissa First Dressed Herself

Today we're turning the clock back 53 years to 1969, when Joan Rivers made one of her many appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.

In this standup routine, Joan reminisces about the time when her daughter Melissa, then 18 months old, dressed herself.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Remembering Bob Saget, Stand-up Comic, TV Sitcom Star, and Host of "America's Funniest Videos"

Bob Saget, whose comedy career included playing a wholesome dad on the 1990s sitcom Full House, hosting America's Funniest Videos, and performing raunchy standup comedy, died Sunday at 65 after a show in Orlando, Florida.

As Shira Hanau wrote for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency,

Even before he got to Hollywood, Saget honed his comedy as a misbehaving Hebrew school student at Temple Israel in Norfolk, Virginia.

“Well, a lot of it was rebellion,” Saget told the Atlanta Jewish Times in 2014. “In my Hebrew school training, I would spend more time trying to impress the girls in the class. I remember the rabbi taking me up to his office and saying ‘Saget, you’re not an entertainer; you have to stop doing this.’ I couldn’t stop.”

In 2021, Saget participated in a Purim spiel, or comedic reading of the Purim story, to benefit the Met Council, in which he played the villain of the story, Haman. “I’m self-loathing, too,” he quipped as he and other members of the cast sounded groggers to drown out Haman’s name.

Saget recalled his Jewish upbringing, including his Hebrew school experience and the Jewish foods his bubbe cooked, in the foreword he wrote for the 2011 book, “Becoming Jewish: The Challenges, Rewards, and Paths to Conversion,” by Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben and Jennifer S. Hanin.

“I was born a Jewish boy. I was circumcised. Thank God by a professional. That is not something you want done by a novice. Or someone doing it for college credit. So I ‘became Jewish’ instantly upon birth,” he wrote.

Saget did not consider himself to be very observant. But he did feel sense of spirituality on a trip he took to Israel with his parents in the 80s or 90s.

“It was quite a gift and there were many spiritual things that happened throughout and that I think is still the closest I’ve felt, because you can actually see it and feel it in the air in Israel,” he said.

Having lost his sisters and both of his parents — his father in 2007 and his mother in 2014 — at the time of his conversation with Sanderson, Saget talked about the difficulty in feeling spirituality or belief in God after experiencing so much loss.

“I go back and forth with my belief system, by the way. I’m not the best, most observant Jewish person you’ve ever met or talked to, and yet I’m Jewish and proud to be,” he said.

Here's a sample of Saget's comedy -- a skit on Saturday Night Live where he played a coach of a high school football team. 

Enjoy!

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Monday, January 10, 2022

A Joke to Start the Week - "Empire State Building"

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

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: Goldberg rushes into the office that he and his partner Horowitz have had for years in their real estate business. Horowitz is sitting at the desk doing nothing as usual. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, January 9, 2022

The Story of "Bei Mir Bistu Shein" with the Zamir Chorale of Boston

The Zamir Chorale of Boston and Josh Jacobson present the fascinating story of "Bei Mir Bistu Shein"-- how it went from being the hit of a Yiddish musical comedy in 1932 to become the best selling song in American History in 1937, sung by The Andrews Sisters.

Josh Jacobson narrates the story, followed by a delightful performance of the Yiddish and English versions by the Zamir Chorale of Boston. Edwin Swanborn is the pianist; Taki Masuko the drummer; Cantor Joel Caplan plays the clarinet; Deb Wollner, Susan Rubin and Deborah Melkin are the soloists. The recording is by Larry Sandberg.

Enjoy!

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Friday, January 7, 2022

Welcoming Shabbat with V'Shamru by Cantor Bryce Megdal

Last October Cantor Bryce Megdal and Rabbi Steve Engel led Central Florida's largest Reform congregation, the Congregation for Reform Judaism, in a fun version of Rabbi Moshe Rothblum's V'Shamru, a key part of the Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat service. 

While Cantor Megdal fully supports keeping traditional Jewish worship elements alive, such as nusach (the traditional mode of Jewish prayer chant) and older pieces of hazzanut (the traditional music of the Cantorate), and sincerely enjoys singing with a classical style, she also believes it is important to teach new and modern musical settings of Jewish liturgy. She is a Jewish music nerd through and through, always eager to learn new renditions of Jewish text.

Accompanying themselves with guitar and tambourine, they led the Orlando congregation in an ebullient welcome to Shabbat.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase: Myron Cohen Tells Psychiatrist Stories

Earlier this year we posted an old Myron Cohen routine that got a lot of likes, so today we're posting another one of his routines that we found in the same treasure trove of video clips from The Ed Sullivan Show. 

Let's turn the clock back 59 years to 1963 for a few minutes with this legendary comedian masking his perfect English diction with a Yiddish accent.

Cohen is a perfect example of comedy depending on timing and delivery and he was a master of both. His jokes are better described as funny very short stories with a twist. In this segment he tells a series of jokes about interactions with a psychiatrist.

Enjoy!

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  #Throwback Thursday     #TBT

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Special: Modi at His Best in Montreal

Modi Rosenfeld is one of our favorite young comedians and we've posted many of his stand-up comedy routines and skits. 

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Modi Rosenfeld moved to New York City with his family when he was 7. Before entering comedy, he was a Wall Street international banker. He now goes solely by the name Modi and is known for creating accents and characters.

He has made many appearances at the Just for Laughs festival, an annual summer event in Montreal. In this video clip, Modi tells about his trip on Lufthansa to Munich for a comedy performance, and also reveals the number one way to pick up women.

Modi has a wide range of funny persona. Sometimes he appears as a Chasid in full black dress, other times as a typical Jewish stand-up comic, and others as a non-denominational general comedian. This video shows him without any ethnic attributes. Any way we look at it, we think he's funny.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Comedy Showcase: Rita Rudner on How Nothing is Simple Anymore

We've been big fans of Rita Rudner ever since she started to appear on late night TV in the 1980s.

One of the hallmarks of her comedy is that it's clean, free from the vulgarity and shouting that many stand-up comics find necessary.  Her delivery is demure, tasteful, full of wry observations, and very funny.

Rudner started her career as a dancer, then switched to stand-up comedy about her dating experiences.  She married British producer Martin Bergman about 30 years ago and they have a daughter.  She is fond of Jewish humor but generally reserves it for when she performs for Jewish audiences.

Rita just released video clips of some recent performances. Today we're sharing her observations on how nothing is simple anymore.

Enjoy!

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Monday, January 3, 2022

A Joke to Start the Week - "A Wise Choice"

It's another Monday, and time for another Joke to Start the Week. Today we're bringing you another joke told by David Apfel. 

Now living in Modiin, Israel, David Apfel is an accomplished entertainer and chazzan. He sings in several languages with repertoire ranging from the musicals to opera. He has officiated internationally at several orthodox synagogues and he also specializes in ''Kosher Komedie''.

Here's the setup for today's joke: Goldstein is walking down the street one day in autumn and he's kicking the leaves aside. All of a sudden he hears a little voice from underneath the leaves. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, January 2, 2022

Comedy Showcase: Elon Gold on Giving Fake Names to Starbucks Baristas

Elon Gold has always been one of our favorite young stand-up comics. A practicing Orthodox Jew who attended Westchester Day School and Yeshiva University High School, he performs for Jewish and for general audiences. His Jewish routines tend to be family-friendly, and his general routines not so.

He performs in comedy clubs and has appeared at the annual Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, Canada. We're sharing a video clip of a recent Just For Laughs appearance. In this clip Elon wonders what it would be like if he walked into a Starbucks coffee shop and, when asked for his name to write on the cup, offered his Hebrew name.

Enjoy!

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Friday, December 31, 2021

Welcoming Shabbat with Yedid Nefesh by the Tandu Musical Group

One of our favorite singing groups has been The Fountainheads, an ensemble of young Israeli dancers, singers, actors and artists, all graduates and students of the Ein Prat Academy for Leadership, who have have joined forces to create new Jewish artistic content for today's Jewish World. 
 
Since 2011, we have posted 12 of their videos to great acclaim from Jewish Humor Central readers. But time passes, and groups drift apart. But the four seasoned original members of The Fountainheads stayed together in friendship, forming a new group called Tandu, performing Israeli classics and new compositions in different styles including folk, soul, and jazz.
 
Based in Jerusalem, Tandu is bringing back the soul to the music by collaborating between different styles from ethnic to classics, and to pop too.
 
Today we welcome another Shabbat with Tandu's version of Yedid Nefesh
 
Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!
 
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Thursday, December 30, 2021

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Stiller and Meara in "Couples Arguing" on The Ed Sullivan Show

Stiller and Meara (Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara) were a husband-and-wife comedy duo that was popular primarily in the 1960s and 1970s. They made frequent appearances on television variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show.

A lot of their humor focused on their different religious backgrounds, but actually Meara converted to Reform Judaism six years after marrying Stiller.

In this video clip from 1967, Jerry and Anne, as Hershey Horowitz and Mary Elizabeth Doyle, give advice to couples about how to deal with arguments.

Enjoy!

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     #Throwback Thursday     #TBT

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Showcase: Sam Levenson on Sending Kids to Camp

Sam Levenson (1911-1980) was one of the most popular Jewish comedians on television from the 1940s through the 1970s. He was a panelist on The Price is Right, What's My Line, and Password. He had his own show, The Sam Levenson Show, hosted the game show Two For the Money, and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 22 times.

His Jewishness was apparent from his speech and his stories about his large immigrant family in Brooklyn. It came through most clearly in his recordings of growing up Jewish in New York.

When we posted a Levenson story back in 2014 there were no video clips available, so the video on our post was a 78 rpm turntable spinning with audio background. Recently some videos have become available that we'll be sharing with you in the coming weeks and months.

Today's post is one of Levenson's appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show in which he delights the audience with his commentary about the joys of sending kids to camp. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places - Hava Nagila by Music Conservatory of Grand Canary Island

Grand Canary Island, a province of Spain, is situated 93 miles off the coast of Morocco and about 840 miles from Europe. But its remote location doesn't prevent it from having a wide variety of cultural and musical attractions: classical music, opera and Zarzuela, theatre, dance, jazz, music from Africa and the Americas, cinema and video to be enjoyed nearly every month of the year as part of international festivals.

Earlier this year the wind and percussion section of the Grand Canary Music Conservatory gave a performance of Hava Nagila. Today we're sharing the video of their performance, the 101st version of Hava Nagila that we've posted since we started Jewish Humor Central 12 years ago.

Enjoy!

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Monday, December 27, 2021

A Joke to Start the Day - "A Wise Professor"

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 college physics professor is giving a lecture to his class when one of the students who has been having a particularly difficult time with the course raises his hand. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, December 26, 2021

Yiddish Word of the Day: Little Things

Last year the Forverts launched a daily series of short informal video clips called Yiddish Word of the Day.

The series, written and narrated by Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter, aims to give non-Yiddish speakers an introduction to familiar Yiddish words and phrases and how they might be used in everyday situations. 

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.


We posted the first of this series in May 2020. Now that the Forverts is continuing the series, we'll continue sharing some of the words and phrases as a regular feature of Jewish Humor Central.

Today we get to learn the Yiddish words and phrases to describe little things.

Enjoy!

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Friday, December 24, 2021

Welcoming Shabbat with Lecha Dodi by Dudu Fisher and the Great Cantors

Today we welcome Shabbat with a performance of Lecha Dodi in a concert at the Mann Auditorium (Heichal Hatarbut) in Tel Aviv. The singers are Dudu Fisher and Cantors Yakov Motzen, Shlomo Simcha, and Avreimi Roth.

The Rishon Lezion Symphony Orchestra is conducted by maestro Elli Jaffe.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, December 23, 2021

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase: It's December 23! Happy Festivus to All of Our Readers!

Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. 

Originally created by author Daniel O'Keefe, Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the focus of the 1997 Seinfeld episode "The Strike", which O'Keefe's son, Dan O'Keefe, co-wrote.  

The non-commercial holiday's celebration, as depicted on Seinfeld, occurs on December 23 and includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength", and the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles." The episode refers to it as "a Festivus for the rest of us".

It has been described both as a parody holiday festival and as a form of playful consumer resistance. Journalist Allen Salkin describes it as "the perfect secular theme for an all-inclusive December gathering".

Here is the episode of Seinfeld that started this whole mishegas. Enjoy! 

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#Throwback Thursday       #TBT

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Showcase: Myron Cohen on Soup, Psychiatrists, and the Garment Industry

Earlier this year we posted an old Myron Cohen routine that got a lot of likes, so today we're posting another one of his routines that we found in the same treasure trove of video clips from The Ed Sullivan Show. 

Let's turn the clock back 61 years to 1960 for a few minutes with this legendary comedian masking his perfect English diction with a Yiddish accent.

Cohen is a perfect example of comedy depending on timing and delivery and he was a master of both. His jokes are better described as funny very short stories with a twist. In this segment he moves effortlessly through jokes about a fly in the soup, psychiatrists, and the garment industry.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Tovah Feldshuh is Dr. Ruth Westheimer in a New Show About Her Life at the Museum of Jewish Heritage

93-year-old Dr. Ruth Westheimer is well known as a sex therapist, talk show host, author, professor, Holocaust survivor, and former Haganah sniper. 

Her life story is being portrayed in Becoming Dr. Ruth, a limited-run show at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park in lower Manhattan. 

The one-woman show, written by Mark St. Germain and directed by Bay Street Theater’s Artistic Director Scott Schwartz, chronicles the life of Dr. Ruth, from her early years fleeing Nazi Germany, living as an orphan in Switzerland, to her service in the Israeli armed forces as a sharpshooter, and her later life and career in New York. 

Actress Tovah Feldshuh has transformed herself into a replica of Dr. Ruth for this performance, which runs through January 2.

Dr. Ruth and Feldshuh have been longtime friends, as revealed in this joint interview that appeared on the NY1 TV station last week.

Enjoy!

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Monday, December 20, 2021

A Joke to Start the Week - "Issy Loves Ada"

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

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: 

Issy Shapiro was 85 years old. He was getting so old that his children decided that he should go into a nursing home. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, December 19, 2021

Chasidic Comedian Mendy Pellin is Still Controlled by His iPhone, But Not by Siri

Mendy Pellin is our favorite Chasidic comedian. We've been running his shtick for ten years, and he keeps inventing new routines, from his Mendy Report on Chabad TV to the comedy midrash he created on the Jewbellish site that he co-founded.

Four years ago, Pellin posted a YouTube video explaining why he replaced his iPhone featuring Siri with a kosher phone in which his questions were answered by Avraham Fried, the Chasidic singer.

The answers were hilarious, guiding Pellin toward appropriate activities and away from anything remotely prohibited by Jewish law. The video also was used as a promotion for an event featuring Pellin and Fried.

Now Pellin has posted a follow-up video in which he asks more questions such as "What are the show times for West Side Story?" and gets answers like "I found a mincha on the West Side at 12:05 pm and 12:45 pm." 

We're posting both videos below. Enjoy!

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Friday, December 17, 2021

Welcoming Shabbat with "Mizmor Shir L'Yom HaShabbat" by Carmit Esther Shaham

Today we're welcoming Shabbat with Psalm 92, Mizmor Shir L'Yom HaShabbat. The song is part of the Kabbalat Shabbat service. It's sung here by Carmit Esther Shaham, an Israeli singer and songwriter, from her debut album of songs for Shabbat.

The Hebrew text of the first two verses of this liturgical poem is:

 טוֹב לְהֹדוֹת לַיהוָה
וּלְזַמֵּר לְשִׁמְךָ עֶלְיוֹן
לְהַגִּיד בַּבֹּקֶר חַסְדֶּךָ וֶאֱמוּנָתְךָ בַּלֵּילוֹת

The English translation is:
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High; 

To declare Thy lovingkin​dness in the morning, and Thy faithfuln​ess in the night seasons.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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.   

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Stiller and Meara in "Mother's Day" on the Ed Sullivan Show

Stiller and Meara (Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara) were a husband-and-wife comedy duo that was popular primarily in the 1960s and 1970s. They made frequent appearances on television variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show.

A lot of their humor focused on their different religious backgrounds, but actually Meara converted to Reform Judaism six years after marrying Stiller.

In this video clip from 1967, Jerry and Anne, as newlyweds Hershey Horowitz and Mary Elizabeth Doyle, make plans for inviting their Jewish and Irish mothers to spend Mother's Day with them.

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.

   
   #Throwback Thursday    #TBT