Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hava Nagila Around the World: A Version by the Georgian Erisioni Ensemble


No, not the Georgia in the southern United States. Georgia, the country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan
In the late 18th century, the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti forged an alliance with the Russian Empire, which directly annexed the kingdom in 1801 and conquered the western Kingdom of Imereti in 1810. Russian rule over Georgia was eventually acknowledged in various peace treaties with Iran and the Ottomans and the remaining Georgian territories were absorbed by the Russian Empire in a piecemeal fashion in the course of the 19th century. 
Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Georgia obtained its short-lived independence and established a republic led by the Social Democrats in 1918, only to be invaded by Soviet Russia in 1921 and subsequently absorbed into the Soviet Union as the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In recent years, Georgians have shown an affinity for the most often played Israeli/Jewish song, Hava Nagila. Today we're sharing yet another example of world-wide interest in this popular melody to join the more than 50 other versions that we have posted over the years.

It was performed in Israel last month by the Georgian Ensemble Erisioni.
Enjoy!

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Israel Exports English Stand-up Comedy to London


Yohai Sponder and his fellow comedians Yossi Tarablus and Shachar Hasson have just completed two successful appearances in London, performing quick-fire stand-up comedy in English — way out of their usual comfort zone.


Stand-up comedy usually doesn't translate well between countries and languages, because many of the references are locale-specific and unrecognizable to audiences with a different frame of reference.
All three comics specialize in observational comedy, with 41-year-old Hasson — said to be one of the best stand-up performers in Israel — making a virtue out of his slightly less than perfect English, rushing in to laugh at himself as part of the joke.

For those wondering whether Israeli and British audiences laugh at different things, Tarablus, Sponder and Hasson provide a useful litmus test, since their English-language acts appear to be a direct translation of what they do in Hebrew — the difference being that they need to explain a little more about Israeli society for their London audiences.
Enjoy!
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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

MamaLA and the Mohel - A Funny Interview from the LA Jewish Journal



Rabbi Shalom Denbo of Los Angeles sat down for a funny interview last month with Julia Moss of the LA Jewish Journal. 

Rabbi Denbo is a mohel, and often finds himself telling jokes or being told jokes about  his profession.

As Moss, also known as MamaLA, wrote in the Journal,
Jokes? Denbo has heard them all. Years ago, as part of a marketing campaign, he ran an ad in the Jewish Journal that read, “Tell me a mohel joke I haven’t heard, and you’ll get a bris for free.” There were no winners. Not even: “Do you work for tips?”
Born in New Jersey, trained in Israel and now living in Pico-Robertson, Denbo is the author of “7 Traits: How to Change Your World” and has traveled as far as Tahiti, performing more than 1,000 brises, the ceremonial circumcision covenant that connects Jewish boys to their heritage on the eighth day of life.
Enjoy! 

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Monday, October 16, 2017

A Joke to Start the Week - "The Genie"


It's hard to believe that the month of holidays is over and that the next Jewish holiday is Chanukah in December. So for the next couple of months our posts will be holiday-free, but full of jokes and funny material, both old and new.

But today is Monday, and you know what that means. Time for a Joke to Start the Week. Once again we dip into the archives of Old Jews Telling Jokes, which we thank creator Sam Hoffman for making available on the Internet.

Today's choice is another classic told by motion picture producer and manager Mike Marcus. Mike was the President of MGM from 1993 to 1997.

Here's the setup: A guy is walking along the beach and he kicks something in the sand. He looks down to see what he just kicked, and lo and behold, it's a lamp. It looks just like Aladdin's lamp. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Israeli Wonder Woman Actress Gal Gadot Starts Saturday Night Live with Hebrew Monologue


Last week Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress who plays the lead role in the Wonder Woman movie, took a star turn hosting Saturday Night Live. The show was broadcast in Israel for the first time and Gadot opened her monologue with a special message in Hebrew.

After a shoutout to her Ema and Aba, Gadot told her Israeli listeners that the writers here know nothing about Israel and had her eating hummus in every sketch. The American audience ate it all up.

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Today is Hoshanah Rabbah, Last Chance for a Lulav Shake This Year, So Let's Make it a Big One!


Well, our month of holidays is finally coming to an end. Today is Hoshanah Rabbah, the fifth day of Chol Hamoed Sukkot, and the day before Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.

Whether or not you got a chance to shake a lulav with the etrog, myrtle and willow branches this year, we thought a video of the festivities in Jerusalem yesterday would bring a satisfying closure to this holiday period.

Here's a video of the throngs gathered at the Western Wall yesterday morning to say Hallel with their Sukkot symbols.

One lulav shaker somewhere in the world (we haven't located the place yet) couldn't make it to the Western Wall and did his shaking in a synagogue. This has to be the biggest lulav and etrog that we have ever seen. We'd like to see the carrying case for this giant palm frond. Watch the short video clip below the video of the scene at the Kotel.

We'll be celebrating Sukkot and Shabbat for the next three days and we'll be back with more Jewish humor on Sunday.

Chag sameach and Shabbat shalom!


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sukkot in Jerusalem: The Joy of Simchat Beit Hashoeivah in a Chasidic Yeshiva


When the Temple in Jerusalem stood, a unique service was performed every morning throughout the Sukkot holiday: the Nisuch ha-Mayim (lit. "Pouring of the water") or Water Libation Ceremony. 

According to the Talmud, Sukkot is the time of year in which God judges the world for rainfall; therefore this ceremony, like the taking of the Four Species, invokes God's blessing for rain in its proper time. The water for the libation ceremony was drawn from the Pool of Siloam (Hebrew: Breikhat HaShiloah‎‎) in the City of David and carried up the Jerusalem pilgrim road to the Temple. The joy that accompanied this procedure was palpable. 

Afterwards, every night in the outer Temple courtyard, tens of thousands of spectators would gather to watch the Simchat Beit HaShoeivah (Rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing), as the most pious members of the community danced and sang songs of praise to God. The dancers would carry lit torches, and were accompanied by the harps, lyres, cymbals and trumpets of the Levites. According to the Mishnah, (Tractate Sukkah), "He who has not seen the rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life." Throughout Sukkot, the city of Jerusalem teemed with Jewish families who came on the holiday pilgrimage and joined together for feasting and Torah study. A partition separating men and women was erected for this occasion. Nowadays, this event is recalled via a Simchat Beit HaShoeivah gathering of music, dance, and refreshments. This event takes place in a central location such as a synagogue, yeshiva, or place of study. Refreshments are served in the adjoining sukkah. Live bands often accompany the dancers. The festivities usually begin late in the evening, and can last long into the night.

Join us for a few minutes of Sukkot rejoicing at a Simchat Beit HaShoeivah at the Toldos Aharon center in Jerusalem.  The Toldos Aharon sect, based in Jerusalem's Meah Shearim neighborhood is one of the most extreme in the Haredi world, but certainly one of the most fascinating as well as devout.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

A Joke to Start the Week: "Kleptomaniac"


Another Monday, another Joke to Start the Week.

Here's another oldie but goodie from the archives of Old Jews Telling Jokes. It's told by real estate developer Harry Macklowe.

Here's the setup: A couple is in a supermarket. She has a problem. She steals. She's a kleptomaniac. She steals a can of fruit and she's taken before the magistrate. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: The Muslim Gatekeepers of Synagogues in Kolkata, India


For generations, the caretakers of Kolkata's Jewish synagogues have been Muslims. For a case study in communal harmony, we need look no further than Kolkata's Jewish Synagogues. At one point as strong as 6000, the Jewish community has dwindled to less than 20 members in the city of Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta.

Muslim caretakers have maintained the three main Jewish synagogues in Kolkata. Anwar and Rabbul manage the Maghen David and Beth El Synagogues, a role that has been in their families for generations. With communal tensions in the country raised, this is a shining testament to the bonds that hold the communities together.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wishing You a Happy Sukkot with the LEGO Sukkot 101 Movie


The Lego Movie franchise is a computer-animated adventure-comedy film series based on Lego construction toys. The franchise started in 2014 with The Lego Movie, which was directed and written by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

The film quickly expanded into a franchise, including two spin-off films, The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie, both with 2017 release dates; a sequel; and a third spin-off, The Billion Brick Race, scheduled for release in 2019.

The LEGO toy animation style was an inspiration for Bimbam (formerly G-dcast), the new media studio making Jewish videos, apps and animated series for kids and adults to create a film with Lego characters and props to provide a full explanation of the Sukkot holiday.

The LEGO Sukkot Movie is a thorough description of the holiday in a very entertaining style. We hope you enjoy it as we head into the week of Sukkot celebrations. We'll be celebrating Sukkot and Shabbat for the next three days and we'll be back with more Jewish humor on Sunday.

Chag sameach and Shabbat shalom!

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This video was made possible with generous support from The Koret Foundation, as part of its Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood.
LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this video.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What Do Los Angeles Cantors Sing When They're Not Singing on the Bimah? Karaoke, Of Course!


What do cantors do when they're not singing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur liturgical compositions? If they do their cantoring in Los Angeles, they let their hair down and sing some popular karaoke.

In this video, Los Angeles cantors sing a cover of "Stand By Me" in the style of Ben E. King. It's the first of a series of Cantor Karaoke videos produced by the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles.

It features Cantor Nathan Lam of Stephen Wise Temple, Cantor Joseph Gole of Sinai Temple, Cantor Chayim Frenkel of Kehillat Israel, Cantor Shira Fox of Beit T’Shuvah, Cantor Yonah Kliger of Temple Judea and Rabbi Cantor Alison Wissot of Temple Judea. 

Enjoy!

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*Track used with permission by www.karaoke-version.com and www.tencymusic.com