Sunday, June 26, 2022

Yiddish Word of the Day: Complaining

The Forverts series of short informal video clips called Yiddish Word of the Day is still going strong.

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're sharing some of the words and phrases as a regular feature of Jewish Humor Central.

Today we're exploring words and expressions involving the art of complaining.
 
Enjoy! 

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Friday, June 24, 2022

Welcoming Shabbat with V'Shamru by Cantor Shira Lissek of Temple Israel NC

Tonight we welcome another Shabbat with a selection from the Kabbalat Shabbat service, V'Shamru, sung by Cantor Shira Lissek of Temple Israel in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Cantor Lissek became Cantor of Temple Israel in July 2018 after previously serving as Associate Cantor of Park Avenue Synagogue in NYC since 2013. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, she learned the art of being a Cantor from her father, Cantor Leon Lissek of Congregation B’nai Amoona. She is also the granddaughter of the late Rabbi Pinchas Chasin of Philadelphia and great-granddaughter Hazzan Hirsch L. Chazin of New Jersey.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Don Rickles Picks on the Audience

Don Rickles was one of comedy’s most famous funnymen. For over 55 years he appeared in top showrooms and concert halls throughout the world. He was regarded among the world’s top entertainers. 

Rickles earned the nicknames “The Merchant of Venom” and “Mr. Warmth” (coined affectionately by Johnny Carson) for his style of humor in which he poked fun at people of all ethnicities and walks of life. 

Rickles’ style was never mean-spirited—it was all just part of the act. In reality, most knew him to be quite genial and pleasant. It has been said that being “insulted” by Rickles is like “wearing a badge of honor.”

Rickles was one of the last of the great old-school comedians. In this vintage segment from his 1972 special show Don walks into the audience and picks on one after another, all in good fun.

Enjoy! 

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  #Throwback Thursday    #TBT

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Special: Infectious Laughing on Candid Camera

Candid Camera was a popular and long-running American hidden camera reality television series. Versions of the show appeared on television from 1948 until 2014. Originally created and produced by Allen Funt, it often featured practical jokes, and initially began on radio as The Candid Microphone on June 28, 1947. 

The show involved concealed cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, such as a desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed or a car with a hidden extra gas tank. When the joke was revealed, victims were told the show's catchphrase, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera." The catchphrase became a song with music and lyrics by Sid Ramin.

Today we're sharing a classic episode in which the show's director, whose talent is laughing on cue, sits in a hotel lobby reading a joke book. We and the camera watch his antics and their effect on other people sitting in the lobby with him.

Enjoy! 

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Hasidic Comedian Mendy Pellin Shows His Magic Kippah to Ward Off Anti-Semitism

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.

In this episode, Mendy shows off the Magic Kippah, a new attempt to ward off anti-Semitism. It's made of hair and is designed to give you a gentile appearance without removing your head covering.

It comes in different sizes: Small for Modern Orthodox, Large for Ultra Orthodox, and Extra Extra Large for Chasidic.

It's a typical Jewbellish news report, with Mendy gently touching some hot buttons among Jewish denominations. But it's all in fun, so enjoy!

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Monday, June 20, 2022

A Joke to Start the Week - "An Interview with the Almighty"

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: A few years ago, Maggie Thatcher got an interview with the Almighty. She went up to heaven and said "Almighty, do you think there will ever be peace in Northern Ireland?"  And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, June 19, 2022

Hava Nagila Around the World: Andre Rieu and His Johann Strauss Orchestra in Poland

Last week Dutch conductor and violinist Andre Rieu took his Johann Strauss Orchestra to the Ergo Arena in Northern Poland, located between the Baltic Sea cities of Gdansk and Sopot.

The program included a rousing version of Hava Nagila. It's the 107th version of Hava Nagila that we've posted since starting Jewish Humor Central 13 years ago.

Rieu and the orchestra have turned classical and waltz music into a worldwide concert touring act, as successful as some of the biggest global pop and rock music acts.

Rieu's father was conductor of the Maastricht Symphony Orchestra in the Netherlands. Showing early promise, André began studying violin at the age of five. From a very early age, he developed a fascination with orchestra.

Rieu created the Johann Strauss Orchestra in 1987 and began with 12 members, giving its first concert on 1 January 1988. Over the years it has expanded dramatically, nowadays performing with between 80 and 150 musicians. Rieu and his orchestra have performed throughout Europe, North and South America, Japan, and Australia. The size and revenue of their tours are rivaled only by the largest pop and rock music acts.

Enjoy!

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Friday, June 17, 2022

Welcoming Shabbat with Mizmor Shir Sung by Cantor Emma Lutz of Los Angeles' Stephen Wise Temple

Tonight we welcome another Shabbat with a beautiful rendition of Mizmor Shir l'Yom HaShabbat (Psalm 92) as sung by Emma Lutz, senior cantor of the Stephen Wise Temple in Los Angeles.

This version of the Kabbalat Shabbat psalm was composed by Kalya Dinis and played by the Stephen Wise Temple Band.

Enjoy and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, June 16, 2022

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase: Archie Bunker Gets Another Comeupppance for His Anti-Semitism

It's another Throwback Thursday and we found another classic episode of All in the Family in which Archie Bunker displays his anti-Semitic side and gets a Yiddish comeuppance in return.

Edith goes shopping in a department store and leaves without paying for an item. Archie goes to see the store manager to explain that it was a misunderstanding and that the store should not press charges against her.

In his explanation he makes derogatory comments about the names and ownership of the big department stores in town. Archie is taken aback when he discovers that he was wrong to assume the manager will go along with his assumption of common ethnicity to establish common ground.

Enjoy! 

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  #Throwback Thursday     #TBT

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Special: Flying Phone Booth on Candid Camera

Candid Camera was a popular and long-running American hidden camera reality television series. Versions of the show appeared on television from 1948 until 2014. Originally created and produced by Allen Funt, it often featured practical jokes, and initially began on radio as The Candid Microphone on June 28, 1947. 

The show involved concealed cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, such as a desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed or a car with a hidden extra gas tank. When the joke was revealed, victims were told the show's catchphrase, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera." The catchphrase became a song with music and lyrics by Sid Ramin.

Today we're sharing a classic episode in which people using an outdoor public telephone booth got an unbelievable surprise.

Enjoy! 

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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Yiddish Word of the Day: Mirrors

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 mirrors, both literally and also how the word is used to reveal some truths.

Enjoy!

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Monday, June 13, 2022

A Joke to Start the Week: "El Al Instructions"

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: The El Al plane landed at Ben Gurion Airport, and as it taxied to the terminal the pilot came on the public announcement system.  And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, June 12, 2022

Two Jews Choose: Eliot Glazer and Rachel Antonoff Decide What's Jewish and What's 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.

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 with some Jewish celebrities. In this clip, Glazer and Rachel Antonoff consider beer vs. wine, heels vs. flats, ketchup vs. ranch dressing, Instagram vs. TikTok, and Babka vs. coffee cake as being either Jewish or Goyish.

Enjoy!

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Friday, June 10, 2022

Welcoming Shabbat with Adon Olam by the Bet David Choir of Sandton, South Africa

Founded in 1971 in Sandton, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, Congregation Bet David is a Progressive Jewish congregation. Bet David is a warm, welcoming, and inclusive congregation that invites individuals and families of all observance levels to worship and learn together.

This week we join the Bet David choir in a traditional rendition of Adon Olam, the song that usually ends the Shabbat Shacharit service.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, June 9, 2022

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase: Levy Gets Even with Archie Bunker

It's Throwback Thursday again so we're going back to a classic episode of All in the Family in which Archie Bunker asks Mr. Levy, his repairman, to finish a job that he started. 

But it's late Friday afternoon and Levy tells Archie that he'll have to do the job on Monday because it's getting dark and he has to be in his synagogue before sunset at 6:12 pm.

There are a few great lines in their conversation about religion, money, and rabbinic dispensation. But the clincher is the way Levy ends the exchange by getting even with Archie by using a classic Yiddish curse. It's not translated in the video clip, but it means "You should live in a house with a thousand rooms and you should have a stomach ache in each room!"

Enjoy! 

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   #Throwback Thursday    #TBT
 
(A tip of the kippah to Perry Mozes for bringing this clip to our attention.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Jews Who Built Hollywood: Vaudeville, Immigrants, and the American Dream

Some people say that Jews run Hollywood. Is it true? When you look into the history of the silver screen you’ll learn that, in fact, many Jews were involved in starting major film studios including MGM, Universal and Paramount. 

Today these companies are owned by huge and diverse corporations. The history of why Jews were involved in Hollywood’s humble beginnings starts with Vaudeville and the garment industry.

This video explains the Jewish connection with Hollywood and reveals the Jewish backgrounds (and original names) of the founders of Universal, MGM, and Paramount.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Klezmer for the 21st Century: Hava Nagila by the San Francisco Yiddish Combo

The San Francisco Yiddish Combo (SFYC) plays updated Klezmer music for the 21st century. The group was formed by accident when a love of Klezmer music collided with their collective backgrounds in every genre except Klezmer. 

Now the SFYC is embarked on a journey around the world to present their own unique blend of everything that is Klezmer, mixed with years of experience in the jazz, blues, folk, and even hip hop world. 

Made up of classically trained musicians who enjoy stretching musical boundaries, the SFYC is led by cellist Rebecca Roudman who has fronted groups all over the world bringing her virtuosic and fiery playing to stages from China to Italy and beyond. 

Last month the SFYC played Hava Nagila on stage to music fans in Ashland, Oregon at the Ashland World Music Festival. Enjoy!

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Friday, June 3, 2022

Welcoming Shabbat and Shavuot with a Harvest Festival Song by Yonina

Finding songs for Shavuot, which starts after the end of Shabbat tomorrow night, isn't as easy as it is for the other Jewish holidays. But Yonina has posted an old favorite, Saleinu al Ktefeinu, (Our baskets are on our shoulders), which we're glad to share with you today. 

Shavuot is also known as Yom HaBikkurim (Day of the first fruits) and Chag HaKatzir (Harvest Festival). 

Yoni and Nina Tokayer, a married musical duo who live in the small town of Pardes Chana, Israel, have been uploading home videos to Facebook and Youtube and reaching millions. They have both been singing and writing since they can remember, and have been making music together ever since they met.

Below the video you'll find the transliterated Hebrew and English lyrics.

We'll be observing Shavuot on Sunday and Monday, so our next post will be on Tuesday.

Shabbat shalom and Chag sameach!

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Thursday, June 2, 2022

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Victor Borge Introduces the Instruments of the Orchestra

We never get tired of watching the mischievous piano comedy antics of the great Victor Borge, the Danish comedian, conductor and pianist who achieved great popularity in radio and television in the United States and Europe.

His blend of music and comedy earned him the nickname "The Clown Prince of Denmark","The Unmelancholy Dane", and "The Great Dane."

He was born as Borge Rosenbaum to a Jewish family in Copenhagen. His parents were both musicians. He began piano lessons at the age of two, and it was soon apparent that he was a prodigy.

Much of his comedy has been preserved in his concerts and TV specials that are available on DVD, VHS, and now on streaming media. We laughed our way through many of the video clips available on YouTube before settling on this one to share today. In it Borge explains the role of the conductor and introduces each of the instruments of the orchestra in his unique hilarious way.

Enjoy!

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  #Throwback Thursday    #TBT

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Special: Goldfish Drink on Candid Camera

Candid Camera was a popular and long-running American hidden camera reality television series. Versions of the show appeared on television from 1948 until 2014. Originally created and produced by Allen Funt, it often featured practical jokes, and initially began on radio as The Candid Microphone on June 28, 1947. 

The show involved concealed cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, such as a desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed or a car with a hidden extra gas tank. When the joke was revealed, victims were told the show's catchphrase, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera." The catchphrase became a song with music and lyrics by Sid Ramin.

Today we're sharing a classic episode in which diners in a restaurant are given an unusual glass of water.

Enjoy! 

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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Comedy Showcase: Meet Gary Vider, Standup Comedian

Gary Vider is a New York City based Jewish comedian who has made a name for himself in the national comedy scene. His subtle style of humor took him all the way to the finals on season 10 of America’s Got Talent. His dry delivery has also earned him TV appearances on Conan and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He reminds us of Woody Allen in his early days of standup comedy.

His jokes have been published in the New York Times and Time Out NY Magazine. He was named a "Comic to Watch" by Esquire and was the winner of the 2014 Carolines on Broadway March Madness competition where he beat out 63 of the best young comedians. In early 2020, Gary released his debut comedy album, ‘Vider Las Vegas’. 

In this video clip Vider performs a comedy set on the Conan on TBS show. 

Enjoy!

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Monday, May 30, 2022

A Joke to Start the Day - 3 Versions of "Mr. Goldstein Goes to the Doctor"

It's another Monday, and time for another Joke to Start the Week. Today we're bringing you three short jokes 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 first joke: Goldstein took his wife to the doctor for surgery. The doctor produced a tube and put it in her mouth. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Today is Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) Celebrating Jerusalem's Unification

Today is Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), a commemoration of the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967. It is celebrated on the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyar. 

After two years of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the festivities will be held as usual to mark the 55th anniversary of this historic event.

Special events, concerts, tours, live music, exhibitions, workshops, and many more surprises are taking place throughout Israel during May.

Last night the celebration began with the unveiling of a huge Israeli flag at the Kotel (Western Wall).

Enjoy, and Chag Sameach!

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Friday, May 27, 2022

Welcoming Shabbat with Yedid Nefesh by Magevet, Yale University's A Cappella Group

Tonight we welcome Shabbat with an a cappella version of Yedid Nefesh, part of the Kabbalat Shabbat service. It's a beautiful rendition by Magevet

Founded in 1993, Magevet is one of the nation’s premiere Jewish a cappella singing groups. A coed ensemble comprised of undergraduate students at Yale University, Magevet is known for its sweet blend of voices, unique arrangements, and lighthearted sense of humor.

​The group’s diverse repertoire spans modern Israeli pop and Renaissance choral pieces to Yiddish folk tunes and Zionist classics. The members of Magevet are equally diverse: engineers and historians, Jews and Gentiles, New Yorkers and Californians, all united by camaraderie and a love of singing.

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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Allen Funt's Candid Camera Debuts on The Garry Moore Show

Allen Funt was an American television producer, director, writer and television personality best known as the creator and host of Candid Camera from the 1940s to 1980s, as either a regular television show or a television series of specials. Its most notable run was from 1960 to 1967 on CBS.  

Funt was born into a Jewish family in New York City, New York. His father Isidore Funt was a diamond wholesaler, and his mother was Paula Saferstein Funt.  

Candid Camera was a regular feature on The Garry Moore Show before becoming a standalone show in 1960.

Here is an episode from the first season as it appeared on The Garry Moore Show in 1959. Filmed at the Army Induction Center in Fort Dix, New Jersey. Army recruits were asked to give three commands -- Front and center, Present arms, and Dismissed. A group of recruits complies with the orders, with hilarious results.

Enjoy!

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#Throwback Thursday      #TBT

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Showcase: Allan Sherman Sings "A Most Unusual Play" Parody of Avant Garde Theater

Allan Sherman had a huge repertory of parody songs, so huge that we keep finding some on the Internet that we had missed when listening to his many albums.

Not all of his parodies made it onto record albums. We found a video clip of Sherman singing a parody of the Jimmy McHugh song A Most Unusual Day. In January 1966, he performed A Most Unusual Play on the Dean Martin Show, a spoof of avant garde theater.

Enjoy!

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