Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Israel Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Jerusalem's Unification


Jerusalem couldn't wait to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its unification. The week-long Jerusalem Day celebrations  started three days early on Sunday night with a fantastic light and sound show projected against the old city walls outside of the Jaffa Gate. 

The evening, which was attended by tens of thousands, including President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, told the story of the history of Jerusalem. Beginning with the binding of Isaac on Mount Moriah and continuing through Jacob's dream, the history of the city played out including King David, the Temple of Solomon, the Babylonian exile, the return to Zion and rebuilding of the Holy Temple, the Maccabees and the refurbished Temple of Herod and its destruction in the year 70 CE by the Romans.

The story resumed in the 16th century as entire Jewish communities began to resettle inside Jerusalem's walls, to the first Jewish settlements outside the walls, the division of the city during Israel's 1948 War of Independence, and climaxed with the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War.

The presentation included the voice of Mota Gur, who commanded the Israeli paratroopers who stormed the Temple Mount, taken directly from the two-way radio with which he was commanding his troops.

Jerusalem's old city was liberated on the 28th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, (tomorrow), which was on June 7, 1967. Israel will be celebrating 50 years since the liberation of Jerusalem throughout the entire week.


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Monday, May 22, 2017

A Joke to Start the Week - "The Rabbi's Hawaiian Vacation"


It's another Monday. Time to get back to work, time for another Joke to Start the Week and time to start the day with a laugh. Today Joyce Fama is joining us again with a joke about a synagogue's gift to their rabbi.  

When she's not telling jokes, Joyce is an award winning Connecticut sculptor. Her medium is fired clay  that is inished with custom patinas.

Here's the setup for today's joke: The rabbi of a Reform congregation is so appreciated by his congregation that they pay for an all expense paid trip for him to Hawaii. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

David Kilimnick (Jerusalem's Comedian) Reflects on Life as a Comedian in Israel



David Kilimnick, known as Jerusalem's comedian and dubbed Israel's father of Anglo comedy by the Jerusalem Post, has been telling his jokes and stories about the joys and perils of making aliyah since moving from Rochester, New York to Israel in 2003.

David owns and operates the Off the Wall Comedy Basement at the intersection of King George and Ben Yehuda Streets in the center of Jerusalem.


He was recently the subject of With the Help of Laughter, a five-minute video feature in which he reflects on his life as a stand-up comic in Israel. It includes excerpts from his comedy nights in English and in Hebrew.


Enjoy!


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Friday, May 19, 2017

Welcoming Shabbat with a Beatles Version of V'Shamru at Beit T'shuvah in Los Angeles


Beit T'shuvah is a Los Angeles based synagogue community with a mission to guide individuals and families towards a path of living well, so that wrestling souls can recover from addiction and learn how to properly heal.

They also have a band, and in 2015 they recorded a Beatles Shabbat service with all the familiar songs in the Friday night liturgy sung to some of the most popular Beatles songs.

We previously posted their version of Lecha Dodi set to Let it Be. Here's another excerpt from the service with the shul band welcoming Shabbat with V'Shamru set to Hey Jude.
 
 
Beit T'shuvah is led by Rabbi Mark Borovitz, described on the synagogue website as "spiritual leader, author, Senior Rabbi, ex-con, recovering alcoholic, and overall anomaly."

Officially ordained in 2000 at the University of Judaism with a Master's in Rabbinic Literature, Rabbi Borovitz combined his knowledge of Torah and street smarts to shape his calling: helping recovering addicts find their way in the world. 

After being released from prison in 1988 he began his work at Beit T'Shuvah. Over the past twenty-eight years, he has co-created one of the most exceptional approaches to addiction treatment and criminal rehabilitation and reintegration in the world.

The lead singer in this video is Cantor Shira Fox, the daughter of two Los Angeles cantors -- Herschel Fox, the Yiddish stand-up comedian we profiled in 2011 and his wife Judy, the cantor in the Synagogue for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles (where Joseph Telushkin is the rabbi),
 

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, May 18, 2017

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Henny Youngman in a One-Liner Performance in 1955


It's been awhile since we've posted a collection of Henny Youngman jokes, so we think Throwback Thursday is a good opportunity to share another bunch with you. 

Youngman, a British-American Jewish comedian and violinist, was very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, with many appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and on Laugh-in.


His stand-up comedy stood out from that of his fellow comedians in that he only told simple one-liner jokes, a format that was picked up years later by Rodney Dangerfield.

Henny explained the origin of his classic line "Take my wife, please" as a misinterpretation: in the mid-1930s he took his wife to a show and asked the usher to escort his wife to a seat. But his request was taken as a joke, and Youngman used the line countless times ever after.

This video clip goes back 62 years to 1955. The jokes come so fast that it's easy to miss some of the punch lines. We had trouble understanding his opening joke about losing two dollars betting on a horse named Nashua to place until we did some research and found this explanation: The day before Nashua lost a match race to the equally great Native Dancer. Obviously there can't be a place bet when there only two horses racing. 

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bob Mankoff, New Yorker Cartoon Editor, Picks His Favorite Jewish Cartoons


Last week JTA profiled Bob Mankoff, retiring cartoon editor at The New Yorker, and asked him to pick his favorite Jewish-themed cartoons from over the years, and he was happy to oblige.

As Gabe Friedman wrote for JTA,
Bob Mankoff has been the cartoon editor at The New Yorker for 20 years. But he’s been a Jew for 72.
The celebrated cartoonist, who is stepping down from his prestigious perch in May, has therefore had a long time to formulate his thoughts on Judaism and Jewish humor. For example, he once wrote an essay about how Jews have become the “People of the Joke,” as opposed to the “People of the Book.”
“The Jews of the Bible aren’t funny,” he told JTA. “[Judaism] is a decent first draft of how to behave. It’s a really good try for 4,000 years ago.”
In this video clip from a Moment magazine symposium, Mankoff shares his observations on Jewish humor. His seven favorite Jewish cartoons appear below the video.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Move Over, French & Italian. The World's Sexiest Accent is.....Israeli!


What accent do single men think is the sexiest? You might guess French or Italian, but you'd be wrong according to the latest poll. Surprise! It's Israeli. 

As Benyamin Cohen wrote on the website From the Grapevine,
One thing most men can agree upon is that there's just something special about a woman with an accent. Indeed, a new survey of 1,164 American men ranked the world's sexiest accents. “Accents have a tendency of taking our minds to unknown, and exotic places, adding a touch of mystery and intrigue to the speaker,” explained Brandon Wade, founder of MissTravel.com, the dating website behind the survey.

Israel came in at No. 1 on the list. "Israeli accents conjure up images of the Mediterranean,” Wade added about the region.
We suspect that fascination with the Israeli accent is partly due to the prominence of Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who stars in the new Wonder Woman movie, to be released on June 2. Here is an interview with her, in which her Israeli accent is unmistakeable.

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. 


Monday, May 15, 2017

A Joke to Start the Week - Three Gentile Jokes from Rabbi Bob Alper


Today we welcome back Rabbi Bob Alper -- rabbi, stand-up comic, and author, for another Joke to Start the Week.
 
We've been posting video clips from Bob's stand-up comedy sessions on Jewish Humor Central since November 2009.
 
The funny reform rabbi recently performed in a synagogue in Connecticut and graciously gave us permission to share some of his jokes with you. We're sharing three short ones today. 

So what makes them Gentile Jokes, as differentiated from Jewish Jokes? If you've been telling and hearing Jewish jokes for as long as we have, the answer is obvious. But just in case you don't get it immediately, we'll point out that these jokes by themselves are not funny. In fact, they're not even jokes. They're just simple narratives. What makes them funny is imagining how different they would be if the protagonists were Members of the Tribe.

The Jewish version of each would be filled with angst. The mother would not accept her son's excuse without pushback.  The shopper for a new sportcoat would have plenty to say about the price quoted by the salesman. And he new business owner would regale his friend with tales of woe.

So we thank Bob not only for his jokes, but for his insights into the intricacies of ethnic humor.

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.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Today is Lag B'Omer, a Day for Bonfires, Dancing, and Celebrations

Lag B’Omer is one of those little-known Jewish holidays, the kind that passes unnoticed among most American Jews. Perhaps they would be more interested if they knew it involved barbecue — and a couple of really good stories. Widely celebrated in Israel, it’s known as a family-focused celebration filled with grilled meats and carob cakes and bows and arrows.Read more: http://forward.com/food/371566/what-the-heck-is-lag-bomer-hint-it-involves-barbecue/
Lag B’Omer is one of those little-known Jewish holidays, the kind that passes unnoticed among most American Jews. Perhaps they would be more interested if they knew it involved barbecue — and a couple of really good stories. Widely celebrated in Israel, it’s known as a family-focused celebration filled with grilled meats and carob cakes and bows and arrows.Read more: http://forward.com/food/371566/what-the-heck-is-lag-bomer-hint-it-involves-barbecue/

Today is Lag B'Omer, the 33rd day of the period between Pesach and Shavuot. Around the world, the day is celebrated mainly in Jewish schools with children going on picnics and hikes and playing with toy bows and arrows in the field. In Israel, schools are closed for two days.


In Meron, in northern Israel, about 500,000 chasidim make an annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) to sing, dance, and light bonfires.  Rashbi's tomb is the epicenter of the Lag B'Omer celebrations because he was one of the students of Rabbi Akiva who survived a terrible plague that killed thousands of them, and he went on to write the Zohar, the book of Kabbalah.


The bonfires are meant to commemorate the immense light that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai introduced into the world via his mystical teachings.

For the last few years on Lag B'omer we've been posting videos of the bonfires and dancing in Israel on Mount Meron. This year we're taking a break from the bonfire videos (you can see them here and here) and posting a new video from Ari Lesser, the American Orthodox Jewish rapper, singer, songwriter, and spoken word artist.

In the video, Lesser tells the whole Lag B'omer story in his unique rapping style, getting the message across in an unusual but effective way.

Lesser grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. After graduation from the University of Oregon, he worked as a musician in Los Angeles, where he became known in the "hippie jam band" scene. While working on his first album there, his financer, a Rastafarian selling Medical Marijuana, gave him a copy of Psalms. Lesser found that he related to King David as a songwriter and started rhyming the psalms. 

This ultimately led him to a deeper interest in Torah and his Jewish roots, and he became a baal teshuva. He visited Israel on a Taglit-Birthright trip that he ended up extending to ten months, during which he studied at Yeshiva Temimei Darech in Safed and Mayanot in Jerusalem.

Happy Lag B'omer. 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.



Lag B’Omer is one of those little-known Jewish holidays, the kind that passes unnoticed among most American Jews. Perhaps they would be more interested if they knew it involved barbecue — and a couple of really good stories. Widely celebrated in Israel, it’s known as a family-focused celebration filled with grilled meats and carob cakes and bows and arrows.Read more: http://forward.com/food/371566/what-the-heck-is-lag-bomer-hint-it-involves-barbecue/
Lag B’Omer is one of those little-known Jewish holidays, the kind that passes unnoticed among most American Jews. Perhaps they would be more interested if they knew it involved barbecue — and a couple of really good stories. Widely celebrated in Israel, it’s known as a family-focused celebration filled with grilled meats and carob cakes and bows and arrows.Read more: http://forward.com/food/371566/what-the-heck-is-lag-bomer-hint-it-involves-barbecue/
Lag B’Omer is one of those little-known Jewish holidays, the kind that passes unnoticed among most American Jews. Perhaps they would be more interested if they knew it involved barbecue — and a couple of really good stories. Widely celebrated in Israel, it’s known as a family-focused celebration filled with grilled meats and carob cakes and bows and arrows.Read more: http://forward.com/food/371566/what-the-heck-is-lag-bomer-hint-it-involves-barbecue/
Lag B’Omer is one of those little-known Jewish holidays, the kind that passes unnoticed among most American Jews. Perhaps they would be more interested if they knew it involved barbecue — and a couple of really good stories. Widely celebrated in Israel, it’s known as a family-focused celebration filled with grilled meats and carob cakes and bows and arrows.Read more: http://forward.com/food/371566/what-the-heck-is-lag-bomer-hint-it-involves-barbecue/
Lag B’Omer is one of those little-known Jewish holidays, the kind that passes unnoticed among most American Jews. Perhaps they would be more interested if they knew it involved barbecue — and a couple of really good stories. Widely celebrated in Israel, it’s known as a family-focused celebration filled with grilled meats and carob cakes and bows and arrows.Read more: http://forward.com/food/371566/what-the-heck-is-lag-bomer-hint-it-involves-barbecue/
Lag B’Omer is one of those little-known Jewish holidays, the kind that passes unnoticed among most American Jews. Perhaps they would be more interested if they knew it involved barbecue — and a couple of really good stories. Widely celebrated in Israel, it’s known as a family-focused celebration filled with grilled meats and carob cakes and bows and arrows.Read more: http://forward.com/food/371566/what-the-heck-is-lag-bomer-hint-it-involves-barbecue/

Friday, May 12, 2017

Welcoming Shabbat with Lecha Dodi by Brazilian Cantor Ale Edelstein


There are many versions of Lecha Dodi, one of the most popular liturgical songs in the Friday evening Kabbalat Shabbat service, and the cantor/chazzan/prayer leader is the one who chooses the melody. 

Tonight we welcome Shabbat with the song stylings of Cantor Ale Edelstein of the Israelita Paulista Congregation of Sao Paolo, Brazil. In this two minute rendition he manages to include four different versions of Lecha Dodi

Edelstein has pop artist status in the Jewish community; he does two weddings and one bar mitzvah per week.He studied at the Tel Aviv Cantor Institute, a school run by the renowned Chazan Naftali Herstik.

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.