Sunday, March 1, 2015

Remembering Leonard Nimoy and the Jewishness of Star Trek


Leonard Nimoy, the actor who created the role of Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan on Star Trek, passed away on Friday at the age of 83. 

We were never among the trekkies who couldn't miss a single episode of the TV series and its many spin-offs, and we never waited on line for hours dressed in Star Trek costumes to get the first tickets to the 12 feature films that followed.

But we always took special pride in knowing that the series was built around Jewish values. While there were always rumors to that effect, we had a strong feeling that Star Trek owed a huge debt to Judaism. 

Nimoy verified this in some interviews that he gave over the years, especially the origin of the "Live Long and Prosper" Vulcan salute. One year ago we posted a video clip of a Nimoy interview at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. In May 2012 we posted the complete commencement address that he gave to the graduates of Boston University's College of Fine Arts, in which he spoke freely about his Jewish roots.

But with his passing, and as a tribute to this great Jewish actor, we wanted to share with you a more complete retelling, with appropriate props, of the origin of the Vulcan salute, and how it was based on his experience in an Orthodox synagogue when the Kohanim chanted the priestly blessing.

Mr. Spock, we will miss you.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

A Shabbat Greeting: Lecha Dodi in the Style of John Legend's "All of Me"


Sometimes a song takes flight and "goes viral" with millions of viewers playing it over and over. And sometimes a Jewish artist uses the melody as the basis for a new piece of liturgical music that has the same reaction in the world of Jewish music.

That's what happened when a singer named Refael Mirila used the song All of Me popularized by John Legend as the basis for a new version of Lecha Dodi, the song to welcome the Sabbath.

The original version has collected an astonishing number of 406 million plays. The Lecha Dodi version has amassed 242,000 views -- a very respectable number for a Jewish song.

Enjoy and Shabbat shalom! 

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO IS NOT VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY.  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, February 26, 2015

Hundreds of Families Gather in Williamsburg for Pre-Purim Party to Benefit Sick Children


Hundreds of families came together this week in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg for a special pre-Purim party. It was sponsored by Achim B'yachad, the Chassidish division Of Chai Lifeline.

Both organizations find ways to bring joy to the lives of young patients and their families through creative, innovative, and effective family-centered programs, activities, and services.

Fighting illness with love, Achim B'yachad restores the light of childhood to children whose innocence ended when cancer, life-threatening, or lifelong illness was diagnosed.


Enjoy!

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jokes in the Spirit of Purim From Minnetonka, Minnesota


In the spirit of Purim, a group of congregants and staff of Congregation Adath Jeshurun, a Conservative congregation with 1200 members, bravely try their hands at telling some of their favorite (old) jokes. 

Are they funny? You tell us with your likes and don't likes and comments below.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Shushan Funk - A Purim Parody of Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars


With Purim only nine days away, we're rolling out the Purim videos just as fast as they come in. 

Today we're posting a parody called Shushan Funk by the Rosenblum family, which has been producing original videos with new lyrics for the last few years.

What's it a parody of? Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, a song we never heard of, but  our kids tell us that it's one of the most popular songs on the radio today, having achieved the astonishing number of 265 million views on YouTube.

Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO IS NOT VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY.  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, February 23, 2015

A Joke to Start the Week - "The Rabbi and the Frog"


It's another Monday morning and it's time to start another week with a joke. This one's a short one, so if you look away for a few seconds, you may miss the punch line. We figured that with all the snow and ice in the northeast, posting a shorter joke will give you more time to get out and shovel it away.

Today's joke is another one from the archives of Old Jews Telling Jokes and the joke teller is 72-year-old psychiatrist Sue Levine. Here's the setup:

A Hasidic rabbi walks into a bar, and he has a frog on his shoulder. And the bartender says to him "Where did you get him from?" And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's Adar - Time to be Happy - Here Come the Purim Videos


The Jewish month of Adar started a couple of days ago, and as the saying goes, Mishenichnas Adar Marbim b'Simcha - When Adar arrives, our happiness increases. 

For Jewish Humor Central, when Adar arrives, it's time for the Purim videos. Each year since we started blogging, we've been seeing more Purim satire, spoofs, parodies and takeoffs on popular songs. This year is no exception.

With only 10 days until Purim, we'll be sharing the best of the Purim videos as they arrive. We're getting off to a good start with a rousing medley of Hebrew songs for Purim by Vocalocity, a 45-voice modern a cappella ensemble founded in June, 2013, centered in Hod HaSharon, Israel. 

Under the musical direction of Kevin Fox (UK) and the baton of house conductor Erez Tal, Vocalocity performs mostly original arrangements of a range of cutting-edge rock/pop/jazz music. 

The singers, all of whom come from a background in modern a cappella, range in age but are mostly in their 20s. Plans for 2015 include performing arrangements written for the group by leading arrangers from Israel and abroad, collaborations with leading arrangers, composers and artists, Performing with the Swingle Singers on their Israel tour in March, participating in the Aarhus Vocal Festival in Denmark on May, and most of all forging a distinctive, adventuresome musical vision and voice.

Enjoy!

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Hava Nagila Around the World: Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra (100 Violins)


You'd think that with the 48 versions of Hava Nagila that we've posted here, we would be satisfied and stop looking for more. 

But then we surfed some more and found a version by the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra, also known as 100 Violins.

So we just had to share it with you, and here it is, as recorded last December in Budapest, Hungary.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Bissel of Food from Seniors in Melbourne, Australia


The word bissel means "a little bit" in Yiddish. "A Bissel Of..." is a new series of short videos featuring residents of Jewish Care of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, who give us their answers to a range of questions. 

This Bissel of Food is the fourth video in the series. We previously posted "Bissel" videos with the seniors' answers to questions about Chanukah, Shabbat, and technology.

In this video the seniors tackle questions including:
1. Why are there carrots on top of gefilte fish?
2. What makes the perfect chicken soup?
3. Who makes the best chicken soup?

We are sure you will enjoy it as much as we do. It is sure to encourage discussion with your  friends and family and bring back memories of your own versions of traditional Jewish foods.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

How Decisions Were Made on the Kibbutz - From the Israeli Satiric TV Show "The Jews are Coming""

 
One of the characteristics of the Israeli kibbutz was the collective nature of decisions that affected the daily functioning of the community but that also had an impact on the lives of the individual kibbutz members.

In this excerpt (in Hebrew with English subtitles) from the hilarious new Israeli satire program Hayehudim Ba'im (The Jews are Coming) we are present at a 1919 meeting of the leadership of Kibbutz Degania, the first kibbutz established by Jewish Zionist pioneers.

The members of the kibbutz are meeting to decide, among other things, the sex of a newborn baby and whether the kibbutz can afford the importing of a mohel to perform a bris, given that the cost may exceed the purchase price of a cow.

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.