Monday, August 21, 2017

A Joke to Start the Week - "Ours is Prettier"


Our suntan from spending a week at the Eisenberg Berkshire Hills Adult Vacation Center hasn't worn off yet, and neither have the jokes that we recorded while we were there earlier this month. 

Bob Epstein, a retired Assistant Principal in the New York City School System, entertained guests with his wide collection of stories and jokes, and we still have a few more to share with you.

Here's the setup for this week's joke: Harry and Sadie have been married for quite a long time. Sadie goes into a restaurant one day and she sees her husband at a table with a young woman. And then...

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, August 20, 2017

Menashe: A Poignant Funny New Film in Yiddish with English Subtitles and Non-Actors


Last week we saw Menashe, an unusual film directed by Joshua Weinstein and starring Hasidic comedian Menashe Lustig in the title role. Filmed in New York's Hasidic community using non-actors who speak entirely in Yiddish (with English subtitles). It's getting great reviews and we urge you to see it before it disappears from the theaters.

As Nick Allen wrote in his review on RogerEbert.com,
Weinstein captures Menashe’s turmoil with utmost sincerity and stunning control. Adding to its neorealist flavor, intimate cinematography places us in Menashe's cramped apartment, (where he can only feed his son soda and cake for breakfast) or in the middle of his tense meetings with The Ruv. And every now and then, a moment of meditation is offered by a gorgeous melodic motif (from a score credited to Aaron Martin and Daq Rosenqvist), inhaling and exhaling with just a few notes. Rarely has ordinary clumsiness been treated with such heart or beauty.
“Menashe” is tenderly paced and expressed, though it is also tense in its own way. And yet while the movie is full of a characters’ stress, it is not dominated by that feeling like so many other movies that show people squirming through the worst days of their lives. Instead, “Menashe” transcends its anxieties and becomes wholly comforting, like the closest that art can come to offering a big hug. What an extraordinary feeling to watch a movie that essentially wraps its arms around you and says, It’s okay, buddy. We’ve all been there.
Menashe is now playing in theaters in many cities. Check your local listings for showtimes, and 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.



Friday, August 18, 2017

Welcoming Shabbat with V'Shamru by Cantor Azi Schwartz of the Park Avenue Synagogue


Every Friday we try to post a song from the Shabbat liturgy to greet the weekly day of rest. These songs generally include Shalom Aleichem, Lecha Dodi, and Adon Olam

Today's Shabbat song is V'Shamru, part of the Friday night and Shabbat morning services. It is taken from Exodus 31:16-17. Shabbat is created to give us rest and to restore the soul. “Vayinafash” is from the Hebrew word “nefesh” (soul). Shabbat is the promise that there will be a time of peace for all people. As God guards us, we guard Shabbat.

וְשָׁמְרוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת, לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת לְדֹרֹתָם בְּרִית עוֹלָם. בֵּינִי וּבֵן בְּנֵי יִשׂרָאֵל אוֹת הִיא לְעֹלָם. כִּי שֵֽׁשֶׁת יָמִים עָשָׂה יהוה אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת הָאֳרֶץ, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שָׁבַת וַיִּנָּפַשׁ.

The children of Israel shall observe the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations as a covenant for all time. It is a sign forever between Me and people of Israel. For in six days the Eternal One made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day God ceased from work and rested.

In this video, Azi Schwartz, cantor of the Conservative Park Avenue Synagogue in New York, leads the congregation in singing V'Shamru.

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, August 17, 2017

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Harpo Marx and Lucille Ball in the Mirror Scene


The Marx Brothers were a great team in all of their movies, but each brother was a comedian in his own right. Harpo got a chance to show off his comedic talents in this sketch that he did with Lucille Ball in an episode of I Love Lucy.

This episode, originally in black and white, was colorized. It's a takeoff on the famous scene with Groucho Marx in the 1933 film Duck Soup, one of the Marx Brothers' funniest. It comes from an old vaudeville routine used by other mimes.

The premise of the episode is that Lucy promises nearsighted Carolyn Appleby she’ll meet some Hollywood celebrities. To fulfill the boast she dresses up as a few such as Clark Gable, Gary Cooper as well as Harpo Marx. The real Harpo shows up for this great mirror scene.

Harpo, born Adolph Marx in 1888, got his stage name during a card game at the Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg, Illinois. The dealer called him "Harpo" because he played the harp. He learned how to hold it properly from a picture of an angel playing a harp that he saw in a five-and-dime store.

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, August 16, 2017

Documentary on Curious George's Jewish Creators is Now Available on Home Media


A year ago, we wrote about plans to make a documentary about Hans and Margret Rey, the husband-and-wife team behind the multimillion-selling Curious George children's books.

The 75 minute documentary, produced and directed by Ema Ryan Yamazaki and narrated by Sam Waterston is now complete. 

It had its first screening at the Manhattan JCC last week, and yesterday it was released for home viewing on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Kaleidescape, FandangoNow, Xbox, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Verizon, Charter, Suddenlink, Mediacom, WOW!, Midcontinent, Metrocast, Clearleap, RCN, Telus (CA), Virgin Media (UK), Globosat (LATAM), Dish, and DirecTV.

Curious George is the most popular monkey in the world. Since his introduction in the first publication in 1941, the beloved series has sold over 75 million books in more than 25 languages. 

The MONKEY BUSINESS documentary explores the lesser-known tale of George’s creators, Hans and Margret Rey. Originally from Hamburg, Germany, the Reys first met when Hans was dating Margret’s older sister. Years later, having heard that Hans was wasting his artistic talents as a bookkeeper in Rio, Margret traveled to Brazil to persuade him to marry her and do something creative together. After their four-week honeymoon to Paris turned into a four-year residency, they accidentally became children’s book authors when a publisher suggested they create a book out of a cartoon Hans had drawn. 

Being German Jews, however, their life in Paris abruptly came to an end in June 1940 when the Reys were forced to escape from the Nazis by riding makeshift bicycles—a manuscript of the first Curious George book was one of the few possessions they could smuggle out with them. Arriving in New York as refugees, they started their life anew and over the next three decades they created a classic that continues to touch the hearts and minds of children around the world.

Here is the official trailer for the documentary. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Concord and Grossinger's Are On Their Way to Reopening in the Catskills


Resorts World Catskills
Artist's Rendering of the New Resorts World in Kiamesha Lake
The glory days of' the Borscht Belt and the Catskill Hotels in New York came to a sad end in the 1980s. Now, 30 years later, signs of hope are beginning to appear.

Current plans don't envision the return of the Concord and Grossinger's Hotels as the kosher getaways that flourished from the 1940s to the 1980s, but activity is picking up on the site of both hotels.

Construction of a new Resorts World casino hotel on the site of The Concord in Kiamesha Lake is well underway with a planned opening in March 2018. Meanwhile, 13 miles away in Liberty, the sleeping giant of Grossinger's is stirring, crumbling buildings and all.

As Sarah Maslin Nir reported in The New York Times last week,
In the spring, Louis R. Cappelli, a Westchester-based real estate developer who has owned the complex for two decades, applied to the State Department of Environmental Conservation requesting that a portion of the property be designated a brownfield, or contaminated site. The former resort is now a hodgepodge of scores of crumbling buildings on hundreds of acres, land he says is laden with chemicals spilled by dry-cleaning and machine repair shops. Such a designation would make the property eligible for state funds to help with remediation of the soil and groundwater, a necessary first step, Mr. Cappelli says, to bring back the world-class resort.
Mr. Cappelli, who bought the place in 1999, more than a decade after the Grossinger family had ceased operations, envisions a grand future: a conference center, housing, spa and chalet-style lodging. It is a bet that piggybacks on the crowds that he hopes will come to the Resorts World Casino, a $750 million complex opening next year in another former borscht belt destination, the Concord Resort Hotel in nearby Kiamesha Lake.
Here are two videos, one depicting the high hopes of area residents when the casino license was awarded to the hotel being built on the Concord property, and another report from a local TV station on the current state of the Grossinger's property.

Here's hoping!

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, August 14, 2017

A Joke to Start the Week - "Mozart on the Bus"


Last Monday we posted a joke by Bob Epstein that we recorded at the Eisenberg Berkshire Hills Adult Vacation Center, where we returned for our third year of Jewish humor lectures for the seniors who come to the mountains for a summer vacation. We discovered that it's a great place to find new joke telling talent.

And we found some good jokes, well delivered by Naomi Goldstein, a senior citizen coordinator from New York who is now retired and living in Florida. We have a few more jokes from Naomi that we'll keep in reserve like fine wine, and we'll bring them out to share in a few weeks.

Here's the setup for today's joke: Abie and Becky move up from the Bronx. They come to this classy neighborhood, and all they want to do is try to make friends. And then...

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, August 13, 2017

The Great Jewish Comedians: Al Shaw and Sam Lee


Do you remember going to a vaudeville show? Neither do we. But it was especially popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, when radio, and later television made vaudeville obsolete.

But during the 50 years of its existence, people flocked to the more than 5,000 vaudeville theaters all over the USA.What they saw was a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. Typical shows included popular and classical musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, strongmen, female and male impersonators, acrobats, and jugglers. Vaudeville served as the model for TV variety shows, like The Ed Sullivan Show.

Comedians were central to vaudeville and TV variety shows. And many, if not most of them, were Jewish. In our series on the great Jewish comedians, we previously profiled Al Shean of the team of Gallagher and Shean, and Smith and Dale as popular comedy duos in the 1920s. 

Another example of this genre were Al Shaw and Sam Lee (born Albert Schultzman and Samuel Levy). Here's a video of Shaw and Lee doing their vaudeville shtick in the fading days of vaudeville as TV variety shows were just getting started. The singer introducing them is Robert Alda, father of Alan Alda.

Enjoy!

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Welcoming Shabbat with Adon Olam by the Toronto Varsity Jews Choir



The Varsity Jews, University of Toronto Hillel’s a cappella choir, is now in its thirteenth season.

Their repertoire includes a wide variety of music, from traditional Hebrew folk to classic rock and pop with an added Jewish flavor.

They are bound by their love of music and their desire to incorporate Judaism into campus life.

In this video, The Varsity Jews give us a rendition of Adon Olam, one of the most popular Shabbat songs, set to the melody of Carry On My Wayward Son, popularized in 1977 by the rock band Kansas.

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, August 10, 2017

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: The Three Haircuts (Caesar, Reiner, Morris) Spoof Rock 'n Roll


In 1955, Rock 'n Roll was coming into its heyday, making it the perfect target for spoofing by Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, and Howard Morris on Caesar's Hour.

And spoof it they did. The funny threesome went at it with great enthusiasm as they parodied The Crew Cuts, the Chords, The Four Lads, and many other groups that were popular before the Beatles invasion.

In this video, the boys sing You Are So Rare and Flippin' Over You and perform a frenzied dance number to the delight of their studio audience.

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