Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moscow Synagogue's Turetsky Choir Brings Beautiful Jewish Music to World Stages

In 1989 Michael Turetsky organized the male choir of the Moscow Synagogue. One year later, the choir made its debut in the Philharmonic Halls of Tallinn and Kaliningrad.

The Turetsky Choir has since performed on many famous stages around the world, including the Great Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory, the Kremlin Palace, the Bolshoy Theatre, Carnegie Hall, (New York) Merkin Concert Hall (New York) Jordan Hall of the Boston Conservatory, Gala Tarbut, Teatron Jerusalem (Israel), King's Palace (Madrid, Spain), in the buildings of the United Nations, and Congress (Washington, DC).

The choir's repertoire includes performances of classical, Broadway, and pop music, but Turetsky has a special affinity for Jewish and Israeli music. Today we're sharing a stirring medley of popular Jewish and Israeli music called Кошерное попурри (kosher potpourri) that the choir performed recently in a Russian concert hall. Enjoy!


  (A tip of the kippah to Toni for bringing this video to our attention.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kosher Pig Is Making the Rounds and May Be Coming to Your Home Soon

Joy Cohen is a 23-year old Jewish beauty in an Asian body.  As a baby, Joy was adopted from China by the Cohens, a rich Jewish family, so she may look Asian on the outside, but she really is Jewish on the inside. She feels rejected by her biological parents, and as she naively brings the two families together, tension and conflict between the two cultures develop immediately…so Joy’s happy ending may not be so happy, after all.

That's the basic plot of Kosher Pig, a situation comedy that has been making the rounds of 23 film festivals around the country. It gets more complicated, with a non-Jewish boyfriend who acts gay when Joy's parents are around because they don't object to her having a gay friend but are not comfortable with her seeing a goy.

It's not often that we bring you a full length video, but since this one (20 minutes) is a pilot for a TV sitcom series, and it's available for showing, we thought we'd give you a full portion of what might be coming into your home on a regular basis.  So give it a look, and vote "like" or "don't like" by checking the boxes below. If you give us your comments, we'll pass them along to the producer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's New for Passover This Year in Your Supermarket

Just in case you haven't been in your local supermarket this week, we wanted to remind you that even though Passover is three weeks away, it's already in your store.  And not only in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Many cities have supermarkets with large Pesach sections, and Cincinnati is one of them. Here's a look at one of the most extensive collections of Passover foods and accessories in a Cincinnati supermarket chain. A guided tour of the Remke Biggs store by "Sherlock" Hirsch reveals such new items as Worcestershire sauce, Louisiana hot sauce, cappuccino covered matzo crackers, Lay's potato chips, honey almond crunch cereal with raisins, cupcake fun kits, and a special section for Sephardic Jews who eat beans and rice on Pesach. 

We have seen these "kitniyot" sections appearing in New Jersey stores and they're likely to become a fixture in most cities with populations of Sephardim.

So enjoy the tour and take your own tour in your local store. We'll be focusing on Passover humor, recipes, and funny items along with our regular mix during the next three weeks leading up to this most celebrated of Jewish holidays. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas(hefsky) Presents Lincoln Center Tribute to His Grandparents, Founders Of Yiddish Theater

On April 5 and 6, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas will be leading a tribute to his grandparents, Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, in Avery Fisher Hall at New York's Lincoln Center. 

The Thomashefskys, founders and stars of the thriving Yiddish theater in the 1880s, are the subjects of a show created by Tilson Thomas that premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2005, and toured the nation, most recently in Philadelphia last month.

Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony, is proud of the roles that the Thomashefskys played, not only in their many theatrical productions, but also as in bringing Yiddish influence to American pop culture.

As Jeanette Friedman writes in the Jewish Standard of March 18,
At the heart of the show are Tilson Thomas’ memories of his grandmother Bessie. She settled in Los Angeles in her old age to be with her children and grandchildren, and discovered that many of the kids who had hung around the Yiddish theaters on Second Avenue in its heyday were running the Hollywood studios. It was no surprise to her that they filled their movies with the pathos, comedy, and melodrama they had learned on the Lower East Side.
In this video, Tilson Thomas introduces the Philadelphia show, which is the same show he will present at Lincoln Center in April. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Funny Israeli Commercials: The Secret of Michelangelo's David

Neviot is one of the popular brands of bottled water in Israel.  They've been running a series of funny commercials showing the previously unknown roles played by their product in the creation of great works of art.

Earlier this month we posted a commercial revealing how Leonardo Da Vinci managed to change the frown on Mona Lisa's face to a smile just in time to complete his famous painting.

Here's one set in Florence in 1504 where Michelangelo is trying to finish his famous sculpture of David, but can't get the model to remove all of his clothes until ...well, you have to see the video.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Daily Show Pokes Fun at Eruv Battle in Westhampton Beach

The controversy surrounding a Long Island community's attempt to construct an eruv and opposition from some local residents reached a boiling point of sorts this week when it became the subject of a report on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart's popular news program that's laced with heavy doses of parody and satire.

Erica Jackson summed up the spoof and the underlying controversy in a local Westhampton Beach newspaper:
The bit, called The Thin Jew Line, airs as a “news” report by “correspondent” Wyatt Cenac.  The satirist interviews Jeff Weisenfeld, member of the Hampton Orthodox Synagogue; Charles Gottesman, member of the Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv; and residents at the Beach Bakery in Westhampton Beach.

The five-minute spoof already has people in Westhampton Beach talking.
Westhampton Beach Mayor Conrad Teller, who said he heard about the show on the On The Beach Blog, said he couldn’t say much since the issue is in the courts. However, he did say, “It’s a comedy show that poked fun at a very serious issue.  We consider this a very serious issue.”
Hank Sheinkoph, who represents the East End Eruv Association, called the Daily Show’s bit, “a wonderful thing.”

“It makes the opposition look ridiculous and they are ridiculous,” said Sheinkoph.  “John Stewart knows what the elected officials have not yet figured out  — and maybe after they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the lawsuit, the taxpayers will understand too.”

Arnold Sheiffer, who heads up the Jewish People Opposed to the Eruv, said he was approached by the Daily Show to appear but he refused.  He says the spoof "missed the point of the situation entirely."

He said, "There is nothing funny about this.  The vast majority of Jewish people oppose the eruv becuase it does not keep with the basic tenants of the Jewish tradition of honoring customs and tradition in the area of which you live."
Sheiffer also said that the show did not point out that "the eruv benefits very few and extends to their economic benefit."
Sheiffer said he was further disappointed to see that the show made a "mockery" of Gottesman.
"It's a shame. He is a very nice person and a credit to the community," he said.
Elise Richman, a Westhampton Beach Main Street Business owner, said she found the parody amusing, but even more so, she said it says something about the opposition to the eruv proposal: “It’s obvious from this video that it’s more than the eruv that they want to keep out of Westhampton Beach. I say put it up and save everyone a lot money fighting a losing battle.”
Here's the report as it appeared on Wednesday's edition of The Daily Show. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rabbis to Swing, Tango, and Hustle in Los Angeles Dance Competition on April 4

You've probably seen Dancing With the Stars. But Dancing With the Rabbis? We've got to be kidding, right? Wrong!

On April 4, five of Los Angeles’ most prominent rabbis – Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Rabbi Mark Borovitz, Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rabbi Nina Feinstein, and Rabbi Zoe Klein – will dance with their partners at the Gindi Auditorium of the American Jewish University's Whizin Center For Continuning Education. Ticket holders will have the chance to vote for the winner, who will receive the mirror-ball trophy and a generous donation to the charity of their choice.

The contestants have been practicing the Fox Trot, Cha Cha, Swing, Hustle, and Tango with their partners and each one is determined to win the top prize.

Also attending this Los Angeles event will be Karina Smirnoff and Louis Van Amstel from Dancing with the Stars. Following the show, there will be hors d’ouvres and wine, live music and dancing. For more information or to purchase tickets ($100 for sponsors and $60 for patrons), please contact Caroline Cohen at 310.440.1246 or You can also buy tickets online from the American Jewish University's website for this event.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stand-up Comedian Andy Kindler To Perform At New Jersey UJA Event March 30

Andy Kindler, stand-up comic and a frequent guest and correspondent for The Late Show with David Letterman, will be performing March 30 at a UJA Commerce and Professionals dinner and networking event at the Montammy Golf Club in Alpine, NJ.

Kindler is known in comedy circles as a troublemaker.  Originally from New York, and now complaining from California, he annoys people all over the world. 

Each summer at the Just For Laughs Festival in
Montreal he delivers the State of the Industry address to a packed ballroom filled with comics and Hollywood industry types.  He is infamous for his scathing attacks on the world of entertainment, including the previously taboo practice of making fun of his fellow comedians.  Just as the comedy boom of the nineties was imploding, Andy wrote the “Hack’s Handbook” for National Lampoon.  This “how to” guide satirized and exposed tired comedy formulas.

Andy was recently seen as a judge on the 7th season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing.  He is the star of two half-hour Comedy Central Presents specials and currently recurs on Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place and Fox’s upcoming animation Bob’s Burgers.  He was also a regular comedy litigator on The Root of all Evil.  Other noteworthy credits include the HBO Young Comedians Special, Late Night with Conan O’Brian, The Daily Show, Dr. Katz Professional Therapist, Home Movies and The Larry Sanders Show.  Andy is often recognized for playing the life-affirming character “Andy” on the CBS sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond.

Here's Andy performing last month on The Late Show with David Letterman. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hava Nagila In The Shetland Islands Near The Arctic Circle

Regular Jewish Humor Central readers know that we have been following the trail of Hava Nagila around the world and visiting far-flung locations where singing and dancing to this classsic Jewish melody defy any logic. Our last posting was a month ago when we took you to Peru and included links to all the other countries where we discovered Hava Nagila lovers.

This journey has certainly led us to see unusual places and to learn about world geography, but today we think we found the most remote location and most bizarre rendition of the classic song yet.

First, the geography lesson. Over 300 miles north of Edinburgh lie the Shetland Islands, more than half-way between London and the Arctic circle. The Shetland Islands are as far North as Helsinki (Finland), Hudson Bay (Canada), Alaska (USA) and Leningrad (Russia). However, the climate in Shetland is not as extreme as in any of these other places, thanks to the moderating effect of the very northern end of the Gulf Stream.
The islands themselves belong to Scotland, and are part of the UK, so UK traffic regulations apply, Scottish Law applies, Shetland is part of the UK Postal network, and everyone speaks standard English (although the old Shetland dialect is still heard occasionally).

Each year the Shetland islanders celebrate the abiding influence of the Vikings,
who arrived in Shetland just over 1000 years ago, with the largest fire festival in Europe, called Up Helly Aa.

The Jarl in front of his burning galley After a torch-light procession of up to a thousand "guizers" through the streets of Lerwick a full-size replica Viking longship is ceremonially burned. The "guizers" and onlookers then repair to local halls for a night of revelry, dancing and partying. (Guizers are mummers or actors in a folk play, usually wearing outlandish costumes.)

After the burning of the ship, the party continues, as 48 squads, consisting of exactly 902 guizers, all disguised with a particular theme in mind, visit eleven halls in rotation.

At every hall each squad performs its 'act', perhaps a skit on local events, a dance display in spectacular costume, or a topical send-up of a popular TV show or pop group. Every guizer has a duty (as the Up Helly A Song says) to dance with at least one of the ladies in the hall, before taking yet another dram. 

Would you believe that on March 11 one of the squads dressed up as participants in a Chassidic wedding and after the ceremony (with one of the authentic Sheva B'rachot) sang and danced a rousing version of Hava Nagila?  You have to see it to believe it, so here's the video. Enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

More Yiddish And Danish From Shtetl Montreal

Earlier this month we introduced Yiddish and Danish, a new series of translations of Yiddish expressions from a new web site, Shtetl Montreal. As promised, they have released more of these video clips and we're bringing you another three today.

It looks like the producers of this video dictionary have been supplying the participants with lots of Danish pastry to keep the fun going.

The three expressions in today's post are:

Vos machst du? - How are you?

Bulvan - A gross person, a hulk.

Brochah - Blessing (Yes, yes, we know that Hamotzi is the wrong brochah to made over pastry - it gets a Borei Minei Mezonot, but maybe the rules are different in Shtetl Montreal.)


Friday, March 18, 2011

A Purim Refresher Crash Course In Five Minutes

Purim is almost here and the celebrations have already started all over the world. The megillah, Megillat Esther, is read in synagogues this Saturday night and Sunday morning, followed by gifts of Mishloach Manot (exchanging food gifts with friends), Matanot L'Evyonim (charitable contributions to the poor,) and Seudat Purim (a festive meal) on Sunday during the daytime.

How long would it take to tell the whole Purim story including the historical background, and explain all of the observances associated with this fun holiday?  In this video, Avraham Goldhar covers all the bases in record time and clocks in at just over five minutes.

As an ordained Rabbi, Avraham Goldhar was a faculty member of the Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. It was there that he developed and taught Rapid Jewish Literacy Courses in Biblical Literacy, Jewish History and Talmudic Law. In 1996, he became the Educational Director of Aish HaTorah New York, developing and overseeing programming that serviced 13,000 people annually. 

For over twenty years Rabbi Goldhar has been amazing audiences around the world with his ability to break down and simplify complex subject matter. He makes difficult and overwhelming material easy to learn, remember and apply.

We found his presentation interesting and comprehensive, and thought you'd like it, too. 

We're going to spend the weekend celebrating with our family, so we won't be posting on Sunday. We'll be back Monday with more Jewish humor.

Enjoy the video, and have A Freilichen Purim!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oscars, Shmoscars! Here Are Our Purim Picks Of The Best Movies Of 2010

(Happy Purim to all of our Jewish Humor Central readers.  We hope you enjoy this special Purim spoof from the Purim 2011 issue of The Kustanowitz Kronikle.  You can download the PDF by clicking HERE.  Print it and share it at your Purim Seudah.)

There are the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards (Oscars).  But who needs them when the best awards of all are the Silver Graggers.  Jewish Humor Central is proud to present the movie awards from our sister publication, The Kustanowitz Kronikle.

The Silver Graggers are different from the Golden Globes and the Oscars in that there are multiple winners for Best Picture, the only award we give.

This year the Kustanowitz kids have been hard at work, deliberating which films released in 2010 merited consideration for this prestigious award.  Today we are announcing the winners of the annual competition.  Here are the best films of 2010, with a brief description of each one.
THE KING’S SPEECH: The Passover story told from the perspective of  Pharaoh, whose stubbornness about letting the Jews go stemmed from a miscommunication with the stuttering Moses.

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT:  A mother and father are devastated when their kids spend two weeks in a right-wing Yeshiva and return wearing black hats.

INCEPTION: A rabbi comes up with a brilliant technique for his Shabbat morning sermon, in which he can plant an idea in his congregants’ minds while they are asleep.

TRUE GRIT: At the Coen family seder, someone bites into a lettuce leaf that was not soaked in water, and grimaces as the overlooked dirt and, tragically, a microscopic bug are mashed between his teeth.

127 HOURS:  As the seder goes into its fifth day, the sleep-deprived adults have had enough, and launch into a rousing version of Dayenu.

DESPICABLE ME: The controversial story of a man who sets his sights on committing every sin listed in the Al Cheit section of the Yom Kippur machzor.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK: The Harvard Board of Rabbis sues Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg on the grounds that his social networking site is based on the concept of "Jewish geography."

DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS: When a family of 14 forgets to pre-order a kosher meal for their flight from Israel to Australia, they spend the next 21 hours dining on pretzels, potato chips, and fruit cup.

BLACK SWAN: The animated sequel to the Biblical cartoon masterpiece, “Red Cow.”

SALT: One year after outlawing Gebrukts (wet matzah), a family revolts against Mom when she decides to kick it up a notch and avoid using any salt on Passover.

THE FIGHTER:  After taking the side of Shammai in every Talmudic argument, Moshe Goldberg gets a reputation at Yeshiva.

DATE NIGHT:  The animated tale of a delicious date who develops ingenious plots to avoid being eaten on Tu B’Shvat.

NO STRINGS ATTACHED: Ashton Kutcher  goes ballistic after receiving a defective shipment of Kabbalah tzitzit.

I AM NUMBER FOUR:  What’s it like being Jacob’s one true love? Only Rachel the Matriarch knows.

TANGLED: When a severe storm gets the town’s eruv and cable television wiring twisted, the non-Jews are upset that they can’t watch the big game, and the Jews are upset because they can’t carry on Shabbat.

EAT PRAY LOVE: Julia Roberts stars as an Upper West Side single whose years of dating have left her with food issues, a tendency toward religious fanaticism, and JDate addiction.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tablets Found In Ransacked Egypt Museum May Be Original Ten Commandments

 (Happy Purim to all of our Jewish Humor Central readers.  We hope you enjoy this special Purim spoof from the Purim 2011 issue of The Kustanowitz Kronikle.  You can download the PDF by clicking HERE.  Print it and share it at your Purim Seudah.)


Scholars Close to Deciphering Mysterious Pictograms;
May Predate Cuneiform, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Chinese Ideograms

Special to The Kustanowitz Kronikle

     FAIR LAWN, March 19 – Shock waves reverberated throughout the western world today with the announcement that a collection of stone fragments found among the rubble in the ransacked Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square may be the orginal Ten Commandments.

    The tablets were previously thought to have been destroyed by Moses when he descended from Mount Sinai and found the Israelites worshipping a golden calf. But they were carefully pieced together by a team of international Bible scholars to reveal a puzzling set of inscriptions that resembled a rebus with ten messages.

    Seemingly a blend of characters representing a bird, an Amish buggy, and a collection of what appear to be letters of the English alphabet, the symbols are thought to predate any known language including hieroglyphics, cuneiform, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Chinese ideograms.

    The scholars believe that they have deciphered most of the symbols but remain baffled by the amazing resemblance of these three-thousand-year-old symbols to the shapes of some of the states in the United States of America. Also, combinations of the symbols can be interpreted as references to 21st century objects and concepts such as Twitter, Kindle, Nook, and Disney World.

    Even more peculiar is that almost every symbol has embedded within it what looks like the letter K of the English alphabet.
    The precise meaning of the letter K, when it appears by itself and in combinations, is still under investigation.

    The team of scholars is not certain of the absolute accuracy of their translation, and is open to suggestions from the archaeological and linguistic community for alternate interpretations.

    What troubles them most is that God appears to have had a finely developed sense of humor in formulating this original grouping of the sayings, compared with the much more serious and solemn tone expressed in the final set of Ten Commandments that Moses presented to the Israelites when he descended from Mount Sinai.

    For example, the first commandment, if the interpreters’ conclusions are to be accepted, says, “Oh you should travel from New Jersey to Florida. Okay?”  This would seem to be a folksy imperative for snowbound northeasterners to make the annual winter journey to a warmer climate, or even migrate to a permanent home there.  That sets quite a different tone from the traditional “I am the Lord your God who took you out of slavery in Egypt.”

    So far, more than 100 unique symbols have been found. Their meanings are being consolidated into a few web sites where erudite readers can find the details they need to verify that the translations meet their high standards.  For a more complete analysis of these meanings, visit and

    All ten commandments are shown below, with a preliminary translation of each one.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Yiddish Ladies Are Back With A Purim Feast

Yes, the Forverts ladies are back, cooking and chatting in Yiddish. Last year we posted some of their concoctions in May, October, and December.

This time Rukhl Schaechter and Eve Jochnowitz are making a Purim Feast.

What's in a Purim Feast or Seudah?  As far as they're concerned, it's Sweet and Sour Meat, Potato Souffle, and String Beans, or as they say in Yiddish, A Peerim Seedah mit Essik Fleisch, Kartoffel Kigel, un Strishkes, all based on recipes in a Jewish cookbook from 1914. If that menu turns you on, Est Gezinterheit! (Eat in Good Health!).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Russian Purim Flash Mob Erupts In Streets Of St. Petersburg

With the holiday of Purim only five days away, fun and merriment is erupting wherever there are Jews, and St. Petersburg, Russia, is no exception. 

Last week a group of about 30 members of Hillel from the St. Petersburg State University of Cinema and Television took to the city streets, a bus, the subway, an office building, and the Winter Palace, official home of the Russian Tsars from 1732 to 1917, to sing and dance a Purim spoof to the tune of the Black Eyed Peas hit, I Gotta Feeling.

Starting with one, two, and then four masked students, the group gathers steam as it moves through the streets, adding more and more members until they break out into a choreographed flash mob singing about the meaning of Purim and how it's being celebrated in Russian cities and around the world.

Since the singing is in Russian, we supply the English translation as well as the original Russian words below the video.  Enjoy!

St.Petersburg Hillel presents a Purim video.

Hello, I'm Liya Geldman. I'm a senior student at cinema and television university in St. Petersburg. As you know Russia is a multiethnic and multidenominational country. But do Russians really know traditions of other cultures? Today we came here to find out if they know what Purim is.

- Do you know what Purim is?
- Hello, do you know what Purim is?
- Hi Julia, do you know what is Purim?
- Hello, what is Purim?
Doesn't anyone know what Purim is?

Purim! Purim! Purim!
Purim! Purim! Purim!

Celebrating Purim!
Zenit and Haiduck (Russian soccer teams),
Student and coach,
Human and spider,
Patient and surgeon,
NYC, Moscow and Saint Petersburg!

Purim! Also celebrating in Barnaul
People from Penza and Tomsk,
On Kamchatka and in Kerch,
And possibly even on the moon.

Purim! Let's put some make up on!
Whether you are old or young,
Even if you hadn't slept for 3 nights
It's Israeli mega-carnival!

Purim! We highly recommend it.
The plot is twisted,
It happened almost 3000 years ago
So it might be hard to remember
Where's good and where's bad

So choose for yourself who's good and who's bad
Here's the Mordehai the Jew, King Ahashverosh.
Where's Vashti? The Tzar's ex-wife?
But maybe Hamman could be the Bad Guy?

Imagine for a while that we're in Babylon,
Who's the star on this dark sky? Esther!
Here's a lesson for now and in 600BC
If you're brave, you've got the power!
We'll scream together Mazal Tov!
Our glass is full to the brim.
With what? Lets fill it with wine
And drink it all up.
And during this Purim we'll change the world!

Oleg Dremov

Additional thx to Evgeny Levitin, Liya Geldman, Sergey Teplov, Sonya Mladenova, Sonya i Megan, Anya, Sofa, Sasha, Vitya, Ira, Pasha, Kolya and others.

- Здравствуйте, я Лия Гельдман. Студентка 5ого курса университета кино и телевидения.
Как вы конечно же знаете, Россия -- многонациональная и многоконфессиональная страна. Но знакомы ли россияне с традициями разных народов? Сегодня мы пришли сюда, дабы узнать, что же такое Пурим.

- Вы знаете что такое Пурим?
- Здравствуйте, а вы знаете что такое Пурим?
- Hi Julia, do u know what is Purim?
- Здравствуйте, а что такое Пурим?
- Неужели Никто не знает, что такое Пурим????

Пурим, Пурим, Пурим,
Пурим, Пурим, Пурим,

Празднуют Пурим!
И Зенит, и Хайдук,
Ученик и физрук,
Человек и паук,
Пациент и хирург,
И Нью-Йорк, и Москва, и Петербург!

Пурим! Празднуют
И в Барнауле
Пензюки, Томичи,
На Камчатке, в Керчи,
И, возможно вполне -- даже на Луне!

Пурим! Загримируем!
Тех, кто стар, тех, кто мал,
Кто три ночи не спал,
На израильский мега-карнавал

Напряженный сюжет,
Но не вспомнить уже,
Где добро, а где зло.
Почти три тысячи лет прошло

Сам решай, кто тут плох, кто тут хорош!
Вот еврей Мордехай, Ахашверош.
Вашти где? Царская в прошлом жена!
Ну а может, злодей -- это Аман?

На время представьте, что мы в Вавилоне,
И кто же сияет на том небосклоне?
Вот пример: ты силён, если смел
И сейчас, и в шестой век до нашей эрЫ

Мы крикнем дружно
Мазл Тов
Бокал наполнен
До краев
А чем?
Давай вином
И кверху дном
Мы в этот Пурим целый мир перевернём!

Олег Дремов

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Human Horse" Goes Wild At A Chassidic Wedding

Chassidic weddings are known for wild expressions of joy and dancing, but we think that this one takes the (wedding) cake.

If you were viewing our Jewish Humor Central posts last February and April you may remember the wedding antics of the 20-year old identical twins from France who are studying at the Lubavitcher seminary in Brooklyn. They entranced the thousands of wedding guests, juggling, riding unicycles, and playing with fire.

Now they have some new shtick. With one occupying the hindquarters of a horse costume and the other one in the front, with fake legs making him look like the rider, they trot around the dance floor. Then the wedding guests want to ride the horse. First, a young boy mounts and rides for a while. But that's too inviting for some men who want their turn. Two chassidim in full dress with shtreimels on their heads take turns in mounting and riding the horse. One of them is too heavy and the horse falls down. 

But this sturdy horse quickly recovers, gets up, and launches into a wild dance, kicking its legs this way and that. The dance is so wild that the rear end twin falls out, leaving the horse's front end to itself. Minus its rear, the front end keeps trotting and finally rides off into the west. Enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Baking Hamantaschen On Sesame Street

What would Purim be without hamantaschen? These delicious triangular cookies filled with poppy seeds, prune butter, jams, or chocolate, miraculously appear in bakeries and supermarkets all over the world around the beginning of February, usually a few weeks before Purim.

But why buy when making your own hamantaschen is child's play? At least that's what the folks at Sesame Street would have us believe.  So check out this video of two cute kids making them from scratch (with the help of a mom) and see how easy they make it look. 

And with Purim only a week away, this weekend should be prime hamantash baking time.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Funny Israeli Commercials: The Secret of Mona Lisa's Smile

Neviot is one of the popular brands of bottled water in Israel.  They've been running a series of funny commercials showing the previously unknown roles played by their product in the creation of great works of art.

Here's one set in Florence in 1503 where Leonardo Da Vinci is poised to paint the classic portrait of Mona Lisa.  The model can't seem to get in the right mood, maintaining a frown on her face until...well, you have to see the video.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Princess Of Persia" - An Animated Retelling Of The Purim Story By G-dcast

G-dcast has done it again.  After animating all 55 of the weekly Torah portions, the G-dcast crew has tackled the Purim story and delivered it on YouTube. It's a fun retelling of the classic story, with the addition of some modern themes.

The storyteller is Vanessa Hidary, also known as the Hebrew Mamita.  An actress/poet/playwright/native New Yorker, Hidary grew up on Manhattan's culturally diverse Upper West Side, graduating from LaGuardia High School of the Arts and Hunter College. Her experiences as a Sephardic Jew with close friends from different ethnic and religious backgrounds inspired her to write "Culture Bandit," the nationally toured solo show that chronicles her coming of age during the golden age of Hip-Hop and her dedication to fostering understanding and friendship between all people. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Conservative Seminary Leaders Are Sesame Street's Bert And Ernie In Purim Spoof

When it's Purim time, almost anything goes.  This Purim season is starting off in high gear with the Jewish Theological Seminary's Chancellor Arnold Eisen and midrash professor Burton Visotzky assuming the classic roles of Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie squabbling about cookies (in this case hamantashen).

As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's Uriel Heilman wrote yesterday in JTA's blog, The Telegraph...'s hard to imagine JTS great Solomon Schechter or Louis Finkelstein doing the kind of Bert and Ernie Purim spoof that JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen and midrash professor Burton Visotzky (Burt and Arnie -- get it?) just put out talking about the sizes of their respective hamantaschen.
Eisen: Are you saying, Burt, that you have a small hamantaschen and I have a big hamantaschen?

Visotzky: I'm saying that yours is huge... How about if I take a bite out of yours and then it will be closer in size to mine?

You can't make this stuff up.
There's not much more that we can add, except to note that hamantashen is the plural form and hamantash is the singular.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stand-Up Comedian Eitan Levine To Perform In Fair Lawn, New Jersey March 12

Eitan Levine, stand-up comedian and Yeshiva University student, will be performing next Saturday night at a pre-Purim show at Congregation Ahavat Achim, a modern orthodox synagogue in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.  

The event, billed as a Night of Comedy and Good Food, will also feature "An Evening of Jewnatra, Chairman of the Borsht." 

Levine was born and raised in Springfield, NJ. He attended an all boys Jewish school and studied in Israel for a year. He has been doing stand up since the age of 15. One of his most impressive attributes is the title of "Funniest Comic in Israel" during his year abroad. He has opened for comics such as Judah Friedlander and Daryl Hammond, and has appeared at Carolines comedy club in New York.

Tickets for the comedy night are still available at $30.00 per person. Call 201-519-7951 to make your reservations. Checks should be made payable to Ahavat Achim and mailed to:
Jewnatra Event 40-19 Marie Court, Fair Lawn NJ 07410.

Here's a preview of Levine's shtick. In this video, he recalls funny aspects of his summer job as a member of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's election campaign. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Yiddish And Danish: A New Funny Video Dictionary From Shtetl Montreal

Shtetl, a new online alternative Jewish magazine from Montreal, has started a series of short video clips of Yiddish speakers enunciating and explaining some familiar Yiddish words and expressions.  Some are straightforward and (WARNING!) some are a bit salty.  

What do you expect?  Yiddish is not a holy and pure language, but one which has embodied the triumphs and tragedies of Eastern European Jews for the last few centuries.  Over time, it has picked up expressions reflecting a knowledge of and respect for Jewish religious tradition as well as street wisdom acquired from everyday living.  

To get things started, we're sharing three expressions that kick off the series.  Shtetl has promised to keep adding more to form a video dictionary of Yiddish.  If they do, we promise to bring you some of the best ones.

Oh, if you're wondering how the language of Denmark fits into the picture, it doesn't.  Danish refers to the pastries served to the speakers as they record their comments.  Enjoy!

A chazer blaybt a chazer

Az di bubbe volt gehat beytsim...