Monday, October 31, 2011

How Chamin (Portuguese Cholent) Came to Philadelphia


Just as Colonial Williamsburg brings 18th century Virginia to life with costumed interpreters telling their stories in a living history museum, there's a historic 18th century house in Philadelphia. Called Stenton and located not far from the National Museum of American Jewish History, it is one of the earliest, best-preserved and most believable historic houses in Philadelphia. Its distinguished Georgian architecture, its outstanding collection, and its superb documentation combine to create one of the most authentic house museums in the region.

Stenton is a house of learning, past and present. The learning continues today as the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania work to “preserve and maintain Stenton as an historic object lesson.” Through tours, educational programs and special events, Stenton continues gives visitors a sense of what life was like in the 18th Century.

Dressed in the clothing of an 18th century Jewish Philadelphia settler at Stenton, Ronit Treatman explains how these Jews from Recife, Brazil, having escaped the Inquisition in Portugal and settling in New York and Philadelphia, brought with them their Shabbat stew, which they called chamin (and which later arriving Eastern European Jews called cholent.) She shows the ingredients and tells how they used to prepare it in colonial times.

Enjoy!

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Do you want to replicate a colonial Shabbat meal? Here's the recipe.

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, chopped 
4 to 6 garlic cloves 
2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
2 beef bones with marrow 
3 pounds brisket or chuck roast, cut into 4 pieces 
3 pounds small potatoes 
1 tablespoon paprika 
2 teaspoons ground cumin 
1 teaspoon allspice 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 
Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled 
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 
Salt 
Freshly ground pepper 
4 to 6 large eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F
  2. In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the chickpeas, bones, meat, potatoes, honey, paprika, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Add enough water to cover, place the unshelled eggs in the center, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 1 hour. Skim off the foam occasionally.
  4. Cover the pot tightly, place in the oven, and cook overnight, or cook on low on the stove for 5 to 6 hours, or until meat is tender and done.
  5. In the morning, after cooking all night, check the water level. If there is too much water, turn the oven up to 250°F or 300°F, cover, and continue cooking. [If cooking over Shabbat, traditionally observant Jews would refrain from changing the heat level, for doing so would run counter to Sabbath laws against manipulating flame and cooking.] If there is no water, add another cup, cover, and continue cooking.
  6. To serve, place the chickpeas and cooking liquid in one bowl, and the eggs, potatoes, and meat in separate bowls.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Art of Storytelling: Grandma Goes Shopping


With the explosion of hi-tech entertainment choices, full of action, color, and ever higher levels of sound, you might think that the traditional art of storytelling is now just a part of history. But Story Circle at Proctors in Schenectady, New York, one of the first resident storytelling companies at a US performing arts center, is bringing its performances to a wider audience by creating a YouTube channel where its stories can be heard by anyone, not just those who happen to be in Schenectady.

Storytelling groups and festivals are popping up all over the country, with stories usually relating to life in the immediate area. Jewish stories are not in the majority, but some of the stories have a distinct Jewish flavor. Story Circle at Proctors does have a few stories that bring back memories of Jewish life in the early 20th century and one of the story tellers is working on creating original stories that are a fusion of life in the Adirondack mountains and life in the Jewish shtetl of Chelm.

Today we're sharing a story by Frank Wind, who recently moved to the Capital District of New York (Albany, Schenectady, and Troy.) Frank retired from a major oil company after 21 years of telling stories to management. He now enjoys writing and telling solo and tandem stories to audiences of all ages. 

The story, Grandma Goes Shopping, is a warm recollection of how his grandmother, newly arrived from the old country, managed to use her limited English to bargain with Kaplan's Kosher Meats, the Four Star Bakery,and "Tiffany's," the produce stand that got its name from what they charged for their fruits and vegetables.

Enjoy!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Redeeming a Firstborn Donkey - Pidyon Petter Chamor Comes to Cleveland


An obscure religious ceremony is becoming less obscure. First in Melbourne, then the Catskills, and now in Cleveland. We hadn't heard about the mitzvah of redeeming a firstborn male donkey with a sheep until a story about a non-Zionist chassidic sect called Adass Yisroel appeared in the Australian press two years ago. 

We posted the video in October 2009 and a year later we posted a similar story about another redemption ceremony by the Sanz-Klausenberg sect in their Catskills retreat.

Earlier this month the rare ceremony was performed again, at an assembly at the Mosdos Ohr Hatorah boys' school in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The event was attended by 1,200 people, including dozens of Rabbonim.

Similar to the Pidyon haBen ceremony of the redemption of the first-born male child, this ritual involves buying the first-born male donkey back from a Kohen in exchange for a sheep rather than money.

What's making this almost forgotten mitzvah popular again? Probably a surge in interest among the very devout to perform, where possible, every one of the 613 mitzvot listed in the Torah.The source for the redemption is Exodus 13:13, which lists the obligation to redeem a donkey before the obligation to redeem a son.

This particular mitzvah has not been so easy to fulfill. As the rabbi in Melbourne said, "it's difficult to find a Jewish donkey." and "even though it’s not a kosher animal, the donkey has special significance because when the Jews went out of Egypt, the donkeys carried lots of loads.”

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.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: Hevenu Shalom Aleichem in Busan, South Korea


Among the over 600 blog posts that we've shared during the past two years have been some expressions of Jewish life and culture in places where you wouldn't expect it. From now on when we encounter one of these, we'll post it under a new category: Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places.

Today's post is one of these -- a choir in the city of Busan, South Korea made what we would consider an unusual choice for a musical piece to perform -- Hevenu Shalom Aleichem.

Checking with Wikipedia, we found that Jewish Life in Korea was almost nonexistent until American Jewish soldiers arrived with the start of the Korean war.

As Wikipedia puts it,
The first sizable Jewish presence in Korea was during the Korean War, when hundreds of Jewish soldiers participated in the American-led effort to repel a communist attempt to control the whole peninsula. Among the participants was Chaim Potok, who served as a chaplain. His experiences in Korea led to the book, The Book of Lights and I am the Clay.
Most of the Jewish community in South Korea resides in Seoul. The community is mostly U.S. military personnel and their families, business people, English-language journalists and teachers, and tourists. The Jewish population is constantly in flux, due to the rotation of U.S. military personnel in the country. While the soldiers have a Jewish chaplain at the Yongsan Army Base, their services are restricted and off-limits to most civilians. At this time, there are no Jewish schools, but a Chabad Rabbi has arrived in Seoul in Passover 2008.
Israel has full diplomatic relations with South Korea, and the sizable Christian population in the country also keeps ties strong between the countries. In August 2005, the Jerusalem Summit promoting Christian support for Israel was held in Seoul. In contrast, neighboring North Korea has no known Jews within its borders, and is openly hostile towards Israel, and currently forbids Israeli tourists and visitors, however Jews of other nationalities (except American) are not banned to enter.

In April 2008, the first Chabad House was established in Seoul under direction of Rabbi Osher Litzman, accompanied by his wife, Mussia Litzman. As there were no synagogues in the country, Jews in Korea would have to go to the U.S. Army base for Shabbat meals and holiday services. Chabad.org news service reported that the Israeli ambassador to South Korea asked three visiting Lubavitch yeshiva students to help arrange for permanent Chabad emissaries. This marks a monumental and welcomed change in South Korea's Jewish history.
We couldn't find any Jewish reference to Busan, where the concert was held. But the choir did a good job with the traditional Hebrew song of welcome. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jewish-Muslim Comedy Film "The Infidel" is Coming to NBC as a Sitcom Series


Last year we blogged about a funny film called The Infidel, written by David Baddiel, a Pakistani Jew, and which starred Iranian Baha'i standup comic Omid Djalili and West Wing veteran Richard Schiff. Now it appears that NBC is developing a sitcom series based on the film.

The Infidel sets up the improbable scenario of a Muslim taxi driver who discovers he was adopted and is actually Jewish.  As you can imagine, many funny situations develop as the film explores cultural differences and similarities between Jews and Muslims.  The message is that mutual tolerance can be achieved, but the road is sometimes confrontational, hazardous, unpredictable, and in this case, also funny.

As Nellie Andreeva writes in Deadline Hollywood,
For Djalili, headlining his own NBC series projects has been a decade in the making. The network first signed a talent holding deal with Djalili in 2002 following his standout performance at that year’s Edinburgh festival with a stand-up routine that revolved around his Middle Eastern ancestry and what that entails in the post-Sept. 11 world, as well as a self-deprecating look at the collision of his Iranian and Western cultural identities. 

At the time, then-NBC head of casting Marc Hirschfeld described Djalili to me as “the best comic that you don’t know, a character actor who is like a bigger-than-life John Goodman, a big lovable guy.” For Djalili’s starring vehicle at NBC, he and Annabel Knight, his wife and writing partner, came up with the idea of him playing an Iranian professor in New York who ends up helping his brother at his diner. The pilot script was barely finished when the U.S. invaded Iraq. The network told the comedian that America was probably not ready for an Iranian sitcom lead at that particular moment. 

Djalili went on to be cast in Whoopi Goldberg’s short-lived NBC comedy series Whoopi, and earlier this year, he appeared in his second American series, also on NBC, the ill-fated Paul Reiser Show. When I interviewed Djalili in 2003, he was realistic about the challenges his ethnic background presented for a TV career in the U.S. “It’s an uphill battle for me, you know,” said the actor, whose feature credits include the blockbuster The Mummy and Pirates Of The Caribbean franchises. “Like when Mr. Cunningham in Happy Days walks on the set and they go ‘Whoo!’ That’s not gonna happen for a long time.” Eight years later, it may.
In the following video, Baddiel and Djalili talk about the film and their experience in making it.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Comedy Showcase: Meet Susanna Brisk, Standup Comic, as Orthodox Mom of 20 Kids


From time to time we like to introduce you to comedians whose work you may not have seen but who we think are funny enough to help start your day off with a smile. Here's a funny bit we found by Susanna Brisk, portraying a frum (very religious) Orthodox woman with nineteen (oops, twenty) children who she's rounding up in the playground.

Susanna Brisk was born Susanna Tsyskin in Estonia in the former Soviet Union, and grew up in Melbourne, Australia. She began writing and performing stand-up comedy at age 17 and by 19 was performing her own material live on Australian television. Her early material was about her experiences as a model.

After appearances on every Australian television network, and three solo shows, Brisk moved to New York at age twenty-three. She became a regular on the New York stand-up circuit, and wrote and performed “JAP- Jewish Australian Princess” which ran at the duplex theatre in Greenwich Village. In the show she played seventeen different characters and a Rachmaninoff concert piano piece and toured to Melbourne, Sydney, and Los Angeles.

She wrote and starred in a comedy production called Mamafied, in which she plays many different types of mothers. We hope you'll like the orthodox mother she plays in this clip. 

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, October 24, 2011

Funny Israeli Videos: The Price of a Parking Space


Back in December 2009, in one of our first blog posts, we ran an old joke about how an Israeli, desperate for a parking space, tried to bargain with God for one. Today we found a video version of the same situation and thought you'd like to see it as you start the work week, maybe looking for a parking space yourself.

The conversation, which we see as one-way, is in Hebrew, so we'll offer a loose translation of what the driver says to God after opening the sun roof on his car and looking heavenward.

Praying for a parking space, he says "Good morning, our father in heaven. All I want is a parking space. If you give it to me, I will put on tefillin and tzizit, keep kosher, observe Shabbat, and become a baal teshuvah, the whole package." Just then a parking spot becomes available. The Israeli turns to God and says “never mind, I can take care of this myself.” 

Enjoy! 

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Relatively Speaking - Trio of Comedies About Jewish Families Opens on Broadway


While we were celebrating Sukkot on Thursday, Relatively Speaking, a trio of one-act comedies about mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and children, mostly Jewish, opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theater on Broadway. 

Charles Isherwood, of the New York Times, called the play "a reasonably savory tasting platter of comedies."

Although the reviews from major publications were mixed, this production looks like it would be a worthwhile evening spent in the New York Theater district, especially at the reduced prices offered by Theatermania, Playbill, Broadway Box, and other online ticket brokers.

The comedies, written by Ethan Coen, Elaine May, and Woody Allen, and directed by John Turturro, explore the outrageous reality of relatives.

Reviewing the play in Friday's New York Times, Isherwood writes:
Few family members are spared in this enjoyable if lightweight diversion, loosely assembled around the idea that our nearest and dearest can do us wrong in infinitely inventive ways. Husbands and wives, aunts and uncles, stepfathers and even unofficial family members like the rabbi and the therapist take plenty of hits too.
Old-fashioned boulevard comedy — bright, easygoing fare that doesn’t require the deciphering of plummy or crummy British accents — has more or less evaporated from the Broadway marketplace since the heyday of Neil Simon. “Relatively Speaking” brings back this once-popular genre in manageable bite-size portions, provided by starry showbiz names who sometimes seem to be channeling Mr. Simon’s gag-driven style.
These plays are not going to do anything much in the way of reputation burnishing for their three celebrated authors — and certainly none is required — but they are packed with nifty zingers and have been directed by John Turturro with a boisterous flair for socking home the borscht-belt humor.
Meet the 15 talented veteran actors and comedians, including Marlo Thomas, Steve Guttenberg, Julie Kavner, and Richard Libertini, as they talk about their interaction in this show at a press event at Sardi's restaurant in the video below. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Standup Comedy with Zalman Velvel and Rabbi Shmoyle


Stu Silver, a real estate broker and author of books on investing in mobile homes and mobile home parks, is using his Hebrew name, Zalman Velvel, to host a series of standup comedy routines. The videos, titled Laugh and Learn with Rabbi Shmoyle and Uncle Zally, feature standup comedian David Sayh as the white bearded rabbi, "one of the great mohels of our generation," being interviewed by Silver in his Zalman Velvel persona.

Watching the video, we have to believe that this duo was inspired by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner doing their 2000 Year-old-man shtick.

Today we'll share with you the first video of this series, and we'll include some of the others over the next few weeks as part of our eclectic humor mix.

On one of his websites, Silver explains how his family name went from Yussalovich to Silver. It's a story that many of us whose ancestors passed through Ellis Island can relate to.
The Velvel comes from my Great Grandfather. He was born in Russia, and was an orthodox Rabbi. We’re pretty sure he was Hasidic, because he had a long beard, wore dark clothes, and smiled a lot, even when he wasn’t drinking Vodka. Velvel left Russia 100 years ago because his family was getting too much education. By day, he pounded wisdom into his children’s heads. By night, the Cossacks did the same thing, only with clubs. So Velvel traveled to America with his three sons and wife.
At Ellis Island, under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, the Immigration official asked my great Grampa his last name. "Yussalovitch," Velvel replied. "Sounds like Silver," the official concluded. The man next to him, Rushevsky, became Diamond. Poppavitch became Goldberg. The logic? Who knows?
Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, the last of the September-October holidays, begin tonight, so we will not be posting again until Sunday. Until then, enjoy this bit of humor!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ivanka Trump Goes to Shul on Sukkot and the Media Doesn't Get It


Newspapers in the U.S. and in London have been running articles and photos this week of Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner pushing their baby daughter in a carriage (or pram). The media's interpretation of the photo is that of a celebrity launching a new hat style and her husband carrying flowers that he bought for her.

It doesn't take much for anyone familiar with the Sukkot holiday to see that she's wearing a hat because that's what Orthodox Jewish women do when they go to shul and what Kushner is carrying is a lulav, wrapped in the cheap plastic bag that it comes in.

Rabbi Jason Miller, a writer for Jewish and internet sites and blogger at RabbiJason.com, points out the cluelessness of the media with this situation. In his current blog post, Miller comments on two funny aspects of this celebrity sighting:
First is the fact that the well-to-do couple wouldn't be using a fancy etrog holder. As Kushner was pushing their baby daughter Arabella Rose on the second day of Sukkot, he was also carrying a lulav and etrog. One would think that Donald Trump's daughter and son-in-law would have a nice silver etrog carrying case, but it appears that the Kushner-Trump couple is sporting the simple cardboard box etrog carrying case along with the plastic bag the lulav comes in.
The second funny thing is that the Daily Mail first published this photo over the weekend in its online edition explaining that "Jared, wearing a casual black jacket, pushed little Arabella Rose's pram along the streets on their way to lunch. He also held some flowers in one hand - perhaps a gift for his wife." I suppose you could combine a palm branch with some myrtle and willow branches to form a bouquet of sorts, but I don't think it's a popular gift for ones wife.

There was no word on where the couple was headed for yuntif lunch or if they had their own sukkah outside of their Manhattan home.
Miller's blog post got us thinking...how about a new reality show -- Sukkahs of the Rich and Famous?  Are there any show producers reading this post?

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Slice of Sukkot Standup Comedy From Joel Chasnoff


We've brought you some standup comedy from Joel Chasnoff before, and here he is again with a quick take on the holiday that we're celebrating this week.

In the video below, Chasnoff tries to explain Sukkot and its customs to non-Jews, specifically our practice of going outside in all kinds of weather and handling the etrog, or as he calls it, a lemon with a nipple on it. 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.) 
 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sukkot: A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On


We're right in the middle of the holiday of Sukkot, and all over the world, from the first day of the holiday last Thursday, there's been a whole lot of shaking going on. Anyone who paid the price of a set of arba minim (four species - the lulav-palm branch, etrog-citron fruit, myrtle branches and willow branches) had multiple opportunities during the synagogue services to hold them in a bundle and shake them in all directions to fulfill the mitzvah that's unique to this holiday.

Others have taken the shaking a step further. Bar-Cohn Productions, a fun-loving musical group in Israel created a music video filled with lots of lulav shaking set to the Beatles' song Twist and Shout. 

(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.) 
 

A couple of fun-loving Israeli filmmakers got into to the lulav shaking spirit and posted a one minute video that plays off of the week's most popular activity. In the video a sleepy guy awakens in the middle of the night and heads for the refrigerator. What he finds there and how he responds to the instructions on the bottle is a scene that could only happen on Sukkot. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Carlebach Nigun Comes to Life at Beth Am in Los Angeles


Oseh Shalom Bimromov, Hu Yaaseh Shalom Aleinu, V'al Kol Yisrael, V'imru Amen.
May He who makes peace in His high places, make peace upon us and upon all Israel, and let us say amen.

This expression of hope for peace is an important part of every daily and holiday service and has found musical expression in many different forms. 

One of the most popular versions is by Rabbi and folksinger Shlomo Carlebach z''l. This version and another by Michael Ochs have been adapted by the cantor and members of conservative Congregation Beth Am in Los Angeles as the basis for a rousing, upbeat performance that takes to the streets of Los Angeles and the beach at Santa Monica.

Watch as the new cantor of Beth Am, Magda Fishman, and the rabbi, Adam Kligfeld, lead members of the congregation in an ebullient music video that you will find enjoyable and inspiring. 

We think it's a good way to get in the spirit of Sukkot, which starts tonight, and to express our joy at the imminent release of Gilad Shalit. We'll be celebrating Sukkot and Shabbat for the next three days. Jewish Humor Central will return on Sunday. 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.)  

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Israel Off the Beaten Track: Balabasta Festival in Jerusalem


Today we're starting a series on places and events in Israel that even the most frequent visitors don't know about, and that don't make it into travel brochures or the itineraries of most tour guides.

The Balabasta festival takes place at the Machane Yehuda market on Monday nights in July. The busy market, usually closed at night, comes to life with an eclectic mix of singing, dancing, displays of original art and sculptures, martial arts demonstrations, and the unexpected.

Click on the video below and step into the market for a few minutes to experience the look and feel of this unusual festival.  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, October 10, 2011

Saturday Night Live Takes Ben Stiller to a Jewish Willy Wonka's World of Jewish Food



If you were too tired after the Yom Kippur fast to watch Saturday Night Live, you missed a funny opening skit featuring guest host Ben Stiller and Andy Samberg as a Jewish Willy Wonka escorting him to a magical world of Jewish food -- every taste you've ever dreamed of, from salty to fishy.

Stiller then gets the full tour -- sour and half sour pickles, bagel and lox, matzo ball soup, seltzer, matzos, and a pastrami sandwich. 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.) 

(A tip of the kippah to Simmy and Esther Kustanowitz for calling our attention to this video.)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Israeli Show: Israel's Version of SNL's Weekend Update


One of the most popular features of the US Television Show Saturday Night Live is the Weekend Update segment hosted by Seth Meyers. Taking a page from this very successful comedic weekly survey of the news, David Sidman anchors an Israeli version that has been appearing on YouTube at approximately weekly intervals. 

While the Israeli version has some rough edges, it is getting better with time, and we'll be monitoring the weekly telecasts to bring you some of the better ones. Here's a recent one to start. 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.) 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Yiddish Chefs Make Chicken Fricassee and Rice With Apples for Yom Tov


The Yiddish-speaking chefs from the Forverts, the Yiddish-language version of The Jewish Daily Forward, are back for the holiday season with a couple of recipes that could make it easy to prepare a pre-Yom Kippur fast meal or one of the meals for the week-long holiday of Sukkot, which starts next Wednesday evening.

The ladies, Rukhl Schaechter and Eve Jochnowitz, chatter and make small talk in Yiddish while preparing Chicken Fricassee and a vegetarian dish of rice with apples.

We've run most of their cooking episodes since they started the series in May 2010. To see the other episodes, just type Yiddish cooking in the search box in the left column of this web site.

One of the kicks we get out of the series is the painless Yiddish lesson that comes from listening to their banter as the English translation appears in subtitles.  For example, gehakte knobbel has much more character than minced garlic, and hoit is much more expressive than chicken skin.

The recipes in this series, including this one, are not what you'd find in a fancy fusion restaurant, but they do offer a look back at the life of Jews in Eastern Europe. Not a bad thing as we head into the Yom Kippur fast and the joyous Sukkot holiday.

It's going to be a busy and short Friday, so we'll take this opportunity to wish all of our readers an easy fast and a G'mar Chatima Tovah. May we all be sealed in the Book of Life for a happy and healthy year. We'll be back on Sunday with more of our usual mix.  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.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hava Nagila Is Musical Choice of German Synchronized Ice Skating Dream Team


When the 16 ice skaters who comprise the synchronized ice skating Dream Team from Germany's Lower Saxony province stepped onto the ice in a competition in 2009, what song do you think they chose to skate and dance to? If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you've probably guessed it already. Of course, it's Hava Nagila, the song that has been performed all over the world in the most unusual places. (and we've got many more to share with you in the months to come). 

And we thought we'd have to wait for Moshiach to come before seeing something like this.

So enjoy the six minute skating routine, which starts with Shema Yisrael before moving into Hava Nagila. If you look carefully at the dozen or so flags at one end of the arena (at around 5 minutes into the performance) you'll see the Israeli flag among them.

(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.) 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Funny Israeli Commercials: How to Love a Woman With an Enormous Nose


Funny Israeli commercials have been among our most popular blog posts since we started Jewish Humor Central two years ago. We thought we had searched out the best ones and shared all of them with you, with no good ones left to post.

But we found one today, a commercial that aired in Israel a few years ago, but somehow never made it to the world of YouTube. Now we can share it with you.

Posted by CulturePub, a site that collects funny TV commercials from around the world, this one is for Dapei Zahav, the Israeli Yellow Pages. It's called "Man in Love With Nosy Girl..."

In it, a couple walks hand in hand in the park. He presents her with a flower, which she smells. They sit in a cafe, and conversation quickly leads to a kiss, or at least an attempt. The problem is that the girl has a proboscis of Cyranoic proportion. What to do?

The boy goes home, gets on his computer, and searches the online Yellow Pages for a plastic surgeon. Does that solve his problem? Check out the video below and see. 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, October 3, 2011

Summer Camp in Canada Morphs Into A Yiddish Klezmer Wonderland

 
Every summer a B'nai Brith camp in Canada's Laurentian Mountains transforms itself into a Yiddish Klezmer summer festival, complete with musicians, dancers, and singers.

The festival, called KlezKanada, which was held this year from August 22 through August 28, featured workshops, lectures, and lots of singing and dancing, klezmer style. This year's theme was Jewish Humor.

Over the sixteen years that the festival has been running, it developed its own traditions. One of them is for the hundreds of participants to walk backwards to greet the Sabbath on Friday evening. It's quite a scene, with the walkers and musicians all marching backwards, some wearing kippot and some not, singing a special nigun, and welcoming Shabbat.

How did this tradition start? You'll have to watch the video below to find out. The narration is in Yiddish, from the Forverts (Yiddish edition of The Jewish Daily Forward) with English subtitles. 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.) 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Comedian Elon Gold Reflects on Our New Year vs. Their New Year and Sins You Never Heard Of


Elon Gold, one of our favorite Jewish comedians, delivered some funny observations on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as part of his pre-holiday routine at a comedy festival in Montreal. We'll forgive him for attributing some of the Yom Kippur prohibitions to Rosh Hashanah and laugh along with him anyway.

You may recognize Gold from some of our previous posts. We featured him in December 2009 and in June 2010 when he performed on Chabad telethons.

Gold attended the Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck, NY and the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy (MTA)/Yeshiva University High School for Boys in Manhattan, NY. He is a practicing orthodox Jew.

A word of caution to any of our serious readers who want to keep Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur comedy-free. Take a pass on this video. To everyone else, 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.)  

 
(A tip of the kippah to Sheila Zucker for calling our attention to this video.)