Monday, December 31, 2012

"Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy" - A "Don't Miss" TV Special


This week PBS stations (Channel 13 in the New York area) will be running a not-to-be-missed 90 minute documentary titled Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy. It's the first documentary film to explore the phenomenon that, over the fifty-year period of its development, the songs of the Broadway musical were created almost exclusively by Jewish Americans. 

These are the popular songs that our nation took to war, sang to their children at bedtime, and whistled while waiting for the bus – taken in total they comprise the vast majority of what is now commonly referred to as “The American Songbook.”

Written and directed by Michael Kantor and narrated by Joel Grey, the film features interviews with Sheldon Harnick, John Kander, Andrew Lippa, Stephen Schwartz, Phyllis Newman, Charles Strouse, Harold Prince, Maury Yeston, Mary Rodgers Guettel, Ernie Harburg, Marc Shaiman, David Shire, Stephen Sondheim, Mel Brooks, Stephen Schwartz and many others.

Dynamic footage includes performances by stars such as David Hyde Pierce, Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara, Zero Mostel, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Nathan Lane, Al Jolson, Fanny Brice, Barbra Streisand, Joel Grey, Dick Van Dyke, Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel.

As Eddy Friedfeld, co-author of Caesar's Hours with Sid Caesar wrote,
In the 1920s, nearly one in four New York residents was Jewish. The film charts how Jewish immigrants and children of immigrants in the melting pot of old New York helped shape the vision of America through musical theater. While shows like Porgy and Bess, Show Boat and Oklahoma are fictions, they represent the artist's vision of how do we take what we know from Jewish culture and tradition and make it into America?

The film also points out that the music of Porgy and Bess was rooted in Hebrew prayers and then charts the journey of the music into the brilliant hands of Miles Davis as he re-crafts the liturgical themes' roots into his own classic jazz riffs.
The show begins with a funny scene from Spamalot, with David Hyde Pierce singing We Won't Succeed on Broadway if We Don't Have Any Jews." Click on the video clip below to see and hear the song with the lyrics as subtitles.

Set your DVRs to record the show! 
Broadcast times:
Tuesday, New Years Day at 9:30 pm on Channel 13
Thursday, Jan. 3 at 1 am on Channel 13
Sunday, Jan. 6 at 2 pm on Channel 13 and 5 pm on Channel 21

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.)    



(A tip of the kippah to Esther Kustanowitz for bringing this story to our attention.)
 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Comedy Clips From "My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish, and I'm in Therapy


Steve Solomon's one man comedy show My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish, and I'm in Therapy has been touring the US since at least 2006 and had an off-Broadway run last year. It's closed now, but we finally got a close look at his shtick in a series of segments from the show that were just posted on YouTube this week.

Solomon created the show and wrote the jokes, but the one man lead has been played by other actors during the show's run. The New York version, clips of which appear below, featured Peter Fogel in the lead (and only) role. 

We join the show in a first segment where Fogel is describing his experience on an El Al plane bound for Israel. 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, December 28, 2012

Adon Olam Around the World: A Brazilian "Hey Jude" Version


Adon Olam, the traditional song that ends the morning Shabbat service in most synagogues, has almost as many versions as Hava Nagila

We've shared more than 20 versions of Hava Nagila and eight of Adon Olam, two of them from Brazil. The videos and their descriptions are all listed and linked together in our book Jewish Humor on Your Desktop: Jewish Traces in Interesting Places.

Today we're returning to Brazil for a third time, with the Kol Haneshama Chorale making their second appearance, this time with an unusual take on Adon Olam. It's set to the Beatles' song Hey Jude.

This group really gets around. They sing in synagogues, clubs, auditoriums, and other locations in Brazil, not all of them Jewish. If you happen to notice some of the wall hangings in this performance, this will become apparent.

Tomorrow if you're called on to lead the singing at the end of the service, you might consider this version. You'll probably be surprised by the number of congregants singing along.

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, December 27, 2012

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: A Mystery in Mexico


The state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico, shares a border, the Rio Grande, with Texas. It has been reported over the years that Anusim, secret Jews who escaped from the Spanish Inquisition, traveled to Mexico and settled there.

Earlier this month, a university in Coahuila staged an arts festival that included 15 minutes of Hebrew music and dance. The video, which is posted below, left us somewhat confused. We enjoy digging up back stories for most of our blog posts, but for this one, the back story eludes us. So we're calling on you, our readers, to help solve the mystery. The first reader to send us a plausible back story that checks out will receive a copy of our new e-book, Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places.

So what's the mystery? The dances are Israeli, but the dancers appear to be Mexican. The boys wear kippot and a few wear tzitzit, but their shirts look very much like those worn by Messianic Christian groups in Central and South America who have an affinity for Israeli dancing. Some of the T-shirts feature the Hebrew word tekuma in large type. The word can be translated as reistance, revival, rebirth, or resurrection. A man wrapped in a tallit blows a Yemenite shofar at seemingly random places in the midst of the dancing and singing. And about 5 minutes into the set, they start to dance an Italian tarantella.

We'd like to put all of this together and tell a complete back story for this video. Can you help? We appeal especially to our readers in Texas who are geographically close to Coahuila and may have a better understanding of what's going on. But the contest is open to all. So let's hear from you. Just put your explanation in the comments section below for all to see.

Meanwhile, enjoy the festive singing and dancing!

(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.)    
 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Archie Bunker Discovers What's in a Name


Aish HaTorah's Jewlarious web site pointed us to a funny but poignant episode of All in the Family where patriarch Archie Bunker goes to the funeral of Stretch Cunningham, his friend of 12 years, and finds out that Stretch had changed his name and was really Jewish and the beloved son of Chaim Cohnheimer.

The shock of suddenly losing his friend and the discovery that he was Jewish creates a situation ripe with funny dialog such as "A Jewish name ain't supposed to have no ham in it". When called upon to deliver a eulogy, Archie comes up with such gems as:

"I wouldn't have believed that Stretch was a Jew because he wasn't a doctor or a lawyer or in the dress business. He was just like myself -- an ordinary working hard working stiff. 

The video clip posted by Aish was edited to keep it down to four minutes. One result was the cutting of some of the funnier lines in the eulogy including a rabbi and priest joke that Stretch told. If you want to see the complete clip lasting 10 minutes you can find it here.

Despite his usual gaffes and insensitive comments, Archie recovers and shows his best side.

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.)   


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Santa is Jewish, an Attorney, and a Real Mensch


Dana Friedman says he comes from the generation of Borscht Belt comedians and incorporates that kind of humor into his role when he puts on his red and white costume every December. An attorney with an office near the World Trade Center site, he puts on the Santa suit to raise funds for the children of the first responders on 9/11. 

As Naomi Zeveloff wrote in The Jewish Daily Forward,
Friedman, a 53-year-old Jewish civil attorney from Queens, has been playing Santa for 11 years. It all began after the September 11 attacks, when Friedman, whose law office is located just blocks from the World Trade Center site, wanted to find a way to give back to first responders. Instead of donating money, his secretary suggested that he don a Santa suit and make Christmastime visits to the families of firefighters and police officers affected by the attacks. What began as an act of “tzedakah,” in Friedman’s words, soon turned into a seasonal side job.

Today, with his gray hair bleached to a chalky white, and his beard groomed in kingly curls, he suits up in nine layers of red-and-white regalia and spends the month of December in malls and hospitals, hoisting children onto his knee for keepsake photographs. Only rarely does he divulge his own religious background, and usually just when the family in question is Jewish. But he always gets the same tickled response. “It’s something people don’t expect,” he said.
In the video below, Friedman talks about his days in the early grades at the Yeshiva of Flatbush and teaching at Temple Emanuel in Boro Park.

Sometimes the children's requests are difficult, like when they say they want their dad when their dad is serving overseas or otherwise absent. But Friedman's approach, in his own words is:

"You provide comfort to a child. You give them hope. One thing I never do is I never lie to a child and I never promise anything that I can't personally deliver."

All in all, a real mensch.

(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, December 24, 2012

A New Old Joke to Start the Week: "Three Guys Get Married"


It's Monday morning and as usual we're starting the week with a new old joke, once again from the annals of Old Jews Telling Jokes.

This one comes from Barnett Hoffman, a 72-year-old attorney and retired judge. Hoffman's son, Sam, is the founder of the Old Jews Telling Jokes empire, including the website, book, CD, and DVD which were the inspiration for the off-Broadway show of the same name.

Here's the setup: Three guys get married; one is Catholic, one is Protestant, and one is Jewish. One by one, they tell the others how the first three weeks of married life went after they returned from their honeymoons. First the Catholic, then the Protestant, and then the Jew. Can you guess the outcome?

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, December 23, 2012

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: Hava Nagila Scores Big in Thailand

In April 2010, around the time we started our series of Hava Nagila around the world, we found and posted a somewhat risque version of the popular song -- actually a burlesque version. We regarded it as an oddity. What a surprise this week to find a more mainstream performance on Thailand's popular TV show, The Voice Thailand. 

The Voice is a reality talent show focusing on singing competition. It's a worldwide series that started in the Netherlands as The Voice of Holland in 2010. Soon after, many other countries including the USA have adapted the format and are airing their national versions. It's part of a talent competition phenomenon that includes American Idol, Britain's Got Talent and Israel's Kochav Nolad (A Star is Born).

We don't know how far this singer will get in the talent competition and how many times Hava Nagila will resound through the airwaves in Thailand, but for the time being, we can just enjoy the performance.


(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, December 21, 2012

Half a Billion Dollars in Checks Found Stuffed Into Western Wall


Have you visited Israel lately? By any chance, did you happen to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem and manage to stuff an envelope containing more than 500 checks, each for a million dollars, in the crevices of the wall?  Well, somebody did, and according to a report yesterday by the Associated Press,
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, who oversees Jerusalem's Western Wall, said a worshipper found an envelope at the site Wednesday with 507 checks in the amount of about $1 million each. They were not addressed to anyone, and it's doubtful they can be cashed.

Rabinovitch said most are Nigerian. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said some were from the United States, Europe and Asia.

Rabinovitch says he has found similar checks in Western Wall charity boxes before, but they all bounced. He says most of them were written by people from Africa.

The rabbi says he thinks the check writers "wanted to give all they had to the Creator of the universe."
But if the checks bounced, "all they had" must have been nothing.

Our first thought was how could anyone find a crevice in the wall big enough to hold an envelope with 507 checks? There's usually barely enough space to stuff a folded up piece of paper. But watching the video below we realized that it only looks that way because most of the time the crevices are overstuffed, probably with envelopes of checks from Nigeria. 

That's why the rabbi and his staff go digging before Rosh Hashanah and Pesach for the notes, checks, and whatever else is deposited in the Wall National Bank. Then they bundle them in large black trash bags and bury them unread on the Mount of Olives.

Do you think we're kidding? Watch the video below.

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, December 20, 2012

Israeli Ethiopian Scouts in a Rousing Rendition of Lu Yehi/Let it Be


At a celebration of Israel's Independence Day in Chicago last year, a group of Israeli Ethiopian scouts provided the entertainment, including a rousing interpretation of the song Lu Yehi by Naomi Shemer, composer of Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold). She wrote Lu Yehi during the Yom Kippur war in 1973. It began as a translation of the Beatles’ song Let it Be and evolved into an independent hit.

The scouts, Tzofei Shva, are part of the Israeli Tzofim (Scouts), the only movement in Israel that is both non-political and non-sectarian. In the past few years, the Tzofim began Project Sh’va to foster the integration of youth from the Ethiopian communities into the Scout movement. There are over 1,500 youth originating from Ethiopia involved in the Tzofim.  This represents close to 10% of the Ethiopian youth.  Project Shva develops leadership among the participants and assists them in integrating into Israeli society while preserving their traditions and heritage.

In the Tzofim-Shva the kids learn to be proud of who they are. They feel part of the Israeli society and still are part of their cultural heritage. The kids acquire tools in the Tzofim-Shva that serve them throughout their life. Over the last 5 years, the number of Ethiopian youth in the Tzofim has grown by 1000%, from 150 to 1,500.  Only 42.7% of the Ethiopian youth in high school complete matriculations and only 70% complete their high school studies, while over 85% of these youth in the Tzofim have completed their matriculations and close to 100% have graduated high school. 

And they really know how to dance and sing.  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.)  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Orthodox Jewish Stars Shine in All Walks of Life


What do Senator Joe Lieberman, best-selling novelist Faye Kellerman, professional boxer Dmitriy Salita, former HBO producer Jamie Geller, Rhodes Scholar Miriam Rosenbaum, the Maccabeats, and Hasidic comedian/actor Mendy Pellin have in common?

They're all highly successful in their mainstream careers while also remaining true to Torah observance. In other words, they're Orthodox Jews.  

A new video, produced by Jew in the City, showcases these and other Orthodox Jews who talk about their careers and experiences being religious and successful in the world. The goal is to break down the stereotype that all Orthodox Jews are rabbis or homemakers -- in reality, many are successful in all walks of life.

Through YouTube videos, blogs, Q&A's, and articles in traditional print media, Jew in the City (through its founder, Allison Josephs and a group of volunteers) publicizes the message that Orthodox Jews can be funny, approachable, educated, pro-women and open-minded, and that Orthodox Judaism links the Jewish people to a deep and beautiful heritage that is just as relevant today as it ever was.

(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.)



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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Comedy Showcase: Meet Robin Fox, Funniest Mom on the Block and Comedy Scene


Robin Fox Spent 17 years as a full-time mom and dieting. Then one day, Robin gave up dieting and decided to make her life-long dream of being a comedian a reality. Today she is happier than she can ever remember and will never look back! Original and funny, she talks from her heart about the frustrations of suburban living, marriage, and raising a family. 

No longer is she willing to just be the funniest mom on her New Jersey cul-de-sac. This New Jersey mom is now a regular on the comedy scene playing at the top clubs in NYC and surrounding areas.

In this video clip, Robin carries on about Jewish food, cooking for the holidays, and making kitchens kosher. Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)


Monday, December 17, 2012

A Joke to Start the Week: "The Stutter"


We're back to posting a "new" old joke every Monday morning to get the new week off to a laughing start. 

Irving "Brownie" Brown, a 102-year-old retired typesetter, is our joke teller this week, fresh from a new posting at Old Jews Telling Jokes. 

Here's the setup: A man goes to see the doctor. In the waiting room, another man asks him: "D-d-d-d-d-do you know the doctor?" 
"Yeah."
"Is he a g-g-g-g-good doctor?
"Yeah."
"What's wrong with you?"
"Do you really want to know?"

And here comes the punch line....(tell it to 'em, Brownie!)

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, December 16, 2012

Gangnam Style? No, Florida Hebrew School Kids Perform Chanukah Style


Can you believe that today's the eighth and last day of Chanukah? We hope you all had a joyful holiday like we did. We'll bet you have a lot of leftovers--latkes, sufganiyot, decorations, dreidels.

We also have a lot of leftovers--music videos, that is. We can't believe how many Chanukah music videos came in this year and we're sorry we couldn't post all of them.

Now here's what you've been waiting for: The very last Chanukah music video of 5773/2012. Which one will it be? It wasn't an easy decision, but in the end we decided to give this one to the kids--that's the kids in the Hebrew school program at the Shul in Bal Harbour, Florida, acting out the story of Chanukah to the infectious beat of Gangnam Style, a South Korean pop song that's taken the music world by storm over the last few months.

Enjoy!

(A NOTE TO OUR READERS: We know that Psy, the artist who originated this song is controversial because of the recent discovery that he sang anti-American lyrics in a 2004 South Korean protest video against the American military. He has apologized for the incident and is slated to perform at a White House event next week. We don't think that's a reason to miss out on the exuberant interpretation of the Chanukah story by the kids of Bal Harbour.)

(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, December 14, 2012

Israeli Yeshiva Boys Do a Chanukah Break Dance


When the administration of Yeshiva Reishit Yerushalayim in Beit Shemesh, Israel wrote in their mission statement that they offer balanced Torah studies and an afternoon break, they weren't kidding. A sense of balance and break, as in break dancing, are very much in evidence in this delightful Chanukah video put together by the Reishit students.

Here are some of the lyrics:

"Those Yevanim (Greeks) thought they could wipe us out.
We're lighting the menorah.
God was on our side which they didn't know about.
We're lighting the menorah.
Jews is what we are and we all unite.
We're lighting the menorah.
Publicize the neis (miracle) with our candlelight.
We're lighting the menorah." 

Enjoy! Chag Chanukah Sameach 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.)



(A tip of the kippah and a copy of our new e-book "Jewish Humor on Your Desktop: Jewish Holiday Hilarity" to Michael Reinheimer for bringing this video to our attention.)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is That ABBA Singing a Chanukah Medley? No, It's IMMA


Last night we lit the fifth Chanukah candle, and pondered which music video to pick for today, the fifth day of the holiday. We have only two more Chanukah posts after this one (we're not posting on Shabbat), so what's a blogger to do?

We've got a stack of Chanukah videos -- some we found on our own, some were sent by readers, and some came from the performers themselves. If we posted all of them, we'd be celebrating Hanukkah for another month. Maybe that's not such a bad idea. The oil lasted eight days, but at the rate they're coming in, the music videos might last eight weeks. 

So, with apologies to the performers and senders whose requests we will not be able to honor this year, we present the first of the last batch of three Chanukah videos.

With the strains of Super Trouper, Waterloo, and Thank You for the Music playing in the background, we thought we were listening to Chanukah songs by ABBA, the Swedish pop singing group. But it's not ABBA, it's IMMA, a group of four mothers in Israel who write and sing Jewish lyrics to pop songs.We know they're in Israel because the Hebrew letters on the dreidel they're spinning are Nun, Gimel, Hey, and Pey (not Shin), standing for Nes Gadol Haya Po (A great miracle happened HERE.)

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.)


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shalom America Radio Interviews Jewish Humor Central's Founder


On Monday, Jewish Humor Central and eight new books showcasing the best of its 979 blog posts were the subject of the Shalom America radio program on radio-j.com. Cleveland talk show host Phil Fink interviewed Al Kustanowitz, Jewish Humor Central's Blogger-in-Chief, for 15 minutes.

Phil Fink
In the interview, Phil praises Al's new book, Jewish Humor on Your Desktop: The Complete Collection, now available in large format paperback as well as in e-book reader format for Kindle, iPad, iPhone, and other smart phones, tablets, PCs, and Macs.

Phil and Al exchange views about the pluses and minuses of the technological revolution that is increasingly moving books out of the bookstore and instantly onto electronic devices. They agree on the need for both forms, with e-books giving instant access to online videos and references, and traditional paper books offering reading pleasure on Shabbat, Yom Tov, and for showing to and sharing with others.



Just click on the orange arrow below to start listening. We hope you enjoy the interview.

Eight Nights of Hanukkah: An a Cappella Mashup by the Pella Singers


After releasing an outstanding Chanukah video last year, the Pella Singers are back with another one of their professionally produced mashup music videos.  This time they're pulling out all the stops and incorporating computer graphics (cgi) and animation effects and trapeze artists, too.

They are true artists in the art of a cappella, using their mouths and their voices to simulate the sounds of musical instruments.

In this video they also link their music to the StandWithUs campaign to support Israel around the world.

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.)



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chanukah Means Dedication: A Musical Reminder


It's taken a long time, but we've finally reached a point in Jewish music where we can reliably expect a crop of new Jewish holiday group and solo music videos every year from a growing list of performers. 

This year we've already posted some and we have more lined up than there are days of Chanukah. So that leaves only four more songs to post before we leave our all Chanukah format and return to the usual mix of jokes, stand-up comedians, funny happenings, Israeli humor, Yiddish encounters, and Jewish traces in unexpected places.

We'll try to pick the best songs for the next four days. Today's choice is Chanukah Means Dedication, an original song written and performed by Rabbi David Sirull, spritual leader of Adas Yeshurun, a Conservative synagogue in Augusta, Georgia.

Rabbi Sirull reminds us in his song that Chanukah means dedication; it's not all about the gifts. He encourages us to take on a new mitzvah or two. He suggests studying Torah, affixing a mezuzah, welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, honoring the elderly, preventing accidents, and loving your neighbor.

Tonight we light the fourth candle.

Enjoy!


(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)


 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Shirat Machar Sings "Chanukah - Eight Nights of Lights"


As we prepare to light the third Chanukah candle tonight, we're sharing Eight Nights of Lights, a music video produced by Shirat Machar, a group of eleven talented young singers from Israel, all with extensive experience as youth leaders. 

Members of NOAM (an acronym for Noar Masorti or Masorti youth), they have been selected to represent the Masorti movement to Jewish communities outside Israel with their co-ed vocal performances.

Masorti, meaning traditional, is the Hebrew name for the movement of Conservative Judaism in Israel. The Masorti Movement, founded in 1979, is the umbrella organization of Masorti kehillot (congregations), which foster the practice of traditional Judaism among Israeli men and women while embracing modernity. In promoting the combined values of Conservative Judaism, religious tolerance and Zionism, the Movement strives to nurture a healthy, pluralistic, spiritual and ethical foundation for Israeli society.

Approximately 50,000 Israelis are members and affiliates of Masorti kehillot and national programs, which engage some 125,000 Israelis each year. More than sixty percent of the Masorti community are native-born Israelis or come from lands in which English is not their native tongue.


On Chanukah we add Hallel, a set of psalms written by King David to our daily prayers. Here we're also including a modern form of Hallel -- the Shirat Machar group singing a cover of Leonard Cohen's most popular song, Hallelujah. In putting this posting together, we came across an interesting fact -- Cohen's Hallelujah is broadcast at 2am every Saturday night by the Israeli Defense Forces' radio channel. 

Enjoy! 

(A NOTE TO OUR JOKE LOVERS: The Monday Joke to Start the Week will return after Chanukah.) 

(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.)




(A tip of the kippah and a copy of our new e-book Jewish Humor on Your Desktop: Jewish Holiday Hilarity to Shelly Allon for bringing this video to our attention.)