Sunday, August 31, 2014

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: Yiddish Tango is Fusion of Klezmer and Argentinian Tango


The Argentinian Tango emerged from the slums of Buenos Aires, but over the years it absorbed other musical strains as immigrants from other countries came to Argentina. 

Jews from Eastern Europe have been immigrating to Argentina and they brought with them klezmer music that has fused with the tango to create a unique music and dance form...the Yiddish Tango.

As Elizabeth Lee writes in The Jewish Voice,
For Argentine-born Gustavo Bulgach, tango is music with an attitude.
“Tango means the blues. Tango is not just tango - it means - it’s an attitude that you want to express.  In every language, in Yiddish, in Spanish - in whatever language - Tango represents that kind of attitude of losing or having your heart broken by life,” Bulgach says.
Bulgach is the band leader of the Yiddish Tango Club, a group that fuses a form of Jewish dance music known as "klezmer" with Argentine tango.
“Tango is not only Argentinian. It’s a loop from Europe also. It’s like something dramatic, and it’s the count…maybe one, two, three,” says vocalist Divina Gloria.
The band pays tribute to the music of the Jewish immigrants in Argentina.  Bulgach is Jewish, and his family emigrated to Argentina from Russia.  Jewish vocalist Divina Gloria’s family came from Poland.  Yiddish tango evokes memories of her own childhood in Argentina.
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.) 


Friday, August 29, 2014

Jewbellish Gives ALS Ice Bucket Challenge a Traditional Jewish Twist


Jewbellish founder and Hasidic comedian Mendy Pellin has taken the ALS Ice Bucket challenge to the next level and has given it a traditional Jewish twist. Why challenge people to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads when you can ask them to douse themselves with a pot of boiling matzo ball chicken soup?

But does the substitution of matzo ball soup for ice water meet the stringencies of halacha, or Rabbinic Jewish law? Mendy and his co-anchor Big Dave Earl Jones search the sources and find that although most commentaries say that if there is no ice it doesn't count, the Loopholer Rebbe says that it's the water that counts and chicken soup is mostly water.

On the Jewbellish web site, Pellin posts a lists of halachic questions and answers about the challenge that will have you rolling on the floor laughing. We're posting the list just below the video. 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.) 



Hilchos Ice Bucket Challenge (reprinted from the Jewbellish.com website)
We’ve received several halachic questions regarding various aspects of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and we will address a number of them here.

What is the biblical source for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?
The verse in Twitteriticus (24:7) states, “And it shall be seventh day, when your friend shall calleth upon you to partake in the ice-water ceremony. You shall surely pour the ice-water on your head, or on the head of thou friend who is close to you. For if you shall not pour, you shall incur the wrath of the Lord the scorn of your social media friends and you shall pay one hundred silver coins to the charity of my choosing. And it shall be for an atonement on your soul.”

I have been nominated. How long do I have to complete the Ice Bucket Challenge?
It depends who you are. For the layman 24 hours is the limit. If you need to arrange a helicopter to dump ice on you while you stand on top of a mountain wearing speedos, the American Council of Rabbis grants you an additional 24 hours due to the great pirsumei nisa (publicity) that you are affecting. If you are Ellen Degeneres, better you should wait as long as humanly possible so that every living celebrity under the sun gets down on their knees and begs and pleads for you to do it while pledging tens of thousands of dollars to ALS.

I have seen many videos of people pouring plain water on themselves. Rabbi, is that allowed?
In short, no. One who pours plain water on himself has not fulfilled his obligation. This prohibition can be derived from a careful, detailed examination of the name of mitzvah: Ice Bucket Challenge. The Rabbis derived that ice must be present in the bucket in order to properly do the mitzvah. Otherwise, they argued, it would just be called “The Bucket  Challenge.” Not very compelling.
Reform says warm water is fine also.

Does the ice need to have a hashgacha (a kosher certification)?
Preferably, yes. That has been the custom of the Hassidim. However, according to Rav Moshe, kerach stam is fine also, the reasoning being that the vast majority of ice in the United States is made of water. Most modern-orthodox bucket dumpers have adopted this ruling. This reasoning would obviously not apply to ice manufactured in third-world countries such as Liberia and Canada. God only knows what they put in their ice.
Reforms says anything will do.

Do I need to be clothed to participate, or can I wear a bathing suit?
While according to the strict letter of the law you do not need to be decked out in a tux and bowtie, people that dump the water while wearing bathing suits may be transgressing the rabbinic prohibition of being really lame. Furthermore, people that do it while standing in a bathtub are just cowardly yutzes.
Alternatively, they are Reform.

Does pouring the water on my head really absolve me of the need to give charity?
If you speak very passionately about the ALS cause before dumping water on your head, your friends will assume that you gave money and then you don’t have to actually do it yourself. Better you should give the money to the schnorer in shul.
Reform says you must donate regardless. You also must donate to AIPAC and JNF.

May the video be filmed in vertical mode?
 Absolutely not. Reform agrees.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Stand-up Comic Elon Gold Skewers English, Russian, and Israeli Accents


Elon Gold has always been one of our favorite young stand-up comics. A practicing Orthodox Jew who attended Westchester Day School and Yeshiva University High School, he performs for Jewish and for general audiences. 

His Jewish routines tend to be family-friendly, and his general routines not so.

Elon has just released a new collection of his general comedy routines called Chosen and Taken (WARNING: The language is explicit). The audio clips are available individually or as a complete album on Amazon.com.

Some of the video clips are available on YouTube. The one we're sharing with you today is a set of very funny observations about language, specifically about accents from England, Russia, and Israel.

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, August 27, 2014

Israel Defense Forces Choir Sings Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah - A Special Post for Ceasefire on Rosh Hodesh Elul


A few years ago the chorus of the Israel Defense Forces recorded a video performance of Leonard Cohen's signature song Hallelujah. Since we just came across it today we thought it would be an appropriate post on a few levels.

Yesterday and today we are celebrating the start of the Hebrew month of Elul, a day in which we say Hallel, ushering in a month of reflection, repentance, and prayers for forgiveness and mercy. It may be just a coincidence, but we noted that on Rosh Hodesh Elul a ceasefire without a time limit went into effect between Israel and Hamas. We only hope that this time it lasts.

During this coming month the song's composer, poet and singer Leonard Cohen will be celebrating his 80th birthday with the release of his 13th studio album, a collection of his latest songs called Popular Problems.

If you weren't a subscriber to Jewish Humor Central back in October 2009, the first month that we started blogging, you probably didn't see our post of Cohen singing to 50,000 people in the Ramat Gan Stadium in Israel, and it's something worth watching. As a bonus, he ended the concert by giving the crowd the Priestly Blessing, Birkat Kohanim. To see both videos, click here.

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.) 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hasidic Comedian Yisrael (formerly Christopher) Campbell on Why He Was Circumcised Three Times


Back in October 2009 when we started blogging at Jewish Humor Central, one of our first posts was about Christopher Campbell, a former Catholic who converted to Judaism, changed his name to Yisrael, and went into the stand-up comedy business. We have been following his career and met him briefly while doing research on Jewish humor in Jerusalem last year.

He turned the story of his conversion, especially the three circumsicisons that he underwent, into a one-man show and a documentary which have been performed and shown around the world at Jewish Film Festivals and most recently this month at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

When we attended and reported on the Jewish Week's Funniest Comedian contest last month, we were delighted to see that Yisrael was on the program as a guest comedian. With his permission, we will be running a few excerpts from that show over the next few months, starting with today's video clip in which he explains just why he had three circumcisions.

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, August 25, 2014

A Joke to Start the Week - "Railroad Apartment"


It's Monday again, and you know what that means. Yep, it's time for another joke to start the week.

Once again we dip into the Old Jews Telling Jokes treasure chest to come up with another winner from Max Rosenthal. 

The 88-year-old veteran of a childrenswear business has been called the king of deadpan humor for his straight-faced delivery of funny short jokes.

Here's the setup for today's joke:

This couple rented an apartment in the midwest from a Jewish landlord near the railroad station. So the next morning the woman runs in to the landlord and she says "This place is terrible. The train came by and the whole house shook." And then...

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, August 24, 2014

Comedy Showcase: Meet Marion Oxenhorn, America's Funniest Grandma


Marion Oxenhorn, a mother and grandmother from Morris County, New Jersey, pursued her dream of becoming a stand-up comedian after she watched stand-up comics and thought to herself, “I could do that.” 

She blends topical humor with wry observations about domestic life. “At a time when most people are retiring, I’ve started this comedy career.” 

Marion is upfront with her audience. “I’m about as small as you can get in the comedy field. No one’s ever heard of me. On the other hand, Jerry Seinfeld is about as BIG as you can get in comedy. Everybody’s heard of Jerry. In fact, Jerry is so famous that when he had a child it was all over the news. But I’m not jealous because I KNOW that if I have a child it’ll be all over the news too!" 

This from a senior citizen who found her funny bone late in life – among other body parts that issued her a wake up call. “When you get older, you develop a relationship with every part of your body. You get a personal pain report every morning.” 

Marion holds her 55 year marriage responsible for fueling much of her material as well as her “unconventional” kids and the aging process. “As you get older food becomes a substitute for sex. Oh, that’s so good , mmmm… You might think we’re having sex, but we’re just eating banana cream pie.” 

Marion performs her stand-up routines at comedy clubs and at senior communities in the metro New York-New Jersey area. Here's a recent performance at Caroline's in Manhattan. 

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.)
 


Friday, August 22, 2014

Musical Showcase: Meet Shir Soul and their a Capppella Rendition of Adon Olam


In addition to introducing our readers to new comedians, from time to time we've been doing the same for new musical groups and highlighting some of their songs. 

Today we're showcasing the songs of Shir Soul, a wedding band and a cappella singing group founded in 2005 by David Ross.

With their eclectic mix of Jewish rock, pop, and soul music, Shir Soul has recorded a few albums and plays at weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, and other occasions with musical instruments or a cappella.

As we welcome Shabbat tonight, let's listen to one of the familiar renditions of Adon Olam, but with Shir Soul's unique a cappella styling.

Enjoy and Shabbat shalom!


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



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Comedy Showcase Flashback: Stand-up With Gabe Kaplan (1976)


If you're old enough to remember the TV series Welcome Back, Kotter, which ran from 1975 to 1979, you're old enough to remember the comedy of Gabe Kaplan. After the show's run ended, he became a professional poker player. Now, at 69, he's doing stand-up comedy again.

Kaplan started out as a bellman at a hotel in Lakewood, New Jersey. Touring comedians would sometimes perform at the hotel, and Kaplan began to work toward his own career as a stand-up comedian. Gabe honed his standup routine in 1964 in places such as the Cafe Tel Aviv at 250 West 72nd Street, New York City.

Kaplan's comedy was successful, and he toured the country with his act based on his childhood experiences in Brooklyn. He appeared five times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson from May 1973 to December 1974. During this period he also recorded the comedy album Holes and Mello-Rolls, which included long routines about his high-school days, among other topics; the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, whose central characters he helped Eric Cohen and Alan Sacks create and whose core format he helped them to develop, was in part based on his comedy act. 

In the sitcom, Kaplan played Gabe Kotter, who returns as a teacher to the dysfunctional high school where he had himself been a student. The series ran from 1975 to 1979.

Here's a video clip fro 1976 showing Kaplan doing stand-up comedy with a pretty good imitation of Ed Sullivan, parodying the way Sullivan always had something on his TV show for every ethnic group, including Jews.

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, August 20, 2014

Only Jewish Female Sword Swallower in America Shows How It's Done


With all the negative news that we're hearing from all over the USA and around the world, it's refreshing to find a story in the news that can serve as a diversion.

Yesterday the Jewish Daily Forward featured a story and video about the only Jewish female sword swallower in America. Yes, it's a real 19-inch-long stainless steel sword, not the one referred to by 12-year-old Josh Orlian in his stand-up comedy performance on America's Got Talent.

As Martyna Starosta reported in the Forward,
Carter grew up in a “nice Jewish family” on the Upper East Side. (Everybody in her family is a doctor, which might come in handy). Growing up she never felt “a great physical connection” with her body. “I had a lot of body issues,” she said, “for a long time I wished I could just be a brain in a jar.” But “becoming a sword swallower for me was very self-esteem building because I have this relatively rare skill that’s the result of great discipline.”
For the rest of the story in the Forward, click here, and enjoy the video.
(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, August 19, 2014

How Do You Say Lobster in Yiddish? Teaching Yiddish to Senior Citizens


Last week, during a vacation in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, we took a side trip to visit the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst.

We expected to be there for no more than an hour, but ended up spending almost three hours watching the videos and browsing the collection of books, sheet music, and viewing artifacts such as a Yiddish printing press and reproductions of front pages of Yiddish newspapers that described the major events of the twentieth century. 

One of the more interesting videos is about how more than a million Yiddish books were saved and are now being digitized and translated so that anyone can read them on the Internet.

Copyright Yiddish Book Center
The center has a room dedicated to the Wexler Oral History Project, a growing collection of in-depth video interviews.  Through stories of tradition and survival, memories of bygone neighborhoods, foods and family rituals, and stories of connection to Yiddish language and culture today, they are chronicling the many ways there are to be Jewish.

In the past four years, they’ve recorded over 400 interviews, stories told by people of all ages and backgrounds—bobes (grandmothers) and young activists, Yiddish language students and professors, musicians, and grandchildren of Yiddish writers, native speakers and non-Yiddish speakers.

These interviews illustrate the ways in which Yiddish language and culture inform Jewish identity.  Together, these stories and reflections provide a glimpse into the ways in which cultural heritage is transmitted, adapted, and reinterpreted by each generation.

The goal of the Wexler Oral History Project is to record and preserve stories. They are particularly looking for people with strong connections to Yiddish language and culture, but they also interview people from all ages and backgrounds in order to explore the broadest expression of Jewish experience. 


If you are planning to visit the Book Center, consider packing your stories along with you!  They have appointments available now for the coming months.  Don't miss your chance to contribute your story to the archive in their state-of-the-art Karmazin Recording Studio in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Here's an example that was just posted on the Internet. It features Helen Kurzban, a Brooklyn-born native Yiddish speaker, describing how after retirement she volunteered to teach a variety of Yiddish-related courses to senior citizens and how she found out how to say lobster in Yiddish.

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, August 18, 2014

A Joke to Start the Week - "Spaceship in the Desert"


It's Monday again, and time for another Joke to Start the Week. Once again we're digging into the treasure chest called Old Jews Telling Jokes and finding one that we hope will let you get the week going with a smile.

Today's jokester is 76-year-old psychologist Sherwin Kepes with a joke from outer space.

Here's the setup: A guy is walking through the desert. He looks up and sees a spaceship. It looks like it's going to crash and it does. He runs over, a hatch opens, and this woman gets out and she's gorgeous. And then...

Enjoy!

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


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Efrat Residents Show How "Happy" They Are


A few months ago we posted two versions of the Pharrell Wiliams Academy Award-winning song Happy that were filmed in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The videos showed views of residents of Israel singing and dancing around the cities. 

The goal was to give people abroad a feel good impression of the cities other than a view they might have from getting all their information from the mainstream media.

And then something happened. Gaza.

But the sudden war that erupted didn't change the positive attitudes that Israelis maintained throughout the crisis. The residents of the city of Efrat, a thriving town near Jerusalem, wanted to show their high spirits by participating in a similar video showing their happiness about living in Israel. And as the video shows, while made during the height of the recent crisis, its residents, young and old, are still happy.

(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 Sheila Zucker for bringing this video to our attention)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sunday Orchestra Performs Mashup of Jewish Popular Melodies



The Sunday Orchestra is an ensemble of professional musicians from different countries, performing hit songs from five continents.

The group consists of string instruments and vocalists. It 
has participated in the opening ceremonies of various prestigious festivals and exhibitions, as well as corporate events held by the largest Russian and foreign companies, from Vladivostok to Tel Aviv and from Berlin to Bangkok.


In this video clip, the Sunday Orchestra performs a medley of Hebrew and Jewish music, including Hava Nagila, Bei Mir Bist Du Schein, Siman Tov u'Mazal Tov, David Melech Yisrael, and Hevenu Shalom Aleichem.

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.)


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Comedy Showcase: Modi Rosenfeld at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal


Modi Rosenfeld is one of our favorite young comedians and we've posted many of his stand-up comedy routines and skits. 

Last year he appeared at the Just for Laughs festival, an annual summer event in Montreal. In this clip, Modi reveals the number one way to pick up women...Astrology!

Modi has a wide range of funny persona. Sometimes he appears as a Chasid in full black dress, other times as a typical Jewish stand-up comic, and others as a non-denominational general comedian. This video shows him without any ethnic attributes. Any way we look at it, we think he's funny.

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, August 13, 2014

Legendary Comedian Milton Berle Reflects on Jewish Humor


Legendary comedian Milton Berle (1908-2002) was known as Mr. Television, Uncle Milty, and was widely acclaimed as the first television superstar.

While Jewish Audiences reacted to his seemingly Jewish shtick, Berle never made a practice of telling specifically Jewish jokes. 

He relied on the audience to categorize him as a Jewish comedian. But he was just as likely to perform in a church as in a synagogue.

So we were surprised and happy to find the video below showing Berle being interviewed and sharing his thoughts about the unique qualities of Jewish humor.

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.)

 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hava Nagila Around the World - Russian Red Army Chorus


Hava Nagila continues to spread around the world. In the almost five years that we've been blogging, we have posted 43 versions of this classic Hebrew/Jewish song. 

It has shown up in many countries, including some unexpected ones (Scroll down the left column on this page and click on "Hava Nagila" in the Keywords list and you'll see what we mean.)

Russia shows up a few times in the list of Hava Nagila countries, but within Russia there are many different renditions. Here's a version sung by the Russian Red Army Chorus. Known as the Alexandrov Ensemble, it's an official army choir of the Russian armed forces. Founded during the Soviet era, the ensemble consists of a male choir, an orchestra, and a dance ensemble.

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, August 11, 2014

A Joke to Start the Week - "A Hole in One"


Another Monday, another Joke to Start the Week. Today's joke comes from the project "When Jews Were Funny," which became a documentary shown at Jewish Film Festivals this year.

Last month we posted a trailer of the 89 minute film, which includes a series of interviews with old and young Jewish comedians. It's available on Netflix for instant playing, and as a DVD from Amazon.com

This clip is identified as coming from the film, but we didn't see it there. We don't recognize the comedian, so if you can identify him, please share the information in the comments section below.

Here's the setup:  It's Yom Kippur, and this avid golfer decides that he's going to go out and shoot a quick nine holes before he has to go to shul. And then...

Enjoy!

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


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tel Aviv Flash Mob in Mashup of Hatikvah and We Will Rock You to Support IDF


Last week a flash mob showed up in Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv to perform a spontaneous salute to the Israel Defense Forces. 

The musical salute was a mashup of Hatikvah and the 1977 Queen hit We Will Rock You.

Enjoy!

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


Friday, August 8, 2014

Tumbalalaika Around the World: Mike Burstyn's Yiddish Lesson


In November 2012 we started a series tracking the Yiddish song Tumbalalalaika around the world, sharing versions performed in Amsterdam, Milan, Russia, and Belarus.

In 2009 Yiddish actor and singer Mike Burstyn performed the song at Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park, Kan. 

The concert was one of a series of events celebrating the traditional synagogue's 100th anniversary. Burstyn presented the song in the form of a Yiddish lesson, by translating the song from Yiddish to English. Bur judging from the audience reaction, they didn't need much translation.

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.)



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Comedy Flashback: Groucho Marx Stumps the "What's My Line" Panel in 1963


What's My Line? was one of the most popular TV game shows in the era of game shows. 

From 1950 to 1967 most of America watched it to see if the panel of Dorothy Kilgallen, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf, and a guest panelist could guess the occupation of the contestant, or the name of the mystery guest.

On October 13, 1963, the mystery guest was Groucho Marx. He didn't go a very good job of concealing his voice from the blindfolded panelists, but they were still unable to identify him. Today the show, broadcast in black and white with a maximum prize of $50, might not have as much of an impact as it did back in 1963, but at the time it was a big TV hit.

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, August 6, 2014

Don't Mess With the Diamond District: A Real Flash Mob (Two of Them) Bring Gaza to the Streets of New York


On Friday, July 25, in the midst of the fighting in Gaza, a group of anti-Israel demonstrators tried to interfere with Jewish-owned businesses on 47th Street in Manhattan, the center of New York's Diamond District. 

They carried signs and shouted slogans, but they didn't expect the reaction they got from shopkeepers and a pro-Israel crowd that suddenly appeared from all sides.

The action was captured on video and reported on by Danielle Avel at Breitbart.com. Here is her report:
A beautiful pro-Israel rally spontaneously erupted in New York City on July 25, filling the street with chants celebrating the Jewish State. This outburst responded to an ugly crowd of anti-Israel zealots targeting Jewish-owned businesses in what they called a “direct action.”

The anti-Israel protesters marched through the streets, stopping traffic while screaming “Free, free Palestine!  Free, free Gaza!” These seemingly innocuous slogans were mixed with darker ones such as:
  • “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” i.e., from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, ‘Palestine’ will replace Israel.
  • “Intifada, intifada!” which is a call for violence against Israelis to replace Israel with "Palestine."
Eventually the anti-Israel hooligans reached the normally quiet Diamond District on 47th Street between 5th and 6th avenues.  The district came into existence in the 1920s and grew dramatically in the 1940s as Orthodox Jews in the diamond business fled the Nazis. The demonstrators chose this street in particular, of course, to disrupt Jewish-owned businesses.

The “Free Palestine” pack made its way through scaffolding and construction zones, periodically stopping to do a “mic check,” but also with the effect of bringing their voices into unison again. During one “mic check,” jewelry store owners began emerging from their shops to see the commotion, causing a frenzy among the demonstrators. One of them, a woman, broke the chants and maniacally shouted “intifada, intifada!” And then something striking happened.

Amidst the raucous shouts of “Free, free Palestine!” a different call emerged. A pro-Israel crowd appeared, clapping and chanting “Is-ra-el, Is-ra-el!” Some business owners closed their stores to join, supporters flooded the sidewalk, and the street filled with chants celebrating Israel. The “Free Palestine” zealots looked dazed and confused, their voices out of unison, a couple of stray “Allahu Akbars” honked out as a last resort.

As Zionists filled the street, they called out “Ha-mas ter-ror-ists!” A full-throated celebration of the Israel Defense Forces then broke out with an “I-D-F!” chant. The spontaneous display of pride in Israel ended with the crowd of now hundreds singing songs celebrating Israel.

So, anti-Israel fanatics started the day with a vitriolic “direct action” to disrupt Jewish-owned businesses. But they inadvertently inspired a memorable, moving, and spontaneous display of celebration of the Middle East’s only true democracy. It was a true New York moment – one everyone in the Diamond District that afternoon will always remember.
(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 Phoebe Weisbrot for bringing this video to our attention.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

No Jokes Today - It's Tisha B'Av - A Day of Mourning For The Holy Temples


If you were expecting a joke today, we're sorry to disappoint you. You'll have to wait until tomorrow. Today is Tisha B'Av, an annual fast day in Judaism which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of the Jews from the Land of Israel.

The day also commemorates other tragedies which occurred on the same day, including the Roman massacre of over 100,000 Jews at Betar in 132 CE. Instituted by the rabbis of 2nd-century Palestine, 

Tisha B'Av is regarded as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, a day in which all pleasurable activity is forbidden, and is marked by synagogue attendance the night before and during the day. But that doesn't mean there's no singing, or more accurately, chanting.

The highlight of the day's service is the chanting of the megillah of Eicha (Lamentations), written by the prophet Jeremiah. Eicha is read in synagogues and in groups meeting indoors and outdoors. The video below shows a reading of the last chapter of Eicha opposite the walls of the Old City and Mt Zion in Jerusalem. It was organized by The Jerusalem Challenge, a group whose goal is to help young Jewish adults to form a personal connection with Jerusalem.

If Eicha's dirge-like melody and mournful lyrics don't speak to you, there's another musical way to get into the mood. Back in 1973, during the Yom Kippur War, singer Don McLean performed his hit song Babylon in front of a live audience and had them singing along with him. The lyrics are just perfect for Tisha B'Av, adapted from Psalm 137 in Tehilim (The Book of Psalms).

By the waters of Babylon
We lay down and wept
And wept for thee Zion.
We remember thee, remember thee
Remember thee Zion.

We'll be back with lighter fare tomorrow.

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





Monday, August 4, 2014

A Joke to Start the Week - "Desert Island"


It's the first Monday of August, and time for another Joke to Start the Week. We're back to the collection of Old Jews Telling Jokes and discovering the many jokes that we haven't shared yet. 

Today's joke teller is 66-year-old Ronnie Haber, who retired from a career in textile sales. 

Here's the setup: A man is shipwrecked and all he has with him is a pig and a dog and his trunk. He's miserable. He's been there for months. All of a sudden the pig is getting more attractive. And then...

Enjoy!

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