Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Eating Twinkies with God - A Modern Day Parable by Meir Kay


Filmmaker Meir Kay created a parable called Eating Twinkies with God, starring a young boy named John James Cronin. A Catholic school kindergartener and an Orthodox Jewish filmmaker. It's an unusual team, but one that has created a stir in the blogosphere.

In the film, the boy takes a package of Twinkies from his kitchen and heads out, as he explains to his mother, to find God. And then......

The moral of the story: We don't need to look for and wide for God. He's in every one of us and in every thing that we do. Whether you believe or not, we all can agree that by helping each other, each good act that we do makes this world a brighter place. Let us rise to the occasion and be kinder to each other, to help one another. We are all on the same team.

Fox 5's Dar Alexander spoke to the two of them about the meaning of this heart-warming short film.

Here's the short film, followed by the TV interview.

Enjoy!

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Monday, June 26, 2017

A Joke to Start the Week: "Looking for the Indian"


It's Monday again, and it's time for another Joke to Start the Week. Here's another one from the archives of Old Jews Telling Jokes. Today's joke teller is Sportscaster, Producer, and TV Host Mike Leiderman.

Here's the setup:  The desperados and outlaws in the old west commandeer the stagecoach -- the Wells Fargo, they shoot everybody and they've got the strongbox. The only survivor among the passengers is this little old Jewish man. They say to him "Look buddy, we're not going to kill you because we need you to be our lookout." And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Remembering Bill Dana (Jose Jimenez) and His Many Characters


Last week we lost one of our favorite Jewish comedians, Bill Dana. Bill, who passed away last week at the age of 92, was born William Szathmary to Jewish-Hungarian parents.

A character actor and script writer who adopted a variant of his mother's name Dena as his surname, Bill was most widely known in his role as Jose Jimenez, the Colombian-accented hapless astronaut, bellhop, and karate expert.

We've featured Bill a few times on Jewish Humor Central, including an interview in which he explained the origin of the Jose Jimenez character.

Today we're sharing one of his original appearances in 1968 on The Ed Sullivan Show as Jose Jimenez the astronaut. Enjoy!

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Welcoming Shabbat with The Maccabeats and The Sound of Silence


Art Garfunkel once summed up The Sound of Silence as "the inability of people to communicate with each other."In this day where texting has supplanted speaking as the preferred form of communication for so many, the Simon and Garfunkel song that's 52 years old seems prophetic.

The website Jew in the City, founded by Allison Josephs, has undertaken a mission to break down stereotypes about religious Jews and offer a humorous, meaningful look into Orthodox Judaism.

In collaboration with The Maccabeats, the Jewish music and a cappella phenomenon originally formed in 2007 as Yeshiva University’s student vocal group, Jew in the City has created a music video that shows the contrast between a family communicating electronically and a family enjoying the joy of a quiet Shabbat. It's something to think about as we welcome another Shabbat.

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.





Sound of Silence originally performed by Simon and Garfunkel
Music: The Maccabeats http://maccabeats.com
Director of Photography - Elie Gabor http://eliecreative.com
Executive Producer - Seth Feldman
Associate Producer - Sara Levine
Makeup - Louise Lerman @makeupbyloulerman

Candelabra and tray by http://hazorfim

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca in "The Sneeze"


It's Throwback Thursday again and today we get another chance to go back 67 years to 1950 and another episode of The Hickenloopers on Your Show of Shows.

Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca starred in many episodes of the hilarious marital tribulations of Doris and Charlie Hickenlooper.

In this sketch, the fun starts when Charlie (Sid  Caesar) sneezes and Doris (Imogene Coca) over-reacts.

Enjoy!

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#Throwback Thursday   #TBT 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Comedy Showcase: Comedian Danny Lobell as Sami the Israeli


Today is the first day of summer, and if you have kids at home, you may already have sent them off to camp or will be sending them soon. But what if your kids have no camp plans this summer and having them at home means you can't take a vacation?

Comedian Danny Lobell, in character as Sami the Israeli, has some advice for you, based on the Israeli model of sending their kids to America to sell Dead Sea products in shopping malls. You've probably seen them in suburban malls at free-standing kiosks all over the country.

What's his idea? Make products from pepper and say that they come from Mount Rushmore. Then send them to Israel to sell the products in Tel Aviv shopping malls.

Lobell's idea is funny, and his caricature of an Israeli is painted in broad strokes and with a somewhat exaggerated accent. But it does provide food (and spices) for thought.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

From Ramah to Broadway: Where Best Musical Tony Award Winner Ben Platt Got His Start


Ben Platt, the 23-year-old actor who last week won the coveted Tony award for Best Actor in a Musical for his starring role in Dear Evan Hansen, has been singing the praises of Camp Ramah in California. That's where Platt got his start in writing and acting in Broadway musicals that were translated into Hebrew.


As Shiryn Ghermezian wrote in The Algemeiner,
Platt, who plays the titular role in the upcoming show “Dear Evan Hansen,” sang a Hebrew version of “Luck be a Lady” — from the musical “Guys and Dolls” — on NBC‘s “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

The 23-year-old actor, who previously starred in the film “Pitch Perfect,” told Meyers that he learned the song when he was at a Jewish summer camp, where all productions were performed in Hebrew, and noted that campers would sometimes run into trouble translating lyrics.
The following videos show Platt accepting his Tony Award and discussing the Jewish influences on his career with Seth Meyers .

Enjoy!

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Monday, June 19, 2017

A Joke to Start the Week: "In Loving Memory"


Next week Jewish Humor Central is going on the road in the Northeast, where we'll be doing shows in Ellenville and Albany, New York, and in Montreal. But we'll keep on blogging and posting new videos every day as we celebrate our email subscriber list passing 6,000 viewers in 205 countries.

It's Monday again and we wouldn't want to miss our Joke to Start the Week, so here it is. Today's joke teller is sales rep Jay Palatnik, from the cast of Old Jews Telling Jokes.

Here's the setup: Two elderly Jewish women meet in Florida and one says to the other: "Barbara, I heard that your husband passed away recently." And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: Jewish Greek Festival on New York's Lower East Side


In 70 C.E., when the Roman emperor Titus conquered Jerusalem and carried Jewish slaves with him to Rome, the ship holding them was driven by a storm onto the Albanian coast. 

Instead of throwing his captives into the sea, he allowed them to disembark, and they eventually made their way to the area in northwest Greece where the city of Janina was established. 

In 1927, descendents of the Jews of Janina built a Greek synagogue, Kehila Kedosha Janina, on New York's Lower East Side. It was declared a New York City landmark, and last month it was the focus of a Jewish Greek Festival.

Here is a video with scenes from the festival and a video describing the founding of the synagogue.

Enjoy!

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Welcoming Shabbat with Yedid Nefesh in Tzfat, Israel


Yedid Nefesh is a piyyut (poem) usually sung on Friday night just before the Kabbalat Shabbat (Welcoming Shabbat) service begins.
According to Wikipedia, this beautiful poem is commonly attributed to the sixteenth century kabbalist, Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (1533-1600), who first published it in Sefer Charedim (published in Venice 1601), but Azikri did not claim authorship of it and there have been other suggested authors (e.g. Judah Halevi, or Israel Nagara).  

The first letters of each of the four verses make up the four letter name of God, known in English as the tetragrammaton.

This beautiful rendition by singers Rick Recht and Happie Hoffman was recorded in Israel, in the mystical city of Tzfat. Rick Recht is a celebrated Jewish artist, playing family concerts, Shabbat Alive! services, religious school concerts, teen concerts, camp concerts, and tot concerts throughout the United States and abroad. He is widely recognized as a pioneer of the Jewish rock music genre. In addition to his role as an artist, Recht is regarded as a top Jewish educator and leader in the Jewish world.

Happie Hoffman is a song leader at Jewish Camps and gatherings throughout the U.S. and abroad, performing and leading services at temples and synagogues. Happie’s range of music and spirituality flows from the depths of her conviction. She is passionate about her faith and her music, which when intertwined, offer an experience that is truly memorable.

The song is introduced by Micah Greenstein, Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Enjoy and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Throwback Thursday Musical Nostalgia: Tom Lehrer Sings "The Elements"


We had to go back 50 years to find this one, to a recording made in Copenhagen, Denmark in September 1967. We've previously posted some of Tom Lehrer's satirical masterpieces. The Elements is one of his most famous works.

For some of our younger readers who may not know who Tom Lehrer is, he's an 89-year-old retired American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, and mathematician. He has lectured on mathematics and musical theater. He is best known for the pithy, humorous songs he recorded in the 1950s and '60s. His work often parodies popular song forms, though he usually creates original melodies when doing so. 

A notable exception is The Elements, where he sets the names of the chemical elements to the tune of the Major General's song from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance.

The ordering of elements in the lyrics fits the meter of the song, and includes much alliteration, and thus has little or no relation to the ordering in the periodic table. When Lehrer wrote the song in 1959 there were 102 elements. Today there are 118.


Lehrer drew the inspiration for The Elements from the song Tchaikovsky and Other Russians, written by Ira Gershwin, which listed fifty Russian composers in a similar manner.
Enjoy!


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#Throwback Thursday   #TBT

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Perks of Dating a Jewish Girl


Buzzfeed, the global news and entertainment company, has rolled out just about all of the stereotypes in posting a video on the benefits of dating a Jewish girl.
- She's direct
- She loves to feed people
- She's not a pushover
- She's a great schmoozer

They may be sterotypes. But they're funny. And generally true.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Jewish and Arab Youth Unite in Music with Ukuleles for Peace


In 2004 Roy and Kathy Sakuma established Ukulele Festival Hawaii, a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to bring laughter, love and hope to children and adults throughout Hawaii and the world through the music of the ukulele.

British-Israeli musician and ukulele teacher Paul Moore regularly performs for both Arab and Jewish kids, and it gave him an idea: to combine his love for the ukulele (a small and easy to learn four- string instrument) and his experience with children to create Ukuleles For Peace.

The goal of Ukuleles for Peace is to bring Jewish and Arab children together to play in an orchestra with ukuleles, kazoos and other fun instruments. Paul works with the students once a week in their own schools, and then brings them together for performances. The children sing in Hebrew, Arabic and English. The hope is that playing together will create further opportunities for communal activities, and that parents and members of the communities will get involved in the program.


In 2015 Paul and his wife Daphna Orion brought a Ukuleles for Peace group of 12 Jewish and Arab teenagers from the towns of Hod Hasharon and Tira all the way to Hawaii to participate in the 45th annual Ukulele Festival.

Here is a Hawaii TV report about the group's participation in the festival followed by the complete 18 minute performance of Ukuleles for Peace in Hawaii.

Enjoy!

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Monday, June 12, 2017

A Joke to Start the Week: "Sean Ferguson"


It's been seven years since we first posted a joke by standup comedian Jerry Lench, a retired California advertising and public relations executive who always had a passion for standup comedy, telling jokes in English and in Yiddish.

In our endless search for new jokes to start the week each Monday, we discovered a collection of his old jokes that we haven't posted previously. Sadly, we also discovered that Jerry passed away in 2014

Jerry's jokes were recorded by his daughter on her iPhone, and uploaded to YouTube from her computer.

We're sharing another one of his jokes today as a tribute to Jerry, to Yiddish, and to standup (and sometimes sitdown) comedy.

Enjoy!

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Meet Standup Comedian Danny Lobell and His Ice Cream Encounters at Camp Danny


Comedian, Podcaster, and Storyteller Danny Lobell has nothing to do all day because he works as a standup comic at night. So he came up with something called "Camp Danny" in which he schedules activities for himself. His passion for frozen yogurt and ice cream accounts for most of the activities.

Danny is a half-Scottish, observant Jewish comedian living in Los Angeles. He runs the highly popular podcast Modern Day Philosophers, which features interviews with comedians like Carl Reiner, Shelley Berman, Mayim Bialik, and Marc Maron, and he's appeared on "This American Life." 

In his one-man show called, Broke As A Joke, he discusses all the crazy things he has done for money, from running a hairless cat breeding business to selling Jackie Mason's cassette tapes on Broadway and starting a hipster egg company. He also brings up his yeshiva education and how he had a sheltered life as an Orthodox kid on Long Island. 

If you're in Los Angeles, you can catch his show tonight at the Sacred Fools Theater and if you're in Edinburgh in August you can see him at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Enjoy!

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Unexpected Traces in Jewish Places: Welcoming Shabbat with Operatic Versions of Adon Olam


Last Friday, congregants of the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York experienced an unusual conclusion to the Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, attended the service, so Cantor Azi Schwartz took some operatic license and and paid tribute to the greatest operatic high tenor arias, incorporating them into his version of Adon Olam.

If you recognize the arias and the operas they come from, please share the information in the comments section below this post.

Here's one to start: La Donna e Mobile, from Verdi's Rigoletto.
And the others????

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!


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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca Go to the Theatre


It's Throwback Thursday again and today we get a chance to go back 67 years to 1950 and another episode of The Hickenloopers on Your Show of Shows.

Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca starred in many episodes of the hilarious marital tribulations of Doris and Charlie Hickenlooper.

In this sketch, Caesar and Coca are a husband and wife getting ready to celebrate their anniversary by attending a Broadway show. 

Enjoy!

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 #Throwback Thursday   #TBT

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Comedy Showcase: Meet Sarge, Black Jewish Comedian and Motivational Speaker


Sarge, a comedian, entertainer, and motivational speaker, was born in Miami Beach, Florida during the Civil Rights Movement to a Jewish mother and black father, but given up for adoption soon after birth. 

Fortunately, he was quickly adopted by a couple who then raised him in Great Neck, Long Island. Sarge was brought up by his parents in a middle to upper middle class environment, attending the best prep schools in the region. All the while, he lived with some sense of confusion because his adopted parents raised him in a Jewish household without much exposure to his black heritage.

And, he is funny. We don't know how we missed him all these years. But now that we've found him, we're sharing his stand-up humor with you.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Comedian Benji Lovitt and Professor Alan Dershowitz Reflect on Jewish and Israeli Humor


Benji Lovitt, one of our favorite American-Israeli comedians, after spending the last 10 years in Israel, was a guest last month on Israel TV's One on One With Alan Dershowitz, where the American Harvard professor traded jokes and observations on Jewish humor with the comedian.

Topics included only-in-Israel moments and the origin of chutzpah, 

After observing that political correctness doesn't exist in Israel, Dershowitz indulged in some geographcal correctness in giving equal credit to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as his favorite city in Israel.

Enjoy!

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