Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ultra-Orthodox B'nei B'rak Bans Smurfette from New Smurf Movie Ad


The Israeli Billboard
The Israeli Billboard on a Street in B'nai B'rak
The ultra-Orthodox town of B'nei B'rak in Israel has given a new meaning to blue movies.

When it became known that the latest Smurf movie Smurfs: The Lost Village included Smurfette, the blonde girl Smurf, the PR company promoting the film confirmed that it had removed images of Smurfette from promotional material in order to avoid causing offense to the central Israeli town’s residents.

As Sue Surkes wrote under the headline Smurfette too Sexy for ultra-Orthodox City in The Times of Israel,
Bnei Brak, a mostly ultra-Orthodox city, has an ordinance that prevents the hanging of posters of women that “might incite the feelings of the city’s residents.”

Other entertainment icons to have been erased from advertising posters in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem — which also has a large ultra-Orthodox community — include Jennifer Lawrence, star of the Hunger Games, and Tinkerbell, the cartoon character from Peter Pan.

Smurfette, brought to life in the movie with the voice of pop star Demi Lovato, plays a leading role in the new film. Along with Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty, she gets to race through the Forbidden Forest to discover what is said to be the biggest secret in Smurf history. The Hebrew word for Smurfs is Dardasim.
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Postcard from Israel - Touring Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory in Be'er Tuvia


One of the many benefits of spending a month in Israel is visiting some unexpected places that aren't on the standard tourist lists. Last week we visited the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory and store in Be'er Tuvia, about an hour's drive from Jerusalem on the road to Ashdod and Ashkelon. 

Though the grandkids were disappointed that they couldn't see the ice cream being made because the factory was closed during Pesach, they didn't mind too much because the factory store was open and serving lots of the delicious flavors and toppings.

The outdoor seating area next to the store provided a place to eat the ice cream and a life-size Ben & Jerry's plastic cow to ride on.

It didn't take us long to find a short video of a previous factory tour on YouTube, so here it is. The next time you're in Israel, you might want to include this stop on your itinerary.

Enjoy!

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Israel Pauses on Holocaust Memorial Day


Today is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. 

The full name of the day commemorating the victims of the Holocaust is “Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah”— in Hebrew literally translated as the "Day of (remembrance of) the Holocaust and the Heroism."

It is marked on the 27th day in the month of Nisan — a week after the end of the Passover holiday and a week before Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers). It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Througout Israel, a siren will wail for two minutes starting at 11 am. All activity comes to a halt. Traffic slows and comes to a complete stop on all streets and highways. Shoppers freeze in their place wherever they are. 

The video below shows Israel pausing last year on Yom Hashoah. 

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Holocaust Remembrance Day Starts Tonight: Dudu Fisher Sings The Partisan Song


With Holocaust Remembrance Day starting at sunset today and continuing through tomorrow, we're holding off on the humor until Wednesday, so we can post videos appropriate for the commemoration.

"Zog nit keyn mol" (Never Say; Yiddish: זאָג ניט קיין מאָל‎) or "Partizaner lid" (Partisan Song) is a Yiddish song considered one of the chief anthems of the Holocaust survivors and is sung in memorial services around the world.

The lyrics of the song were written in 1943 by Hirsh Glick, a young Jewish inmate of the Vilna Ghetto. The title means "Never Say", and derives from the first line of the song. Glick's lyrics were set to music from a pre-war Soviet song

The annual March of the Living program brings thousands of young people from around the world each year on Holocaust Remembrance Day to Auschwitz-Birkenau to honour the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to pledge to build a better world for all humanity.

In 2013, singer Dudu Fisher and the March of the Living Choir sang The Partisan Song on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Musical Showcase: Meet the Ramatayim Men's Choir Singing a Jerusalem Medley


Music is an important part of our mix at Jewish Humor Central. In our sporadic series bringing new musical groups to your attention, we're introducing you to the Ramatayim Men's Choir of Jerusalem.

Late in 1995, four enthusiasts gathered in the Ramot suburb of Jerusalem, to sing choral music they recalled from synagogue services in their youth. Since then the choir has grown to 40 choristers, native Israelis and Olim from 4 continents who share a love of the great tradition of Jewish liturgical music and of singing together.

The choir appears regularly at concert halls and synagogues throughout Israel. Their list of approximately 250 performances includes appearances alongside some of the finest cantors in the world as well as artists in different genres. They have appeared in concert with the Israel Symphionette Orchestra 'eers Sheva, on national television and radio and have also performed at the residence of the President of Israel.

The choir's repertoire consists mainly of Jewish liturgical music and includes Chassidic and Israeli songs, pop, opera and folk music. All activities are performed on a voluntary basis. They perform regularly in support of various Israeli and Jewish charitable and social causes. A distinctive feature of the choir's activity is their active collaboration with ensembles of the same genre, inaugurating and hosting joint concerts in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The choir's name derives from Ramatayim-Tzofim, in the hill country of Ephraim, birthplace of Samuel the Prophet, mentioned in the Book of Samuel 1 (1:1) and associated with the suburb Ramot, Jerusalem.

In this video they sing a medley of songs about Jerusalem at the International Rabbinical Conference in 2014.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom !

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: "Slowly I Turned..." (The History of the Niagara Falls Joke)


"Slowly I turned" (The Niagara Falls joke) has been made famous by Abbott and Costello, The Three Stooges, Lucille Ball and Phil Silvers, Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, and countless other comedy teams. It's such a renowned comedy classic that it has its own listing in Wikipedia that reveals its historical origins.

The listing states that it was not created by any of the above comedy teams, but started out as  a popular vaudeville sketch that has also been performed in cinema and on television. Comedians Harry Steppe, Joey Faye, and Samuel Goldman each laid claim to this routine, also referred to as "The Stranger with a Kind Face" by clowns and clowning aficionados, "Niagara Falls" by fans of The Three Stooges and Abbott and Costello, "Martha" by fans of I Love Lucy, "Pokomoko", and "Bagel Street".

Our favorite version is the one performed by Moses Harry Horwitz, Louis Feinberg, and Jerome Horwitz. You never heard of them? Sure you did, but you know them as Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Howard, or the Three Stooges.

Enjoy!

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#Throwback Thursday, #TBT

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Comedy Showcase: Stand-up Comedian Avi Liberman on the Jewish Holidays



Israeli-born and Texas-raised comedian Avi Liberman has been bringing groups of stand-up comics to Israel for years to support the Koby Mandell Foundation. And we've featured some of them here on Jewish Humor Central.

But Avi has some great stand-up routines that he performs on his own, and whenever we find one, we try to share it with you.

Here's a recent performance by Avi at the City Winery in New York City where he presents a hilarious description of all the Jewish Holidays to a mixed Jewish audience comprising all levels of observance.

Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Had Enough Matza? Gorillas in Ramat Gan Zoo Are Also Getting Their Fill


In Ramat-Gan's zoo safari, near Tel Aviv, even the gorillas keep kosher for Passover.

The Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan is the largest collection of wildlife in human care in the Middle East. The 250-acre site consists of both a drive-through African safari area and a modern outdoor zoo.

Gorillas and other animals are usually given bread to check their vitality, but since the zookeepers and handlers cannot touch any leavened products during the week-long holiday that marks the biblical Jewish exodus from Egypt, they are also fed matzo, the unleavened cracker Jews eat to remember that in their rush to flee slavery, the ancient Israelites' bread did not have time to rise.


Is it a healthy treat for the gorillas? Calling it "environmental enrichment, Jewish style," one zookeeper says that they may develop a slight case of constipation but they overcome that after awhile. 

We're taking Monday and Tuesday off for the last two days of Passover, so there's no Joke to Start the Week tomorrow. We'll be back on Wednesday with our usual Jewish humor mix.

Enjoy, and Chag sameach!

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Welcoming Shabbat with Yonina Singing Lecha Dodi to "All of Me"



Yoni and Nina Tokayer are a married musical duo with a little baby girl. They're both involved in music and education, and live in the small town of Pardes Chana, Israel.

For the past half a year, they have been uploading home videos to Facebook and Youtube and reaching millions. They have both been singing and writing since they can remember, and have been making music together ever since they met.

The name Yonina is a combination of both their first names, Yoni and Nina.

In this video, they sing the beginning of Lecha Dodi, one of the traditional parts of the Kabbalat Shabbat service. The melody, however, is not traditional. It's set to the music of John Legend's hit All of Me, a song that has an incredible more than a billion hits on YouTube, so you must have heard it somewhere before.

Enjoy!

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Remembering Don Rickles and His Celebrity Roast of Frank Sinatra


We lost one of the great Jewish comedians last week with the passing of Don Rickles at age 90.

Although he became well known as an insult comic, his pudgy, balding appearance and pugnacious style led to few leading roles in film or television.

His prominent film roles included Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) and Kelly's Heroes (1970), and beginning in 1976 he enjoyed a two-year run starring in the sitcom C.P.O. Sharkey.

He received widespread exposure as a popular guest on numerous talk shows, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Show with David Letterman, and later voiced Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story films. He won a Primetime Emmy Award for the 2007 documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.

Today we're remembering Don Rickles as a "roaster" of celebrities on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, an NBC television special show hosted by entertainer Dean Martin from 1974 to 1984. For a series of 54 specials and shows, Martin would periodically "roast" a celebrity. These roasts were patterned after the roasts held at the New York Friars' Club. 

The format would have the celebrity guest seated on a dais, and one by one the guest of honor was affectionately chided or insulted about his career by his fellow celebrity friends.

In 1978, 39 years ago, Rickles turned in a hilarious performance on the Dean Martin Celebrity Hour roasting Frank Sinatra. The guests included Ronald Reagan, Red Buttons, Flip Wilson, Redd Foxx, George Burns, Milton Berle, Jonathan Winters, Peter Falk, Ruth Buzzi, and Orson Welles.

Those were the days before political correctness set in. As one YouTube commenter said, it was humor from an era when you could rib other cultures and everybody was fine with it, because people had enough self esteem to have fun. 

Enjoy!

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#Throwback Thursday, #TBT

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Joke to Start the Passover Week - "Two for the Seder"


Today is Monday, but not just an ordinary Monday. Tonight we sit down to the seder in Israel. In the diaspora, it's the first of two sedarim. But planning for the seder isn't an excuse to skip the Joke to Start the Week.

So today's joke has a Pesach theme. It's actually two related jokes. We hope you don't groan too much and maybe even laugh or smile a little. 

We won't be blogging tomorrow and Wednesday, the first two days of Pesach. We'll be back on Throwback Thursday with more Jewish humor.

Enjoy, and have a kosher and happy Passover!


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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Here Come the Passover Videos: The Maccabeats Take a Cappella and Ma Nishtana to a New Level


The Maccabeats, originally formed in 2007 as Yeshiva University’s student vocal group, have entertained and inspired hundreds of audiences worldwide, from Alabama to (New) Zealand and everywhere in between.

Until now, they have been using nothing more than the unadulterated human voice, a clean-cut presentation, and a little Jewish humor,

With the release of their latest music video for Passover, the Maccabeats have added a new twist to a cappella. They still don't use musical instruments, but include sound effects from the seder table -- wine glasses filled to different levels to produce different notes, a Haggadah with pages ruffled to make sounds, a bowl of karpas to make a dipping sound, and matza to provide a crunch.

Pesach is almost upon us. Tomorrow's Joke to Start the Week will have a Pesach theme, and then we'll be taking the first two days of Passover off to spend time with our family in Jerusalem, returning with more Jewish Humor on Thursday.

Enjoy!

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Welcoming Shabbat with Adon Olam by Cantor Shai Abramson and the IDF Rabbinical Choir


We've gotten into the routine of welcoming Shabbat in our Friday posts with a song from the Shabbat liturgy -- usually Shalom Aleichem, Lecha Dodi, or Adon Olam. We find versions sung in locations all around the world, and so far we have posted 24 of Adon Olam, the concluding hymn of most Shabbat services.

Today we're sharing a 25th version. This rendition is by Cantor Shai Abramson and the IDF Rabbinical Choir. Israel is the only country we know of that has a chief cantor in its armed forces.

The soldiers look like they are enjoying this Shabbat and the singing that goes with it. Let's join them.

Shabbat shalom.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase: Groucho Marx is Mystery Guest on "What's My Line"


It's another Throwback Thursday, and today we're going back 54 years to October 1963. Groucho Marx was the mystery guest on What's My Line, and as usual, he stole the show with his unique comic style.

As we watched the episode we found it hard to believe that panelists Bennet Cerf, Dorothy Kilgallen, Tony Randall, and Arlene Francis didn't recognize his voice or smell the smoke from his ubiquitous cigar.

But Groucho managed to get a laugh out of every question he was asked, and even managed to insert the word Passover into the discussion, which is why we chose to run the episode this week.

Enjoy!

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#Throwback Thursday  #TBT

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Here Come the Passover Videos: Why Seders are Slow - A Disney Moana Parody


Every year at Passover time we get to see a lot of Pesach-themed parodies of popular songs, movies, and shows. Some are very good and some are so-so. We try to bring you the best of the crop.

Today we encountered an impressive parody of the Disney animated film Moana. It's by a very talented crew too numerous to credit in these few lines, so we're listing them all along with the lyrics in the space just below the video. 

The song is called Why Seders are Slow and it's a direct take-off on the Moana How Far I'll Go which was written and produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The Moana song was nominated for Best Original Song at the 89th Academy Awards and Best Original Song at the 74th Golden Globe Awards. We're including the video below after the lyrics and credits for Why Seders are Slow.

Enjoy!

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CREDITS
 
W&C Pictures Presents:
“Why Seders are Slow”
Parody of “How Far I'll Go” from Moana
Original Music by: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Produced by: Elyse Heise
Directed by: Christian D Chapra
Director of Photography: Green Leaf Multimedia
Editor: Green Leaf Multimedia
Audio Production: Ean White, Incendiary Arts LLC
Storyboard Ideas: Stacey Wein
Parody Lyrics: Elyse Heise
Vocalists: Rachel Baril and Ashley Harmon
Filmed on Location at: The home of Greg Manousos and Amy Rosenberg

Starring:
Ashley Harmon
Rachel Baril
Elizabeth Schwartz
Jordan Solomon
Rimon R.
Addie, Ruby and Sadie Wein
Juliana and Jack
Eunice Goldberg
Jane Leikin
Greg Manousos
Elyse Heise
and Max

Tech Crew:
Tyler Coveney
Nichole Brennan
Steven Heise

Props and costumes:
Rabbis Rachel Gurevitz and Suri Krieger
The Wein Family
Elyse Heise
The Solomon Family
Amy Rosenberg and Greg Manousos

Special Thanks to: Hali the Wonder Pup


LYRICS


I've been staring at this ragged Haggadah
For what feels like forever
Just trying to get by
I wish I could understand this Hebrew
Or what they mean by dayenu
Or 'Baruch' or 'Adonai'

Every Kiddish made
Every Karpas ate
I must masquerade
That I can translate
That the words I know
How the melodies go
And I'm so hungry....

See the Jews and they're longing to be free
In Mitzrayim
Their cries of need
Their hands they bleed
The Maror on my plate is the key
It reminds me
400 years
With a strong arm, God ended all these bitter tears

I know what they mean by Afikomen
Gonna find the Afikomen
Dessert is going to be mine
Here is where they hid the Afikomen
See it says Afikomen
On this fancy napkin design

I can read with vowels
I can sing the tune
I can keep the pace
Hope they feed us soon
On this Seder night
Under this full moon
Let's just say Motzi

See the plate as it's passed out to me
It's exciting
Unleavened dough
Baked on the go
And it seems like it's calling out to me
Cause I'm starving
Two more Brochot

Another glass of wine
Yes I'll drink that wine

See the part where God splits the sea
Now I know Mayim
The sea of reeds
We praise those deeds
If next year, we will be, living free
Yerushalem
Why Seders are slow
I'll never know!!



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Here Come the Passover Videos: Aish.com Uses Matzah as Symbol of Freedom


Aish.com, the leading Jewish content website, logging over a million monthly user sessions with 380,000 unique email subscribers.has done it again, releasing a new video for Passover called I'm in Love with the Taste of You. The video is a mashup of pop songs with new lyrics focusing on matzah as the taste of freedom.

It's the first of a series of videos that we'll be sharing with you up to and throughout the Pesach holiday. We're including the lyrics and credits just below the video.

Enjoy!

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Music video Written & Produced by Aish.com
Directed by Shoot East
Cover Track by Ido Zeleznik and Michael HarPaz
Vocals by Michael HarPaz
With thanks to Pharrell, Ed Sheeran and The Chainsmokers
 

Lyrics
Yearn to be free
Roots long ago
In captivity
Let my people go
Your first name is Free
Last name is Dom
Ten plagues you have seen, a nation is born
Feel soul power
It's in every human being
Time for liberation
Sea split your wings

Freedom! [x4]

The struggle for freedom Jews celebrate on Passover Is seen throughout history Fighting persecution so we can live as Jews want
From Moses to Natan Sharansky

Suffragettes, Rosa Parks, tank man in Tiananmen Square, Got the purple finger in Iraq now
Ring the bell, pull the Berlin Wall down
And then we start to dream, like Malala

God, you know I want your love
Your matzah’s handmade for somebody like me
Come on now, follow God’s lead
Pharaoh is finished, now you’re free
Matzah, the bread of freedom
Put on your shoulder, go to the desert quickly
Come on now, follow God’s lead
Come, come on now, follow God’s lead

I'm in love with the taste of you
Knead and roll, eighteen minutes to
Although my stomach is falling too
I'm in love with my matzah

Oh—I—oh—I—oh—I—oh—I
I'm in love with my matzah

Oh—I—oh—I—oh—I—oh—I
I'm in love with my matzah

Hey, the struggle for freedom is all about you
Enslaved and beaten, that's an issue
You have a choice
Hey, challenges can make us stronger
Try and hold on a little longer
and then…

We have thanks in our heart
Bitterness makes you count your stars
All our pain, recalled
Throughout Jewish history You guided us far
And no-ow-ow-ow-ow, we’re free
And no-ow-ow-ow-ow, we’re free

So God pull us ever closer
Let us celebrate Passover
As we tell our story over
Bite that matzah on your shoulder
Jewish People getting older
So many miracles to share
Faith and family coming over
Have a meaningful Passover

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Joke to Start the Week - "Red Sea Rescue"


Since we're in a Passover frame of mind, the Monday jokes to start the week today and next Monday have a Pesach ta'am. 

Of course, like most of our jokes, they're anything but new, but every year we hear them and tell them with a slightly different tone.

If they're new to you, as they well may be, just enjoy them. If you've heard them before, try not to groan too loudly and think of ways you can improve on them for retelling next time around.

Here's the setup for today's joke: Little Benjy comes home from Hebrew school and his father asks "What did you learn today?" And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Sure Sign That Passover is Near: Cleaning Notes from the Western Wall


Eight days from today, Jews around the world will be sitting down to the Passover seder. Signs of Pesach are everywhere, especially in supermarkets where the aisles are filled with all kinds of matzah and Kosher for Passover items.

One of the necessary, if not beloved, chores performed during the week before Pesach, is house cleaning. Wherever you live, the process is about the same. But in the old city of Jerusalem, getting ready for Pesach includes a special type of cleaning -- removing the many notes that have been placed in the Kotel Hamaaravi - the Western Wall of the Temple.

All year long visitors scribble their prayers and wishes on pieces of paper and stuff them into the wall's crevices. More than a million prayer notes or wishes are placed in the Western Wall each year.

According to Jewish law, prayer notes may not be thrown away; there is a difference of opinion as to whether they should be burned or buried. According to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Rabbi of the Western Wall and author of Minhagei HaKotel, a book of halakhot about the Western Wall, burning is a "pure" way to deal with the notes, but burying them is more honorable. Twice a year, Rabbi Rabinovitch and his assistants collect the notes left in the Wall and bury them in the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Welcoming Shabbat with Noam Blat and Daughter of Mountain Singing Shalom Aleichem


Noam Blat is a guitarist, singer, and songwriter with a versatile and expressive voice. Born and raised in Israel – a melting pot of traditions, he is strongly influenced by the different musical styles of his heritage. His compositions are intricately played, colorful and deeply moving.

In this version of Shalom Aleichem, he is joined by Anasaskia Elsom, an Australian actress who is deeply involved in yoga, Indian spirituality and poetry and known as Daughter of Mountain.

Enjoy and Shabbat shalom!
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Throwback Thursday Comedy Classic: Sid Caesar and Nanette Fabray in "Shadow Waltz"


Today's Throwback Thursday episode takes us back 62 years to 1955, when Sid Caesar moved his funny skits to Caesar's Hour.

The show replaced Your Show of Shows, and featured Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, and newcomer Nanette Fabray.

The staging of this sketch is a take off of the type utilized on television shows of the era like "Your Hit Parade". 

Using the terminology of the era, Sid plays "the listener".

Retaining most of his first rate writing staff, this show also broke ground for the addition of a fledgling comedy writer by the name of Woody Allen.

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.



#Throwback Thursday   #TBT

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Israeli Music Showcase: Elliot Dvorin and Key Tov Orchestra in Tel Aviv Mashup


Elliot Dvorin and the Key Tov Orchestra are at it again. 

We have featured the Chicago-based wedding band before, performing a flash mob version of Hashem Melech and and a mashup of Passover songs in downtown Chicago, with the Kol Ish a cappella singers in a bluegrass version of Yigdal, in an Israeli salsa number in Miami, in a Chicago mashup of Chanukah songs old and new

Last week they released a new music video that was filmed in some of the most iconic locations in Tel Aviv. includng the Sarona Market, HaBima Square, Rabin Square, and the Tel Aviv beach front overlooking Yafo. The music video features a talented team of dancers performing stunning choreography to a variety of musical styles.

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.)