Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hazamir Sings - Hundreds of High School Students Perform Today at the Metropolitan Opera


Today we will be attending the 24th annual HaZamir gala concert in New York's Lincoln Center. This year the performance will be at the Metropolitan Opera.

For two hours, 350 teenagers from 26 chapters of HaZamir Jewish High School Choir across the United States and in five cities in Israel will perform to a packed house, singing traditional and contemporary songs in Hebrew, English, and Yiddish.

HaZamir, the International Jewish High School Choir, is an international network of choral chapters for Jewish teens. Local HaZamir chapters meet weekly in cities across America and Israel to rehearse and perform Jewish choral music.

HaZamir provides Jewish teenagers the unique opportunity to sing at the highest performance level, build pluralistic community, and create strong Israel-Diaspora relations in the next generation.

Each local HaZamir chapter is directed by a talented conductor whose devotion to the highest standard of Jewish music-making helps to inspire the next generation of Jewish choral singers.

Last year the choir performed at Carnegie Hall. One of the selections on their program was a beautiful renditon of Yonatan Razel's V'hi She'amda. The song is an important part of the Passover Haggadah, and reminds us that the Pesach seder is only 15 days away.  

This short passage from the Haggadah has given hope to Jews over the centuries, particularly in times of oppression.
וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵיֽנוּ וְלָנֽוּ. שֶׁלֹא אֶחָד בִּלְבָד, עָמַד עָלֵיֽנוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנֽוּ. אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר, עוֹמְדִים עָלֵיֽנוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנֽוּ. וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַצִּילֵנוּ מִיָּדָם
And it is this [covenant] that has stood for our Forefathers and us. For not just one enemy has stood against us to wipe us out. But in every generation there have been those who have stood against us to wipe us out, and the Holy One Blessed Be He saves us from their hands.
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, March 24, 2017

Welcoming Shabbat with a Liverpool Version of Shalom Aleichem


Last month the Friday evening service at Congregation Shir Shalom in Buffalo, New York welcomed Shabbat with traditional lyrics, and music by the Beatles.

Congregation Shir Shalom is a merged Reform and Reconstructionist synagogue, the first in the world. They are diverse, multigenerational and inclusive of traditional, non-traditional and interfaith couples.

The service included traditional parts of the Friday night service, set to familiar Beatles tunes. In the video below, the congregation sings Shalom Aleichem set to the Beatles song With the Help of My Friends.

If you don't remember the Beatles' original version, the video appears below, after Shalom Aleichem.

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, March 23, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Comedy Writer Alan Zweibel Tells a Funny Story About Simon and Garfunkel


Alan Zweibel is a funny guy. He's been writing comedy since graduating from college, when he started writing for stand-up comedians who paid him seven dollars a joke. He later compiled over 1,100 of them into a portfolio which he showed to producer Lorne Michaels who then hired Zweibel to be one of the original writers of a new show called Saturday Night Live.

During his 5 years at Saturday Night Live (1975–1980), Zweibel wrote many memorable sketches, including the Samurai for John Belushi, and helped to create the characters of Roseanne Roseannadanna and Emily Litella, both portrayed by Gilda Radner. As an in-joke, Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey, a name and hometown often associated with the Roseannadanna character, was Zweibel's real life brother-in-law and did live in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Today's post comes from a book that he wrote -- The Other Shulman – a novel that won the 2006 Thurber Prize for American Humor. 

In an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, Zweibel read a funny excerpt from the book in which the Shulman character, on the verge of failing a college poetry class,  plagiarizes the lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel's mega-hit, The Boxer, and reads it as poetry in a class taught by an ancient, clueless professor. 

After watching the video, we felt an urge to watch Simon and Garfunkel singing The Boxer. You'll find it, from their 1981 concert in Central Park, just below the Zweibel video.

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 22, 2017

The Great Jewish Comedians: Marty Allen, Still Funny at 95



Marty Allen, the comedy half of the Allen and Rossi team, is still performing as he gets ready for his 95th birthday tomorrow. Last December he did two comedy shows with his wife at a theater in Boca Raton, Florida.

As  Marvin Glassman wrote in the Florida Jewish Journal,
Allen may be one of the oldest Jewish comedians still on stage to have performed on "The Ed Sullivan Show," a popular television variety show in the 1950s and 60s.

Allen and his late partner Steve Rossi became a comedy duo hit from the "Sullivan" appearances. Known as "Allen & Rossi," the duo appeared 44 times on "Ed Sullivan" and had 700 other television appearances in their heyday from 1957-68, before breaking up as a duo.

Allen was the pudgy, wild-haired short, affable Jewish man who would play funny characters while being asked questions by Rossi. Allen's quick wit made audiences laugh as Rossi would ask him questions after beginning the routines by saying "Hello Dere."

Born as Morton Alpern in Pittsburgh, he went into show business after serving in the U.S. Air Forces in World War II while stationed in Italy. Allen earned a Soldier's Medal for his bravery getting fellow soldiers out of a plane that was caught on fire while being refueled.

"I was shocked when I was in Italy to later learn about the Holocaust and care deeply about being Jewish and being a supporter of Israel. Growing up, our family celebrated all the Jewish holidays and I still celebrate the Jewish holidays," said Allen.
Here are Allen and Rossi in a TV appearance with Dean Martin. 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, March 21, 2017

Comedian Robert Klein in Funny Routine About Ordering a Kosher Meal on an Airline


Last year the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research hosted an exhibition and panel discussion at the Center for Jewish History titled Professional Jokers: Jewish Jesters from the Golden Age of American Comedy.

The panel discussion on Jews and comedy featured comedian Robert Klein, comedy writer Alan Zweibel, Old Jewish Comedians artist Drew Friedman, The Comedians author Kliph Nesteroff, Jewish popular culture scholar Dr. Eddy Portnoy, and comedian Gilbert Gottfried. The panel was  moderated by comedy writer Frank Santopadre.


We found the complete panel discussion, running for an hour and 40 minutes, on YouTube. It was very funny, as you might expect. Also, as you might expect, the discussion covered a wide range of the panelists' recollections of their experiences with some of the great comedians of our time, some of which venture into territory that is clearly not family-friendly.

Because we try to post only clean comedy we're sharing a short excerpt from the program in which Robert Klein does a funny routine about the experience of ordering a kosher meal on an airplane. YouTube usage rules don't let us cut pieces from a video, but we're starting the video at the beginning of Klein's routine and ending it at the end. 

If you don't shy away from really funny adult Jewish humor, you can easily find the whole program on YouTube.

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, March 20, 2017

A Joke to Start the Week - "Talking Centipede"


It's another Monday and it's time for another in our Joke to Start the Week series. We think it's time for another joke from Steve Wilson, a psychologist with the title of Cheerman of the Bored of the Laughter Arts and Sciences Foundation.
The foundation is a philanthropic organization, established in 2003 to support educational, scientific, and general awareness projects that promote the understanding and application of healthy laughter.
We met Steve at one of our performances in Daytona Beach, Florida last year, and shortly afterward we received an endorsement from the foundation.
Here's the setup for today's joke: A fellow goes into a pet shop. He says "You know, I'm kind of lonely and I would like to have a pet." 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, March 19, 2017

"The Last Laugh" - A Documentary About Humor and the Holocaust


The Last Laugh is a feature documentary about humor and the Holocaust, examining whether it is ever acceptable to use humor in connection with a tragedy of that scale, and the implications for other seemingly off-limits topics in a society that prizes free speech.

Premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, the film had a theatrical release in NYC on March 3. It will be playing at Jewish film festivals and is in selected theaters now (see list below).  The documentary is directed by Ferne Pearlstein, and produced by Robert Edwards, Amy Hobby, Anne Hubbell, Ferne Pearlstein, and Jan Warner.

It includes commentary by Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Rob Reiner, Gilbert Gottfried, Alan Zweibel, Harry Shearer, and David Steinberg.

As Kenneth Turan wrote in a Los Angeles Times review,
"The Last Laugh" is at its best when its people are telling jokes, often ones in which the Holocaust is involved. There's Baron Cohen in country-western mode singing "throw the Jew down the well," Sarah Silverman ending a skit with "Auschwitz? You'll say Wowschwitz" and Larry David focusing a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode on a dinner-party battle between a Holocaust survivor and a contestant on the TV show "Survivor."
The Last Laugh is now playing at the following theaters:

Pleasantville, New York: Jacob Burns Film Center
Beverly Hills, California: Laemmle's Music Hall 3
Encino, California: Laemmle's Town Center 5
Jacksonville, Florida: Sun-Ray Cinema @ 5 Points


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, March 17, 2017

Welcoming Shabbat With Shalom Aleichem by the Maayan Band of Toronto



This evening we welcome Shabbat with the pleasing sounds of Shalom Aleichem as played and sung by the Maayan Band - a group of musicians and friends from Toronto, Canada.
 
On their website they describe themselves as different characters, tastes and backgrounds, but sharing the sense that the ancient sources, writings of the Jewish sages are the highest expression of the art of being human.

They draw inspiration and musical force from the ancient sources. What unites them is the desire to share that harmony that touches the eternal. Their performances are all about interacting with the people who come to spend time with them.

If you happen to be in Toronto on April 6, you can see the Maayan band performing at 7 pm at SOURCES, 907 Alness Street.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom.

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

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Pie in the Face from "The Great Race" with Tony Curtis


Tony Curtis (1925-2010 - born Bernard Schwartz) played the lead in The Great Race, a hilarious movie released in 1965 that also starred Natalie Wood, Jack Lemmon, and Peter Falk.

We had completely forgotten about this movie until last Sunday, when we attended a performance of the Central Jersey Wind Ensemble in East Brunswick.

The program, Movies, Musicals, and Broadway, included Henry Mancini's Pie in the Face Polka, which played in the background during the Pie in the Face fight, one of the funniest movie scenes of all time.

We rushed to YouTube and found the scene that we're sharing with you as our Throwback Thursday feature this week.

By the way, Tony's Jewish philanthropy is not well known, but stands as a testimony to his love for his heritage. Beginning in 1990, Curtis and his daughter Jamie Lee Curtis took a renewed interest in their family's Hungarian Jewish heritage, and helped finance the rebuilding of the "Great Synagogue" in Budapest, Hungary. The largest synagogue in Europe today, it was originally built in 1859 and suffered damage during World War II. 

In 1998, he also founded the Emanuel Foundation for Hungarian Culture, and served as honorary chairman. The organization works for the restoration and preservation of synagogues and 1300 Jewish cemeteries in Hungary. He dedicated this to the 600,000 Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Hungary and lands occupied by the Hungarian Army.

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, March 15, 2017

Israel World Baseball Update: It Was Good While it Lasted


Not long after we posted today's story about Team Israel's success in leading the World Baseball Classic, we got word that the team was defeated by Japan, 8-3, eliminating them from the competition.

After the Netherlands beat Cuba 14-1 earlier in the day, Israel knew that it would have to defeat Japan to maintain any chance of reaching the semifinals at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. But winning the first four games of the tournament, they fell short in Japan.

Although they were disappointed with the loss, Team Israel will plan to return next year and gain satisfaction at their success in the first round of the tournament.

Better luck next year!

Israel Maintains Best Record in World Baseball Classic


Israel has a baseball team, and a succesful one, at that. Who knew? 

Team Israel's surprising successful baseball team is still holding the best record so far this year in the World Baseball Classic despite losing its first game to the Netherlands.

As JTA reported yesterday,
Israel was the lowest-ranked team to qualify for the showcase tournament, coming in at 41st in the world. But last week in the first round, the Israelis squeaked past third-ranked South Korea, 2-1, in extra innings, outscored fourth-ranked Taiwan, 15-7, and defeated ninth-ranked the Netherlands, 4-2, to finish first in Pool A with a 3-0 record.
This is the first year that Israel has qualified for the tournament. In 2012, its inaugural WBC squad narrowly missed advancing past the qualifiers.
Most of the players are American Jews, among them several former major leaguers. WBC rules state that players who are eligible for citizenship of a country may play on its team. Jews and their grandchildren, and the grandchildren’s spouses, have the right to become Israeli citizens.
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, March 14, 2017

Meet Gary Gulman, Late Night Stand-up Comic


Gary Gulman is a stand-up comedian who lives in New York City. Originally from Boston, Gary has been a scholarship college football player, an accountant, a barista, a doorman, a waiter and a high school teacher. 

Now he is one of the most popular touring comics and one of only a handful of comedians to perform on every single late night comedy program.

In an interview by the JDate editorial team published online, Gulman reflected on how he includes Jewish themes in his comedy.I’ve started doing a lot more material about being Jewish and about the history of Jews.

On my website, they have my “Tonight Show” spot, which was from right around Chanukah. It was perfect because I got to talk about Chanukah versus Christmas as well as the many contributions of the Jews to modern society — like Dr. Jonas Salk and the inventor of the pill, Dr. Gregory Pincus. More recently, I’ve expanded to further inventions, like color television, the remote control and having Saturdays off.

Judaism plays an enormous role in my life. It’s a great contributor to my identity. It’s common ground I share with many of my friends and a lot of the people I work with, partially by osmosis — being around people with certain values which my family shares, Jewish values and Jewish culture — as well as going to Hebrew school and reading and learning more about Judaism… going to Israel.

A great deal of my personality, outlook and values are traditionally Jewish. I find myself not doing things because, somewhere along the line, my mother told me that Jews don’t do those things. For instance, camping — my mother said that Jews don’t camp and we don’t hunt, so I’ve never done either of those things. It affects just about every area of my life, not just affects, but informs or contributes to.

Gulman is a regular at The Comedy Cellar in New York. In this recent appearance on The Stephen Colbert Show, he reflects on the challenges of everyday life.

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, March 13, 2017

It's Still Purim...But Only if You're in Jerusalem


If you're like us, you probably have had your fill of hamantaschen and Purim is over. But if you live in Jerusalem, you're celebrating Purim today, the 15th of Adar.

The battles fought between the Jews and their enemies throughout the Persian empire took place on 13 Adar. Around the world, the Jews rested and celebrated on the following day—14 Adar. In the capital city of Shushan, however, where there were a greater number of Jew-haters, the fighting continued for two days, 13 and 14 Adar. The victory celebrations in Shushan were thus held on the 15th.

When the holiday of Purim was set for the 14th of Adar, the sages instituted that Shushan residents perpetually observe Purim on the 15th of Adar—the day when the Shushanite Jews celebrated. The 15th of Adar is hence known as Shushan Purim.

 Along with Shushan (which is located in modern-day southwestern Iran), all cities that were walled at the time when the Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, entered Canaan, observe Purim on the 15th.

Today, the only city that we are certain had walls in Joshua’s times is Jerusalem. And indeed, in the holy city, Purim is festively celebrated one day after all other cities. There are a number of other ancient cities in Israel, such as Jaffa and Tiberias, regarding which there is a reasonable doubt whether they were walled in Joshua’s times. These cities observe two days of Purim.

Here's a look at how Shushan Purim was celebrated last year in Jerusalem. You get the idea.

Our "Joke to Start the Week" feature will resume next Monday.

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, March 12, 2017

A Rabbi Tells Jewish Jokes and Reflects on their Meaning and the Role of Humor on Purim


Today is Purim. Many of us listened to the reading of Megillat Esther last night in synagogues of all denominatioins and in many locations. Today the Megillah is read once again and the day features sharing of food items with friends (Mishloach Manot) and gifts to the poor (Matanot L'Evionim).

On Shabbat, the day before Purim, Rabbi Diana Fersko of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue delivered a sermon that included reflections on Jewish humor in general, and the role of humor on Purim. 

Rabbi Fersko received her ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City where she was the recipient of numerous awards for academic excellence. She also holds a master’s degree in Hebrew Literature.

During the short sermon, she tells a few old and familiar Jewish jokes, and advises to spend Purim emoting, singing, clapping, and laughing. She notes that the Talmud says that God himself dedicates specific time each day to laughter and joy, and encourages us to follow that example.
 
Happy Purim to everyone!

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.