Thursday, April 25, 2019

Koolulam: Bringing People Together in Song for Two Years


As Israel prepares for the last day of Passover, blue and white flags are going up in the streets and on the highways as the country gets ready for the 71st anniversary of its establishment in 1948.

We have fond memories of all the new music videos that were released just a year ago for the 70th anniversary, especially the Koolulam production that brought together 12,000 Israelis from all walks of life who hadn't met before to sing together in a special event with the artist Shlomi Shabat, accompanied by the Jerusalem Street Orchestra.

Koolulam has been bringing people together for two years. It's a social-musical initiative aimed at strengthening the fabric of society.

The project centers around mass singing events in which large groups of non-professionals come together to form a single collaborative musical creation. Koolulam brings together people from all walks of life to do one thing: stop everything for a few hours and just sing – together. At Koolulam, the audience is the artist.

Every participant enters as a unique individual and comes out, while still unique, as a part of a larger whole. 

For every Koolulam event, a different well-known song is chosen to be performed. The musical team works hard toward each event, putting together a fresh and innovative arrangement of the chosen song. They write new instrumental arrangements as well as an original three-part vocal arrangement.

This ILTV video tells the whole story. Enjoy!

We wish you a happy and kosher last day (or days) of Pesach and Shabbat shalom. We'll be back with a new blog post on Sunday.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Let There Be Laughter: A New Jewish Humor Exhibition at the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv


Let There be Laughter is the name of a special exhibit at Beit Hatfutsot (Museum of the Jewish People) in Tel Aviv. We spent a few hours there on Sunday and found it hard to leave

The exhibit, which fills a few large rooms in the museum, pays tribute to Jewish humor around the world with particular focus on comedy in America and in Israel.Equal time and space is given to the great comedians, films, and TV shows of Israel and America.

Film clips of classic Israeli and American movies are scattered throughout the exhibit. Notable among them are the Seinfeld TV series, Woody Allen in Annie Hall, Jerry Lewis as The Bellboy, Keeping the Faith, the comedy skits of Hagashash Hahiver, Ephraim Kishon's classic comedy The Policeman, TV news satire Eretz Nehederet, and the hilarious, irreverent series The Jews are Coming.

Right in the middle of the exhibit is a replica of the darkened room of a comedy club, complete with small tables and chairs and a stage on which realistic holograms of Israeli comedians deliver their standup routines with a monitor to the side that displays running subtitles in Hebrew and English.

It's worth a visit on your next trip to Israel. Tickets for the whole museum experience, including the Jewish humor exhibit, are $14 ($7 for seniors.)

Join us for a quick video tour of the exhibit by curator Asaf Galay as shown on Arutz Sheva TV.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Netherlands wins Jewrovision Song Contest for Europe’s Jewish Communities


Israelis are preparing for the main international event of the year -- the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv. Last week, in Antwerp, Belgium, the Jewrovision contest took place with some 200 participants - Jewish youth from nine European countries.

The 20th annual Jewrovision was sponsored by World Bnei Akiva (WBA) and sponsored by the KKL-JNF Education Department. This year’s theme was "Freedom" and the participating songs dealt with related content.

This year’s winner, a song titled “Kid”, sung by the Dutch participant, tells of a Jewish child (symbolizing the Jewish people) who is unable to find his place in the world, has no home or a place where he can be truly free. The main theme is the hope that although the child still has no home of his own and despite all the hardships he has endured, the child will eventually find a state in which he can live as a free man.

The Eurovision contest will take place in Israel at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds from May 14 to May 18. 

Enjoy!

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Monday, April 22, 2019

A Joke to Start the Week - "Nice Nuts"


Another Monday, another Joke to Start the Week. This one's a groaner from the Old Jews Telling Jokes collection.

The joke teller is retired school counselor Jeff Openden. Here's the setup: A gentleman walks into a bar. He's sitting down, drinking, and all of a sudden he hears "Nice shirt!" And then...

Enjoy!

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Welcoming Pesach (and Shabbat) With "We Are Free" by Rebbetzin Tap and Kol Isha


Kerry Bar-Cohn is the only female chiropractor in Ramat Beit Shemesh near Jerusalem, where she lives with her husband David and four sons.

But that's only her day job. As "Rebbetzin Tap," she produces music and dance DVDs for children, as well as online courses and a plethora of YouTube videos, whose goal is to emphasize the “joy” component in Judaism and in life, and to teach self-esteem and empowerment.

She has a background in stage performance, first as a child, then attending the High School of Performing Arts in New York, and subsequently returning to performance ten years ago after making aliyah.

Kerry has performed for children, teens and adults around the world, giving concerts and inspirational talks. She also recently started the Kol Isha Facebook group, where women and girls can post their singing and dancing with one another. The group has drawn thousands of members.

In this pre-Pesach video, Kol Isha dances to celebrate the coming of Pesach in a kitchen completely covered in aluminum foil.

Enjoy, have a kosher and happy Passover and Shabbat Shalom wherever you are. We're in Israel, celebrating one seder and the first day of Pesach on Shabbat. Most of our readers are in other countries and celebrating a second seder Saturday night and observing the second day of Pesach on Sunday. So we're taking a break from posting until Monday. See you then!

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Throwback Thursday Passover Special: Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy Explains Passover (With a Little Help from Billy Crystal)


We're glad that today, the day before the Passover seder, is Throwback Thursday because it lets us turn back the clock to 2015 and let us revisit one of our favorite Saturday Night Live skits. 

It's the one when Billy Crystal paid a surprise visit to Michael Che's interview of Vanessa Bayer in the role of Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy.

In the skit, Jacob gives a deadpan explanation of Passover. Watching Billy in his role, it quickly becomes apparent where Jacob got his quirky and awkward style of reading his script and handling his interviewer.

Enjoy!


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#Throwback Thursday     #TBT

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Here Come the Passover Videos: A Ma Nishtana from Outer Space by Ronley Teper


Today's Passover music video is a unique interpretation of Ma Nishtana, one of the focal points in reading the Haggadah on seder night. This outer space version is by performance artist Ronley Teper, who was born in South Africa and grew up in Toronto.

A musician and performance artist, she has been an active member in the international arts scene for over two decades. Over this time, she has recorded five independent LP's and composed and performed works for puppet theatre in both Summerworks and Fringe Festivals in Toronto and Montreal. She also has had musical placements in television, documentary films, and a few video games. 

She was a guest speaker at the first TEDx talks in Bangkok, Thailand, She regularly performs across parts of Europe and Canada and occasionally Israel. She has participated in a variety of collaborations and artistic residencies in Iceland, and Mexico both performing music and exhibiting installation works. This version of Ma Nishtana is a collaboration between Ronley Teper and Video Artist Saúl Lederman.

Enjoy! 

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Time for a New Haggadah? This Year There Are Lots of Good Choices


Are you tired of celebrating the Passover seder with the same old Haggadah each year?

This week you can break out of the old routine and liven up your seder with a new look, new points of view, and openings for discussions and lively conversation.

Jonathan Gorfinkel, a cartoonist whose work appears each week in The Jewish Week, and editor of Batman Comics for many years, has published Passover Haggadah Graphic Novel, a 170 page volume that will greatly enhance your seder. 

Illustrated in gorgeous color by Israeli artist Erez Zadok, the Passover Haggadah Graphic Novel integrates a brand-new, modern translation into sophisticated and super-fun sequential art that brings the epic story to life. The result of extensive historical and linguistic research, every gorgeous panel imbues the classic narrative with renewed relevance and excitement. 

The graphic novel pages are presented alongside the unabridged, traditional Seder service text, in Hebrew and transliteration, and accompanied by how to instructional cartoons depicting all of the rituals, as celebrated every year for the last 4000 years in Jewish homes around the world. 

Another Haggadah with a fresh viewpoint is Just One, a Haggadah created for the National Council for Synagogue Youth (NCSY) by Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin, is designed with a clear focus  on "just one" idea, making each page and moment in the Seder come alive. This Haggadah is perfect for a teen, college student, or any family that wants fresh new ideas to inspire their Passover experience.

The outpouring of praise for the Netflix series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has resulted in a partnership between Amazon.com and Maxwell House to produce Midge Maisel's Haggadah, a limited edition version of the Haggadah that Maxwell House has been distributing for 85 years with the purchase of one of their coffee products. 

The Haggadah, with a pink cover, has illustrations depicting the members of Midge's family and a drawing of her agent Susie Myerson as Elijah the Prophet. It includes the complete traditional text in Hebrew and English.

In this video interview, Jordan Gorfinkel explains why and how he started the graphic novel project and talks about the relationship between comics, superheros, and faith.

Enjoy!

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Monday, April 15, 2019

A Joke to Start the Week - "A Little Hoo-Ha"



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

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


Here's the setup: Jake and Becky were both widowed people. They lived in Miami Beach. And they were very good friends, but there was nothing much going on. And they would go out with each other to the movies, they would go out to dinner, and finally Jake says: "Look Becky, this is silly. I have an apartment, you have an apartment, we're spending double money. Why don't we move in together?" And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Here Come the Passover Videos: Six13 Presents "A Lion King Passover"


Six13 is a groundbreaking, six-man a cappella vocal band that brings an unprecedented style of Jewish music to the stage, with songs ranging from hip-hop dance tracks to rock anthems. The members of the New York City-based group sound like a full band – while using nothing but their voices.

They’re driven by a mission to connect Jews around the globe with their heritage through music, anchored by a strong Jewish identity, and fueled by thumping beatbox, intricate arrangements, and soulful harmonies.

Last December we shared Sixa13's  Chanukah-inspired parody of Bohemian Rhapsody, the pop song made famous by the British rock band Queen and viewed more than 700 million times on YouTube.

Now they've done it again with A Lion King Passover, in which they harmonize singing original Pesach-related lyrics to Circle of Life, I Just Can't Wait to be King, and Hakuna Matata, hit songs from The Lion King.

Enjoy! 

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Welcoming Shabbat with Shalom Aleichem (Beatles Let it Be) in Birmingham, Alabama



Sunmoon Pie is an Atlanta-based Jewish music group, known for alternative Jewish prayer melodies & meditative Hebrew kirtan-inspired chants.

Consisting of singer-songwriters Bonnie Levine on keyboards/harmonium & Michael Levine on guitar, the duo is often accompanied by talented percussionists and other musicians. 

In this video, they sing Shalom Aleichem, the traditional song to welcome Shabbat, at Congregation Beth El in Birmingham, Alabama.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

A Passover Musical Video: The IDF Rabbinical Choir Sings "Pesach is Here"


Yes, the Israel Defense Forces have a rabbinical choir, and they also have to get ready for Pesach. 

So they created this music video that shows them baking matzot, playing music in the field, cleaning for the holiday, and celebrating Pesach with the contents of their field kit.

The words that they sing are simple and to the point: A great joy, a great joy, spring has arrived and Pesach is here.

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Here Come the Passover Videos: Kids Try Traditional Pesach Foods


It wouldn't be Passover without traditional chametz-free foods. Love them or hate them, we have to tolerate them for eight days (seven if you're in Israel).

The ultimate test of a Passover food is how children will react to the taste and texture of many foods that are so different from what they are used to year-round.

The Nosher, a feature of MyJewishLearning.com decided to have some fun by letting some children taste and comment on these Pesach foods.

As Shannon Sarna wrote on The Nosher,  
We decided to put the ultimate critics to the test to give reviews of traditional Passover foods: adorable children.
The foods featured in this video include horseradish, gefilte fish, stuffed dates, matzah ball soup, coconut macaroons, store-bought jelly slices, chocolate covered matzah, and even scallions which some Sephardim include on their seder plates, and then later use to whip one another during the singing of Dayenu to emulate the slaves in Egypt.
Enjoy, and watch for more Passover videos that we'll be posting soon.

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Some areas of this page may shift around if you resize the browser window. Be sure to check heading and document order.
Some areas of this page may shift around if you resize the browser window. Be sure to check heading and document order.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" May Be Politically Incorrect These Days, But It's Funny in Yiddish


Baby, It's Cold Outside, the Academy Award-winning popular song written by Frank Loesser in 1944, has faced some criticism lately from feminist circles for the supposed or presumed implications of its lyrics. Some have suggested that it gave a green light to sexual harassment or date rape.

Actually, the song was written by Loesser  to sing with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their housewarming party in New York City at the Navarro Hotel. They sang the song to indicate to guests that it was time to leave. It gained wide recognition in 1949 when it appeared in the film Neptune's Daughter.

While the lyrics make no mention of any holiday, it is popularly regarded as a Christmas song because of its winter theme.

It was covered by many singers over the years. Our favorite version is by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme.

But who would expect that it would be performed in Yiddish? Well, it was, by the Jewish People's Philharmonic Chorus with Cantor Joshua Breitzer and Donna Breitzer in New York's Symphony Space in 2016. Binyumen Schaechter wrote the Yiddish lyrics and conducted the choral concert "To Life, To  Laugh, L'Chaim."

Enjoy!

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Monday, April 8, 2019

A Joke to Start the Week - "The Housewarming Party"


It's another Monday and time for another Joke to Start the Week. Once again we go to Old Jews Telling Jokes for an oldie but goodie. The joke teller is Bill Reyer, a retired attorney and dentist.

Here's the setup: The Moskowitzes decide to have a housewarming because he had a fantastic season in the Garment Center. 

And the house is absolutely fantastic with artwork all over the walls, and sculpture and carpeting.  And they have it catered by the best caterer in New York, Kotimsky and Tuchman. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Comedy Showcase: Elon Gold on the Late Late Show with James Corden


We've been following Elon Gold and posting some of his shtick on Jewish Humor Central for the last nine years. 

Elon is an American comedian, television actor, writer and producer. He starred in the television series Stacked.  He also starred in the short-lived sitcom In-Laws
 
Known for his impressions, including those of Jeff Goldblum, Howard Stern and Jay Leno, Gold was a judge on the ABC celebrity impersonation competition series The Next Best Thing. Gold was also in the movie Cheaper by the Dozen as a cameraman from the Oprah Winfrey show.

Gold attended the Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck, NY and the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy (MTA)/Yeshiva University High School for Boys in Manhattan, NY. He is a practicing orthodox Jew.
 
Here's Elon in a recent appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden. In this stand-up comedy routine he dives into the debate every Jewish person faces: food or money, and how sex is basically the same as parking. 
 
Enjoy!
 
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