Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Comedy Showcase: Australian Comic Michael Shafar on Jewish Holidays vs. Australian Holidays


The Melbourne Jewish Comedy Festival is a showcase of the very best of Jewish humour in Australia. One of Australia's best Jewish comedians is Michael Shafar.

Michael started out with a law degree, but decided he didn't want to work in an office all day. So he became a standup comedian.

Here's a standup session performed by Michael at the inaugural festival in 2015. In this video he contrasts Jewish holidays with Australian holidays.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Hava Nagila Wins the Day at Tomorrowland Music Festival in Belgium


Tomorrowland 2019, this years' biggest electronic music festival was held over the last two weekends in Boom, Belgium.

Tomorrowland 2019 delivered two full weekends of music madness, making it the ultimate music festival escape. The most renowned electronic dance music artists performed the best of electronic music across various stages. 

Tomorrowland is the esteemed Belgian event that is the world's largest dance music festival. This event celebrated its 15th year this past weekend in Boom, Belgium with an all-star lineup including The Chainsmokers, DJ Snake, Alison Wonderland, Martin Garrix, Black Coffee, Camelphat, Tiga, Maceo Plex, Afrojack, Kolsch, Zeds Dead, Eric Prydz and many, many more. 

If you're anything like us, none of these names ring a bell. And neither do most of the songs played at the festival.  

So what song got one of the biggest cheers with the most audience participation? You guessed it. Hava Nagila (in an instrumental version)! 

The audience followed instructions from Timmy Trumpet and Steve Aoki to climb onto the shoulders of their neighbors and dance to the loud vibrations of the electronic music piped over the loudspeakers. This duo have made this version part of their act, and they performed it at Tomorrowland Winter in France last March.

The music starts at 1:40. If you look carefully you may spot an Israeli flag in the lower left section of the crowd.

Enjoy!


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Monday, July 29, 2019

A Joke to Start the Week - "The Stolen Camel"


Another Monday, another Joke to Start the Week. This week we're bringing you another joke from California, where Chabad of Downtown San Diego had a comedy night earlier this year.

It attracted joke tellers including Esther Richler, whose joke we're featuring this week.

Here's the setup:  Hymie Goldfarb's lifelong dream was to own a camel. So he retired and moved to Florida. He's fulfilling his dream and he's buying a camel. And every day he goes parading up and down Collins Avenue. And then...

Enjoy! 

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Hot Dog Eating Contest Winner Got Started With Matzo Balls


The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is an annual American hot dog competitive eating competition. It is held each year on Independence Day at Nathan's Famous Corporation's original, and best-known restaurant at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, a neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City.

The men's champion is Joey Chestnut, who ate 71 hot dogs in in this year's contest. The victory was Chestnut's 12th since 2007.

So how do these competitive eaters train for the July 4th main event? A little known fact is that Chestnut developed his munching skills by chowing down on matzo balls in 2008 in Houston, winning first place in the Kenny and Ziggy's World Matzo Ball Eating Championship.

Kenny and Ziggy's is a kosher style deli in Houston. We profiled Ziggy Gruber in 2015 when the Deli Man documentary was released.

Today we're sharing a rare video showing Joey Chestnut beating out eight competitors by devouring 78 baseball-sized matzo balls in 8 minutes.

Enjoy, but we wouldn't advise that you try this stunt.


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Friday, July 26, 2019

Welcoming Shabbat with "Lecha Dodi" and "What a Wonderful World" at the Port of Tel Aviv


Every Friday evening at the port of Tel Aviv, as the sun sets over the Mediterranean, hundreds of residents and visitors settle into red plastic chairs on the boardwalk and get ready to welcome Shabbat with traditional (and some non-traditional) songs.

The Kabbalat Shabbat service is organized by Beit Tefilah Israeli, a multi-generational and inclusive community of committed and passionate Israelis. They have created a model for a new kind of experimental and creative Jewish-Israeli congregation, unaffiliated with any movement.  A space where children can celebrate Shabbat in a uniquely Israeli way, where adults can seek answers to life’s essential questions and where men and women can celebrate their heritage together – blending the ancient and the contemporary, the universal and the particular, the Jewish and the Israeli.

The service typically includes many of the Friday night siddur and also some popular English songs translated into Hebrew, such as Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World. Today we're sharing a video of the congregation singing Lecha Dodi and What a Wonderful World.

Enjoy and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase: A Classic Victor Borge Piano Medley


We never get tired of watching the mischievous piano comedy antics of the great Victor Borge, the Danish comedian, conductor and pianist who achieved great popularity in radio and television in the United States and Europe.
 
His blend of music and comedy earned him the nickname "The Clown Prince of Denmark","The Unmelancholy Dane", and "The Great Dane."

He was born as Borge Rosenbaum to a Jewish family in Copenhagen. His parents were both musicians. He began piano lessons at the age of two, and it was soon apparent that he was a prodigy.

In this video clip from The Dean Martin Show which ran on TV from 1965 to 1974, Borge gives a typical performance, combining comedy with his expert piano playing.

Enjoy! 

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#Throwback Thursday    #TBT

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Ein Prat Fountainheads Alumni Form New Band Called Tandu in Jerusalem


One of our favorite singing groups has been The Fountainheads, an ensemble of young Israeli dancers, singers, actors and artists, all graduates and students of the Ein Prat Academy for Leadership, who have have joined forces to create new Jewish artistic content for today's Jewish World. 

Since 2011, we haveposted 12 of their videos to great acclaim from Jewish Humor Central readers. But time passes, and groups drift apart. But the four seasoned original members of The Fountainheads stayed together in friendship, forming a new group called Tandu, performing Israeli classics and new compositions in different styles including folk, soul, and jazz.

As Orri J. Avraham wrote in The Jerusalem Post,
When the homegrown Jerusalem acoustic ensemble known as Tandu began performing in 2104, its subtle style and artistic identity had already come to maturity as a result of many months of playing together as a tight-knit group. Sisters Shani and Yahala Lachmish had met their future musical companions, Jeff Petroff and Ofri Tube, years before at the Ein Prat Midrasha, where the seeds of a lifelong friendship were sown amid a shared study of Jewish thought over the summer. Inevitably, this intensive intellectual encounter soon uncovered yet another shared passion: a common love of singing.
A few lively musical endeavors at Ein Prat and a firestorm of new ideas gave birth to the Fountainheads, from whose waters sprang a series of music videos centering mostly on the Jewish holidays. Conceived as elaborate spin-offs of American pop culture songs, and choreographed with the help of dozens of enthusiastic Ein Prat graduates, these hilarious and surprisingly catchy carols quickly became viral hits on social media, outrageously popular in Jewish communities around the world. The band soon found itself touring around North and South America to perform in dozens of synagogues, where its widespread reputation certainly preceded it.
The very name Tandu – Aramaic for “together” – alludes to their penchant to combine ostensibly incompatible melodies and genres into entirely new concepts.
“We are trying to conceive of music that is unbounded by any single form. Superimposing separate styles that may seem to be at odds can actually come out as something totally unexpected and moving,” Petroff explains. His own original meshing of the Jewish Wayfarer’s Prayer into a beautiful soft-rock segment perhaps best demonstrates this notion.
“We still struggle with our identity as a band,” Shani elaborates. “We are often asked to define our brand of music, but find it very difficult to do so without doing it an injustice. We just tell them: Come to our shows and see for yourself.”
Here is a video of Tandu performing the song Mila Tova, which includes a taste of Stevie Wonder's I Just Called to Say I Love You.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

British Orthodox Comedian Ashley Blaker Gets Serious About Religion and Political Correctness


We've been watching (and posting video clips of) British comedian Ashley Blaker since he emerged on the standup comedy scene two years ago. 

A member of the Orthodox Jewish community in the UK, he has traveled the world and filled many theaters with his funny and witty observations about Jewish life.

Recently he stepped into a different role by delivering a commentary on PBS TV News about how, in a world of political correctness, there seems to be no disapproval of denigration of religion.

Despite our politically correct modern society, he’s accustomed to strangers judging him by his appearance, making assumptions about his views on Israel and the size of his family. 

In his own inimitable style, Blaker asks for the same respect for the religious as for all other minorities.

Something to think about.

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Monday, July 22, 2019

A Joke to Start the Week - "Belated Greeting"


It's another Monday, and time for another Joke to Start the Week.

Last month, when we were presenting programs on Jewish humor at the annual Camp Hazak week in the Catskills, we were glad to run into Sheldon Horowitz, a retired attorney and adjunct professor who loves to tell jokes and has been telling them for many years.

The camp, which was held at the newly refurbished Honor's Haven Resort and Spa in Ellenville, New York, attracted about 70 seniors, mostly from Hazak groups at Conservative synagogues from up and down the east coast. Sheldon had previously given us a few jokes at another Hazak retreat six years ago at Kutsher's Resort. Today we're sharing another one of his new old ones. We still have a few more that we're saving for future weeks.

Here's the setup: This Jewish guy is in a cemetery and he's saying Kaddish. As he's saying Kaddish he looks down the line and sees an old friend of his that he hasn't seen for 25 years. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Comedy Showcase: More Hilarious Standup Comedy from Orny Adams


Orny Adams (Adam Jason Orenstein) delivers a powerful, incisive stand-up routine that vacillates between the relevant and the absurd. Orny attacks what’s wrong with the world and sometimes even what’s wrong with Orny. He’s brutally honest, satirical and his performance is ceaselessly energetic.  
 
We first ran into Orny Adams at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal two years ago. Last year we posted a comedy clip of Orny in one of his Showtime specials. Orny has been performing on late night TV shows and other comedy venues, and he's a regular at the Just for Laughs Festival.

Orny has had one hour stand up specials on Netflix, Comedy Central and his third special More Than Loud aired  on Showtime. Orny has appeared all over television, most notably on The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman and The Conan O’Brien Show. And you might also recognize him as Coach from the TV show Teen Wolf which ran for six seasons.

In this clip, Orny laces into millennials and contrasts them with the rest of us who grew up with germs, peanuts, and didn't have bottled water. His politically incorrect observations also touch on gender confusion, Twitter, and social media.

Enjoy!

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Welcoming Shabbat with "The Shuk" Band in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda Shuk

The musical group that calls itself The Shuk Performs live concerts and providing workshops and educational programming worldwide in communities, theaters, festivals, synagogues, private events and programming for Jewish events and organizations in over 30 countries.
The Shuk features an eclectic and accomplished cast of musicians, artists, and educators based both in Israel and in New York City.
They perform an array of Jewish Fusion World Music, World Music, Israeli Music, Middle Eastern Music, Jazz, and Progressive Ethnic Music across the world year-round.
In February 2016 we posted their uplifting version of Shalom Aleichem. In today's video they visit Mahane Yehuda (The Shuk) in Jerusalem and play a medley of Kabbalat Shabbat songs.
Enjoy and Shabbat shalom!
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Thursday, July 18, 2019

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


When Imogene Coca opted to leave Your Show of Shows to star in her own TV series in 1954, Sid Caesar continued his comedy on Caesar's Hour until 1957, with most of the same writers and actors. Nanette Fabray replaced Imogene Coca as Caesar's co-star.

Caesar's Hour expanded on the format of Your Show of Shows with many sketches running a half-hour or more, including musical parodies such as There's No Business and Towers Trot, and genre parodies such as Bullets over Broadway (a gangster movie takeoff) and Aggravation Boulevard (with Caesar as a Rudolph Valentino/John Gilbert character who fails to make the transition from silents to talkies). 

In this Caesar's Hour great spoof of light operettas, Sid struggles to play the part of the dashing romantic figure he's expected to be, while Nanette does her best to cover his gaffes. 

The song Shadow Waltz was written for Gold Diggers of 1933 - a Warner Bros. film by Al Dubin and Harry Warren.

Enjoy!

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#Throwback Thursday    #TBT

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Meir Kay Asks New Yorkers to Walk the Red Carpet During Fashion Week


As we surf the web looking for funny videos to post here, we come across some very talented funny people who delight in creating interesting and humorous situations to provide entertainment and reasons to laugh.

Because this is Jewish Humor Central, we try to find ones that have some kind of Jewish connection. Sometimes they're obvious, and sometime they're a bit of a stretch.

Meir Kalmanson has been posting funny Jewish videos on YouTube under the name Meir Kay. An Orthodox Jewish filmmaker from Brooklyn, his aim is to spread "happiness and positivity."

We've already featured six of his videos on the Evolution of Chassidic Dance, High Fiving Strangers in New York, Dancing Behind People in Jerusalem, How to Lift the Torah Like a Boss, Looking for a Leader in the Park, and A Hugging Spree in New York City.

In this video, Meir puts down a red carpet in New York streets and subway platforms and invites random strangers to strut during Fashion Week.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Koolulam Brings 2,000 People Together to Sing Mahapecha Shel Simcha


We just can't get enough of Koolulam, the singing project that brings Israelis from all walks of life who hadn't met before to sing popular songs together.

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.

In this video, Koolulam brought 2,000 people together in the Jezreel Valley to sing a new three-part vocal arrangement of the song Mahapecha Shel Simcha (A Revolution of Joy) to celebrate Israel's 70th birthday. It took just under an hour to learn all the parts.

Enjoy! 

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Monday, July 15, 2019

A Joke to Start the Week - "Your Back Lights Are Not Working"


A few weeks ago, our joke to start the week came from a Jews Telling Jokes night earlier this year at Chabad of Downtown San Diego. Today we're sharing another joke from that event told by Rabbi Zalman Carlebach, spiritual leader of the shul. 

Rabbi Carlebach was born in Johannesburg and went to Torah Academy. He studied in Morristown, Leeds, England, and Pretoria where he received his Rabbinical Degree. As a student Rabbi, he traveled from rural Australia to Kathmandu, Nepal to share the beauty of Torah with others.

Somewhere along the line he learned to tell jokes. 

Here's the setup for this one:  A driver is stopped by a policeman. He asks why he was pulled over. "Was I speeding?" "No." "Do I not have a license?" "Yes, you have a license." The cop tells him "Your back lights are not working." And then...

Enjoy!


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