Thursday, September 17, 2020

Wishing All of Our Readers a Shanah Tovah - Happy New Year 5781


Thanks to our thousands of loyal subscribers and casual readers worldwide who have joined us during the year.

We started this blog on October 5, 2009 and it's been going strong with more than 3300 blog entries and more than 3 million page views over the last 11 years.  

We appreciate your loyalty and we hope to keep bringing you a daily mix of Jewish humor in all of its forms -- traditional, eclectic, musical, unbelievable but true, and just funny, tempered with touches of nostalgia and Yiddishe nachas. 

5780 has been a great year for us -- a year of wonderful friendship, a year in which our nine books on Jewish humor have been selling on Amazon.com, and in which we performed comedy shows and lectures in Florida, New York, and New Jersey.


We'll be attending Rosh Hashanah services remotely tomorrow, Shabbat and Sunday, and we'll be back posting again on Monday.  Here's wishing you Shabbat shalom, and a happy, healthy, joyous, prosperous and funny New Year from our family to yours!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Pass the Pomegranate for Rosh Hashana...and Learn How to Open it

Pomegranates and Rosh Hashanah go together, because by eating the pomegranate, we express our wish for a year filled with as many merits as a pomegranate has seeds.

Here is a Rosh Hashanah video greeting created and posted on YouTube by Franck Nabeth, a creative video producer that shows a pomegranate being passed in seemingly magical ways.

But how do you open and eat this beautiful, symbolic, but difficult fruit? Easily, if you know how.

Watch the video below the pomegranate passing video and you'll see how easy it is to open and gain access to the seeds.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Here Come the Rosh Hashanah Videos - "Under the Sea" Parody - The Kosher Mermaid and Gefilte Fish

Tehila, the Kosher Diva, has posted Gefilte Fish, a video parody of the Disney Little Mermaid song Under the Sea just in time for us to share it with you as another funny Rosh Hashanah video.

 But just who is Tehila, the Kosher Diva? She is 34-year-old Yael Yekel, a fun and flirty Israeli actor-singer.

As Renee Ghert-Zand wrote in The Times of Israel,

Through her kitschy character, Yekel is on a mission to make the mammeloshen relevant and accessible to younger generations. 

“I grew up with secular kibbutznik parents. I only heard Yiddish spoken by my grandparents — Holocaust survivors from Poland and Lithuania who helped found Kibbbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot in northern Israel — when they didn’t want us to understand what they were saying,” Yekel told The Times of Israel.

When not portraying the Kosher Diva, Yekel acts on stage and in commercials and television shows. Her studies at the Beit Zvi School of the Performing Arts focused on musical theater, through which she first became engaged with Yiddish.

Enjoy!

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Monday, September 14, 2020

A Joke to Start the Week - "Two Old Jewish Women in Shul"

The rabbis and cantors of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles have been adding a series of jokes to the videos on their website over the last few months. We're sure that their members join us in appreciating this welcome opportunity to share some laughs in the midst of the coronavirus stay-at-home world that most of us are experiencing.

One of America’s most highly respected congregations, Wilshire Boulevard Temple has been serving the Los Angeles Jewish community since its founding in 1862 as Congregation B’nai B'rith, the city’s first synagogue. Today, Wilshire Boulevard Temple carries out the mission through a variety of ways, as a center for Jewish spirituality and celebration, a place for lifelong learning and friendship and home to an engaged congregation where every person can make a difference.

Today Senior Rabbi Steve Leder tells a joke about a Rabbi's sermon. 

Here's the setup: Two old Jewish women are sitting in shul at the Shabbat morning service.  The rabbi is going on and on and on and on in his sermon.  And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Yiddish Word of the Day - Eating and Overeating

As people continue to spend their days and evenings at home, due to coronavirus social distancing restrictions, the Forverts has launched a daily series of short informal video clips called Yiddish Word of the Day.

The series, written and narrated by Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter, aims to give non-Yiddish speakers an introduction to familiar Yiddish words and phrases and how they might be used in everyday situations. 

Schaechter, who was appointed the new editor of the Forverts in 2016, is the first woman to helm the paper in its 119-year history, its first editor to have been born in the United States, and likely its first editor who is shomeret Shabbat.

We posted the first of this series in May. Now that the Forverts is continuing the series, we'll be sharing some of the words and phrases as a regular feature of Jewish Humor Central.

Today as we look forward to holiday tables full of Rosh Hashanah delicacies, Rukhl gives us the Yiddish words for eating and overeating.
 
Enjoy! 

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Friday, September 11, 2020

Welcoming Shabbat with Ein Keiloheinu by Congregation Beth Yam Choir in Hilton Head, South Carolina

Congregation Beth Yam (“House by the Sea”) is a Reform Congregation on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, founded in 1985. It is the focal point for Southern Beaufort County’s multi-faceted Jewish community. Beth Yam’s 307 member families consider the Temple their home base.  

Their High Holidays Choir has been practicing Shabbat and holiday songs from their homes under social distancing conditions. We found some of their work on YouTube and today we're sharing one of their first on-line performances, the Ein Keiloheinu hymn that is sung toward the end of Shacharit on Shabbat mornings.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special - Gertrude Berg in "How to Be a Jewish Mother" on The Ed Sullivan Show

Today we're turning the clock back 55 years to September 1965, when Gertrude Berg made an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

In that segment, Berg (using her Molly Goldberg persona) gave Sullivan a tutorial on "How to be a Jewish Monther" - the techniques of basic suffering and making basic sacrifices.

Examples include:

- How to behave when you discover your daughter necking in the living room
- How to entertain people who come to your home for dinner
- How to tell a funny story

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Here Come the Rosh Hashanah Videos - The Maccabeats Sing "Bashana Haba'ah"

With Rosh Hashanah only nine days away, we're continuing our sharing of music videos with a new version of Bashana Haba'ah (In the Coming Year), a song of hope for the year to come.

This version is sung by the Maccabeats. Originally formed in 2007 as Yeshiva University’s student vocal group, the Maccabeats have recently emerged as both Jewish music and a cappella phenomena,  with a large fan base, more than 20 million views on YouTube, numerous TV appearances, and proven success with four albums. 

Though the Maccabeats aren’t your grandfather’s synagogue choir, their ideology and identity play an important part in what they do. Strongly committed to the philosophy of Torah u-Madda, the integration of traditional and secular wisdom, the Maccabeats perform an eclectic array of Jewish, American, and Israeli songs.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Here Come the Rosh Hashanah Videos - "Reset" - From Communities Around the World

We're only 10 days away from the start of Rosh Hashanah, and it's time to start sharing some videos that focus on the High Holidays. 

Last year, before coronavirus social distancing set in around the world, the 92nd Street Y released Reset, a new song and video.

Reset features music and lyrics by Noah Aronson and Abigail Pogrebin and was shot on mobile phones by people all over the world, from New York City to the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, from Ghana and Belarus, Turkey, Israel, Guatemala and beyond, all making music together. Click CC to follow along with the lyrics!

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Monday, September 7, 2020

A Joke to Start the Week - "The Dictaphone"

Another Monday, and another Joke to Start the Week. Today we're bringing you another joke told by David Apfel. 


Now living in Modiin, Israel, David Apfel is an accomplished entertainer and chazzan. He sings in several languages with repertoire ranging from the musicals to opera. He has officiated internationally at several orthodox synagogues and he also specializes in ''Kosher Komedie''.
 
Here's the setup for today's Joke: Many years ago, before the digital age, Mr. Goldstein had come over from Eastern Europe to the United States and he'd done very well for himself. One day a salesman came to sell him a dictaphone. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Yiddish Word of the Day - "Let's Make Up"

As people continue to spend their days and evenings at home, due to coronavirus social distancing restrictions, the Forverts has launched a daily series of short informal video clips called Yiddish Word of the Day.

The series, written and narrated by Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter, aims to give non-Yiddish speakers an introduction to familiar Yiddish words and phrases and how they might be used in everyday situations. 

Schaechter, who was appointed the new editor of the Forverts in 2016, is the first woman to helm the paper in its 119-year history, its first editor to have been born in the United States, and likely its first editor who is shomeret Shabbat.

We posted the first of this series in May. Now that the Forverts is continuing the series, we'll be sharing some of the words and phrases as a regular feature of Jewish Humor Central.

Today Rukhl tells us how to say "Let's make up" in Yiddish after an argument.
 
Enjoy! 

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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase: Myron Cohen on School Rivalries and Divorce

It's too bad that so few videos of Myron Cohen's witty and clean stand-up comedy survive and have surfaced on the internet. Cohen, who started out as a salesman telling jokes to his customers, became one of the most frequent guests on The Ed Sullivan Show, where his Yiddish-accented observations delighted general audiences. 

Of course he appeared in the Catskills, which gave a boost to his career and that of so many Jewish comedians. 

Here's a video clip of a Myron Cohen routine on the Sullivan show in 1964.

Enjoy!

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#Throwback Thursday    #TBT

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Special: Comedian Modi's Yoely Character Updates His Presidential Campaign

We have been posting funny commentaries by comedian Modi's alter ego Yoely about coronavirus and reviews of streaming video series that he's been watching on TV, a medium that until now was culturally incorrect for him to watch.

Now that he's also watched some of the news programs and political ads, he decided that the country is ready for him to run for president, not as a Republican or a Democrat, but on the Heimishe party platform.

We posted his candidacy announcment in June, and now his campaign is kicking into high gear with appeals for campaign contributions and an offer for a campaign T-shirt.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Basketball Star Amar'e Stoudemire Converts to Judaism, Talks About Torah Study

American basketball star Amar'e Stoudemire completed his conversion to Judaism last week, just after being given the MVP award for his winning ways for the Maccabi Tel Aviv team.

In April 2018, Stoudemire began converting to Judaism. In January 2019, Stoudemire was granted residency in Israel. In March 2019, he received Israeli citizenship, and he also adopted the name Jehoshaphat ben Avraham. He formally converted to Judaism with a Rabbinic court on August 26, 2020.

Stoudemire has been playing basketball since high school and became a star in the NBA, playing for four teams in the USA. After his retirement, he joined the Hapoel Jerusalem team, and is now playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

A few months ago Stoudemire was interviewed on Israel TV by Omri Casspi, an Israeli basketball player who played on teams in the USA for ten years. In the interview, Stoudemire explains his attraction to Judaism and the study of Torah. Below the video we're posting a short clip of Stoudemire, in Black Hat Haredi attire, dancing with his rabbis in B'nei Brak.

Mazal tov Amar'e on completing your conversion and your MVP award!

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Monday, August 31, 2020

A Joke to Start the Week - "English as a Second Language"

 

Michael Krasny has been telling Jewish jokes since his bar mitzvah, and it’s been said that he knows more of them than anyone on the planet. He certainly states his case in his latest book Let There be Laughter. 

In promoting the book, Krasny has been giving lectures and interviews in which he tells some of the classic Jewish jokes, explaining the cultural expressions and anxieties behind the laughs.

We found some videos of these lectures, and today we're sharing an oldie but goodie. This one was originally told by Leo Rosten, the author of The Joys of Yiddish and The Education of Hyman Kaplan, a book about the experiences of European Jews, just off the boat from the shtetl, trying to learn English in the melting pot of New York.

Here's the setup: A man waits for the bus and then goes to his English class. The teacher asks him to spell the word  "cultivate". And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Yiddish Word of the Day: Getting Angry in Yiddish

As people continue to spend their days and evenings at home, due to coronavirus social distancing restrictions, the Forverts has launched a daily series of short informal video clips called Yiddish Word of the Day.

The series, written and narrated by Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter, aims to give non-Yiddish speakers an introduction to familiar Yiddish words and phrases and how they might be used in everyday situations. 

Schaechter, who was appointed the new editor of the Forverts in 2016, is the first woman to helm the paper in its 119-year history, its first editor to have been born in the United States, and likely its first editor who is shomeret Shabbat.

We posted the first of this series in May. Now that the Forverts is continuing the series, we'll be sharing some of the words and phrases as a regular feature of Jewish Humor Central.

Today Rukhl gives us five words that describe anger in Yiddish.
 
Enjoy! 

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Friday, August 28, 2020

Welcoming Shabbat with a Bluegrass Version of Lecha Dodi

Written by 16th Century Kabbalist Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, Lecha Dodi is a classic erev Shabbat text that has been put to many tunes. This Shabbat, we bring you Lecha Dodi to the melody of a Bluegrass standard, Old Home Place. 

It's performed by Kol Kaḥol, a virtuosic Jewish Bluegrass band that brings a warm, welcoming, and uplifting musical experience to the Kabbalat Shabbat service.

The combination of banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and bass, together with vocals by Ariel Wyner and Sofia Chiarandini creates a version of Lecha Dodi that we haven't heard in shul (or anywhere else).

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase: Myron Cohen on Senior Citizens in Miami Beach

Myron Cohen (1902-1986) was a top nightclub headliner in the 1950s and a frequent guest performer on The Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960s.  

He became famous as a stand-up comedian specializing in jokes told in a heavy Jewish dialect. But offstage, he spoke perfect, cultured English. Unlike many star performers of his time, he was very affable and approachable in public.

His path to comedy started in New York City's garment district, where he worked as a salesman. When calling on customers, before showing his samples, he would tell a joke to put everyone at ease and establish a friendly mood. Cohen’s jokes were often more popular than his garment samples, and his customers urged him to become a professional comedian.

Here's a selection about senior citizens in Miami Beach from Cohen's 1967 record album It's Not a Question, recorded live at the Eden Roc hotel. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Showcase: Buddy Hackett Talks to the Animals

Have we got a Buddy Hackett joke for you! We're big fans of the roly-poly hilarious comedian and have posted many of his sessions on the Johnny Carson Show. 

But it's always a challenge to find his jokes and conversations that are family-friendly for us to share.We keep looking for new posts and we found one! Buddy and Johnny are long gone, but every now and then a video clip comes to the surface. 

Here's an undated quickie from one of his Carson show appearances. In it, Buddy tells of a weary Gypsy traveler who had the ability to converse with animals.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

In Coronavirus Times, Street Music Goes On (Masked) in the Streets of Jerusalem

If your visit to Jerusalem includes a stop at the intersection of Jaffa Road and King George Street near Ben Yehuda Street and Zion Square, you'll find yourself at the epicenter of Jerusalem street theater and street music. 

All year long, some of the best singers and performers show up to give the passing crowds a good show.We thought that the coronavirus pandemic would bring an end to this entertainment, but as you can see from this video of the downtown scene last week, busy Jerusalem life isn't taking a break. 

The intersection is as bustling as ever, the only difference being the presence of masks on virtually everyone. We had read about Israelis not paying much attention to the mask and distancing precautions, and were surprised to see the almost universal compliance. 

Soldiers, students, women pushing carriages, Hasidim, and even the ever-present Chabad emissaries promoting the wearing of tefilin, and the lone guitarist, all exercising caution but not wavering from their daily routines.

So take a virtual walk in the streets of Jerusalem, and enjoy the medley of Jewish and Israeli music!

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Monday, August 24, 2020

A Joke to Start the Week - "The Most Expensive Barbie Doll"


Another Monday, and another Joke to Start the Week. Today we're bringing you another joke told by David Apfel. 


Now living in Modiin, Israel, David Apfel is an accomplished entertainer and chazzan. He sings in several languages with repertoire ranging from the musicals to opera. He has officiated internationally at several orthodox synagogues and he also specializes in ''Kosher Komedie''.

Here's the setup for today's Joke: Mr. Goldstein goes into the local toy store and asks the man at the counter to show him a doll that he can buy for his granddaughter's birthday. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Yiddish Word of the Day - Narishkeyt

 

As people continue to spend their days and evenings at home, due to coronavirus social distancing restrictions, the Forverts has launched a daily series of short informal video clips called Yiddish Word of the Day.

The series, written and narrated by Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter, aims to give non-Yiddish speakers an introduction to familiar Yiddish words and phrases and how they might be used in everyday situations. 

Schaechter, who was appointed the new editor of the Forverts in 2016, is the first woman to helm the paper in its 119-year history, its first editor to have been born in the United States, and likely its first editor who is shomeret Shabbat.

We posted the first of this series in May. Now that the Forverts is continuing the series, we'll be sharing some of the words and phrases as a regular feature of Jewish Humor Central.

Today Rukhl explains a Yiddish word that mean Nonsense, Foolishness, Stupidity, and gives a few examples of its usage in phrases that can be used in many situations.
 
Enjoy! 

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Friday, August 21, 2020

Welcoming Shabbat with Shalom Aleichem by Cantors Erica Lippitz and Eliana Kissner


After another busy week, it's time for another restful Shabbat. Today's Kabbalat Shabbat includes a new version of Shalom Aleichem, the liturgical poem that we sing on Friday evening at home before a traditional Shabbat dinner.

It's the 41st version of Shalom Aleichem that we've posted on Jewish Humor Central. It's sung by Cantors Erica Lippitz and Eliana Kissner and sponsored by the Oheb Shalom synagogue of South Orange, New Jersey.

Cantor Erica Lippitz was one of the first two cantors in the Conservative movement.  

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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