Monday, July 13, 2020

A Joke to Start the Week - "The Conversion"


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.

Here's the setup: During the Depression, there's a sign in the window that says "We convert Jews. $100 each." A man says to his wife "We're almost starving. There's no money. Let's do this."
And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Yiddish Word of the Day - A New Series by the Forverts - "Hey, What's Happening?"



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's phrase is a very useful one to get a conversation started. "Hey, what's happening?" Let's watch Rukhl give the Yiddish version and a few likely responses.

Enjoy!

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Friday, July 10, 2020

Welcoming Shabbat with Lecha Dodi by Kol Simcha Choir of Beth HaTephila in Asheville, NC


Tonight we welcome another Shabbat with another version of Lecha Dodi, this time sung by the Simcha Choir of Congregation Beth Ha Tephila, in Asheville, North Carolina.

Founded in 1891 and affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism since 1908, Congregation Beth HaTephila is a contemporary, mid-sized and growing Reform congregation in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Composed entirely of volunteer congregants, the synagogue's Kol Simcha Choir exists to enhance the Jewish experience of choir members and the larger congregation.

In this video, the choir sings the liturgical poem Lecha Dodi, a key part of the Friday night Shabbat service, sung to the melody of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

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, July 9, 2020

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Gilda Radner and Madeline Kahn in SNL Skit "Not for Ladies Only"


It's another Throwback Thursday, and today we're rolling the clock back 44 years to Season 1 of Saturday Night Live in 1976 for a classic skit featuring Gilda Radner as Barbara Wawa (Barbara Walters) interviewing Madeline Kahn as Wiving Wegend Marwena Deutschwand (Marlene Dietrich).

In the "Not for Wadies Only" skit, both comedians put on their best Elmer Fudd subsitutions of w for l and r as they cawwy out the intewview without bweaking chawacter.

Enjoy!


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#Throwback Thursday    #TBT

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Paul Robeson Sings in Yiddish - "How Does the Czar Drink Tea?"


Paul Robeson was an American bass baritone concert artist and stage and film actor who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political activism.

In 1928, Robeson played "Joe" in the London production of the American musical Show Boat.  His rendition of Ol' Man River became the benchmark for all future performers of the song.

His political activities began with his involvement with unemployed workers and anti-imperialist students whom he met in Britain and continued with support for the Loyalist cause in the Spanish Civil War and his opposition to fascism. 

In the United States he also became active in the Civil Rights Movement and other social justice campaigns. His sympathies for the Soviet Union and for communism, and his criticism of the United States government and its foreign policies, caused him to be blacklisted during the McCarthy era.  

Robeson sang in more than 50 languages and became fluent in more than 10. Although he never achieved complete fluency in Yiddish, he was comfortable speaking and reading it.

As Cantor Sheldon Foster Merel wrote in the San Diego Jewish World this week,
By chance someone just sent me a link to a recording by Robeson in Yiddish. This is a new one, for me. I further learned he had recorded several Yiddish songs and often included them in his concerts.
He began studying Yiddish informally at Columbia University and made several trips to Poland and the Soviet Union where he could speak Yiddish with Jewish activists, poets, and Soviet anti-fascist groups.
He admired poetry of the Yiddish poet Itzik Fifer and visited him while he was languishing in prison.  At a concert in Russia, although Robeson was instructed not to sing any Yiddish nationalistic songs, he nonetheless in defiance sang the Yiddish Partisan song Zog nit keyn mol.  The concert was heard on radio by millions of listeners around the world.
One of the songs that Robeson sang in Yiddish was the old folk song Vi azoy lebt der keyser? (How does the czar live?)

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Comedy Showcase: Russian-American Comedian Kira Soltanovich on Her Snoring Husband


Comedian Kira Soltanovich came to the USA at the age of two with her Russian Jewish parents and has been performing stand-up comedy ever since.

Soltanovich is best known for her work on the prank-oriented reality show Girls Behaving Badly which aired on the Oxygen Network for four seasons and for being the voice of a talking photo booth in a sketch on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The Jay Leno Show

She has performed stand-up on Jimmy Kimmel Livei, Last Call with Carson Daly, Last Comic Standing, Hello Ross! and Comedy Central's The World Stands Up. Soltanovich has written for Joan Rivers and Scott Baio as well as for former Disney stars Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber (for the show PrankStars). Her three-year-old son inspired her podcast, The Kira Soltanovich Show, where she interviews fellow comedians who have kids and they discuss all things comedy and colic related. 

One of the classic comedy club routines that resonates with her audiences is her animated description of her husband snoring at night.

Enjoy!

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Monday, July 6, 2020

A Joke to Start the Week - "A Nice Sweater"


It's another Monday, and it's time for another joke to start the week. Here comes another one from Toronto's Jewish Folks Telling Jokes, a night of comedy to benefit Jewish Family and Child, one of the foremost Jewish service agencies in North America. 

We previously posted a few jokes that were told at the event, a Canadian contribution to the world of Jewish humor, probably inspired by the off-Broadway show Old Jews Telling Jokes, still touring around the USA. 

We'll be posting more of these jokes on upcoming Mondays. Here's another one, told by Al Goodman.

Here's the setup: Two young ladies went out to lunch.  The first one says "Sadie, that's a lovely sweater you're wearing." She says 'Thank You.'" And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: Meet Zevulun, Rice Farmer in Thailand


We knew that many Israelis, after completing their army service, spend time traveling in Thailand. But until now, we hadn't heard of an American Jew from Kansas moving to Thailand to be a rice farmer in a small village.

Rabbi Yoni Golker, a member of the rabbinic team at St. John's Wood and Saatchi Synagogue in London, has started a series of videos portraying Jewish life around the world, including places where you wouldn't expect to see it thriving.

In the middle of the coronavirus lockdowns, while in Jerusalem, Rabbi Golker interviewed Zevulun, the rice farmer in a virtual session between Jerusalem and Thailand.

Rabbi Golker was fascinated to meet Zevulun the rice farmer, from Sakon Nakhon, North East Thailand. Zevulun, originally from the USA, is certainly not your typical Thai farmer. He lives in a 34 acre farm in rural Thailand and is an observant Jew . He wakes up daily before sunrise to pray Shacharit and put on tefillin. He spends one Shabbat a month in Bangkok, returning with a suitcase of kosher chicken and meat. His story is incredible and he is certainly an inspiration!

Enjoy!

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Friday, July 3, 2020

Welcoming Shabbat with Shalom Aleichem by Maayan Choir of Tel Aviv


The Maayan Choir under the musical direction and conductorship of Ms. Anat Morahg is the official choir of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality Department of Performances, comprising  some 45 singers.

The choir singers are graduates of the Rubin Academy of Music Tel Aviv, the School of Choir Singing, music students and graduates of selected youth choirs, performing a varied repertoire including classical, contemporary and Israeli music. 

In this rendition of Shalom Aleichem, the Maayan Choir joined with their partner choir, the Freiburger Bachchor of Freiburg, Germany in a virtual performance.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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