Friday, July 31, 2020

Welcoming Shabbat with Eishet Chayil by the Hibba Center of Jerusalem



Hibbat HaPiyut (The Love of the Piyyut) project is a huge database of piyyutim (liturgical poems) from the cycle of the year and the life cycle of a person.

The project is shared by the Hibba Center and the Shazar Center of Jerusalem with the assistance of the Ministry of Culture.

In the project you can find clips of young musicians from different ensembles produced by the Hibba Center, in piyyutim clips sung on holidays and celebrations.

Today's video is a performance of Eishet Chayil (A Woman of Valor), a hymn which is not sung in the synagogue, but in many homes after singing Shalom Aleichem and before saying the Kiddush. Traditionally, a husband sings the song to his wife, extolling her virtues, and expressing thanks for all that his wife has done for him and their family. 

An English translation appears below.

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. 



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A woman of valor, who can find? Far beyond pearls is her value. Her husband's heart trusts in her and he shall lack no fortune.

She repays his good, but never his harm, all the days of her life. She seeks out wool and linen, and her hands work willingly.

She is like a merchant's ships; from afar she brings her sustenance She rises while it is still nighttime, and gives food to her household and a ration to her maids.

She considers a field and buys it; from the fruit of her handiwork she plants a vineyard. She girds her loins with might and strengthens her arms.

False is grace, and vain is beauty; a G‑d-fearing woman, she should be praised.

Give her the fruit of her hands, and she will be praised at the gates by her very own deeds.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

No Jokes Today - It's Tisha B'Av, a Day of Mourning for the Holy Temples


If you were expecting a joke or a comedy skit today, we're sorry to disappoint you. You'll have to wait until Monday. Today is Tisha B'Av, an annual fast day in Judaism which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of the Jews from the Land of Israel.

The day also commemorates other tragedies which occurred on the same day, including the Roman massacre of over 100,000 Jews at Betar in 132 CE. Instituted by the rabbis of 2nd-century Palestine.

Tisha B'Av is regarded as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, a day in which all pleasurable activity is forbidden, and is marked by synagogue attendance the night before and during the day. But that doesn't mean there's no singing, or more accurately, chanting.

The highlight of the day's service is the chanting of the megillah of Eicha (Lamentations), written by the prophet Jeremiah. Eicha is read in synagogues and in groups meeting indoors and outdoors. The video below shows a large group singing Shir HaMaalot and Im Eshkachech Yerushalayim before sitting on the ground and beginning to read Eicha in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. 

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. 



If Eicha's dirge-like melody and mournful lyrics don't speak to you, there's another musical way to get into the mood. It's the piyut (liturgical poem) Eli Tzion, the last piyut in the Ashkenazi collection of kinot (lamentations).

It's sung here to the tune of The Parting Glass, a traditional Irish folk song, by Noey J, a singer-songwriter who got his start with The Maccabeats.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

When Young Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory) Wanted to Become Jewish


Young Sheldon is an American comedy television series on CBS created by Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro. The series is a spin-off prequel to The Big Bang Theory and begins with the character Sheldon Cooper at the age of nine, living with his family in East Texas and going to high school. 

Iain Armitage stars as young Sheldon, alongside Zoe Perry, Lance Barber, Montana Jordan, Raegan Revord, and Annie Potts. Jim Parsons, who portrays the adult Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, narrates the series and serves as an executive producer.

In the 17th episode of Season 2, which aired on March 7, 2019, Young Sheldon takes up violin lessons to be more like Albert Einstein. Noticing the prevalence of Jews like Einstein in physics, he decides to become Jewish himself. He calls a local rabbi who gives him some sound advice.

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, July 28, 2020

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: South Korea Includes Hava Nagila in Pop Music Concert


Pop music has always been popular in South Korea. They have a TV station (Korea Broadcasting System) specializing in this music. There are boy bands, girl bands, soloists, and songs that feature a wide variety of musical styles.

This week they broadcast an "open concert" that included many Korean songs and songs from Broadway shows and American pop music.

How Hava Nagila found its way into the mix we can't figure out, but somehow it did, in a lively production number featuring popular singers Kim Na-Young and Kim Dong-Kyu.

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 THEPLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO. 


Monday, July 27, 2020

A Joke to Start the Week - "A Difficult Eulogy"



It's another Monday, and time for another Joke to Start the week. Here's another one from author and lecturer Michael Krasny.

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 another oldie but goodie.

Here's the setup: A guy goes to a rabbi and says "As you know, Rabbi, my brother died. And you're going to be doing the funeral, aren't you?" And the rabbi says "Yes, I am." 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 THEPLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO. 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Yiddish Word of the Day: Greetings and Counter-Greetings


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 phrases are very useful greetings and counter-greetings for every day and for special occasions.
 
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, July 24, 2020

Welcoming Shabbat with Adon Olam by the Temple Emanu-El Choir of Toronto


Back in 2010 we started a new series, presenting renditions of Adon Olam from performers worldwide, including traditional and eclectic versions.  Since then we have posted 59 different versions to provide you with a lively way to start Shabbat.

Our 60th version today, by Cantorial Soloist and Choir Director Judy Adelman Gershon, is sung by the Temple Emanu-El Choir of Toronto, Canada.
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Temple Emanu-El is a vibrant, progressive, Reform community committed to Jewish renewal at home, in the synagogue and in the wider Jewish universe. 

This is their first virtual choir performance.

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 23, 2020

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Eddie Cantor's 1951 One-Man Show


It's another Throwback Thursday and we're turning the clock back 69 years to 1951 when Eddie Cantor put on a one-man show featuring comedy, song and dance.

Cantor, born Isidore Itzkowitz (1892–1964) was an American "illustrated song" performer, comedian, dancer, singer, actor, and songwriter. Familiar to Broadway, radio, movie, and early television audiences, this "Apostle of Pep" was regarded almost as a family member by millions because his top-rated radio shows revealed intimate stories and amusing anecdotes about his wife Ida and five daughters. 

Some of his hits include "Makin' Whoopee," "Ida (Sweet as Apple Cider)," "If You Knew Susie," "Ma! He's Makin' Eyes at Me," “Mandy,” "My Baby Just Cares for Me,” "Margie," and "How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)?" He also wrote a few songs, including "Merrily We Roll Along", the Merrie Melodies Warner Bros. cartoon theme.

His eye-rolling song-and-dance routines eventually led to his nickname, "Banjo Eyes." In 1933, artist Frederick J. Garner caricatured Cantor with large round eyes resembling the drum-like pot of a banjo. Cantor's eyes became his trademark, often exaggerated in illustrations, and leading to his appearance on Broadway in the musical Banjo Eyes (1941).
His charity and humanitarian work was extensive, and he helped to develop the March of Dimes (and is credited with coining its name). He was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1956 for distinguished service to the film industry.

In this one-man show, Cantor sings Ballin' the Jack, Josephine Please No Lean on the Bell, several improvised songs, and tells stories about John Barrymore, Orson Welles,and Jimmy Durante. 

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, July 22, 2020

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: Mayim Mayim - The Israeli Folk Song/Dance That All Japanese Know




The popular Israeli folk song Mayim Mayim (i.e. 'Water, Water' in Hebrew), whose lyrics are based on a biblical promise for salvation, is now the well-known tune accompanying countless Japanese video games. Now that's a Jewish trace in a very unexpected place. 

As Gabriela Gaselowitz wrote in Tablet

Everyone in Japan knows Mayim Mayim.

How did this happen? It began in the post-WWII occupation of Japan, led by General Douglas MacArthur. As part of the (admittedly somewhat forced) cultural exchange, the United States decided to teach the youth in Asia folk dances.
They enlisted the aid of Rickey Holden, a prominent square and folk dance-caller, scholar, and educator.Holden does not appear to be Jewish, but he did visit Israel to study folk dance. That’s most likely where he learned Mayim Mayim. Over the course of 1957 and 1958, he went on a world tour that included Japan and Taipei.
It’s not clear if he’s solely responsible for teaching the dance in Japan, but in Taiwan it’s closely associated with him. (In fact, Israeli dance in general is popular in Taiwan, but it was Mayim Mayim that started it all.)
Here's a video of the original Israeli song in a film clip from 1959 followed by an example of its use in the opening sequence of a Japanese children's show.

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.

 




(A tip of the kippah to Henry Goldberg for bringing this video to my attention.)