Tuesday, January 19, 2021

A Special Virtual Production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

And now for something completely different. Today instead of our usual video of comedy or music that runs for 5 minutes or so, we're sharing a very special hour-long production of the musical comedy Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

This production was put together by a team of more than 40 members of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys and the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center's Youth program in California.

With a talented cast of young actors, dancers, and musicians all keeping their distance from one another in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and with the help of some creative computer graphics, the production stays on track with the music and lyrics of the original production.

We think it's  worth the time to watch, and if an hour is too much, you can watch it song by song.

Enjoy!

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Monday, January 18, 2021

A Joke to Start the Week - "Four Countries, Four Questions"

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 and quickie.

Here's the setup: There's a Russian, a Pole, an American, and an Israeli. A guy walks over to them with a big clipboard.  And then...
Enjoy!

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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Yiddish Word of the Day: The Bed

As people continue to spend their days and evenings at home, due to coronavirus social distancing restrictions, the Forverts has launched a 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 last 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 we'll look at Yiddish words for the bed, bedding, and a few proverbs that involve the bed.

Enjoy! 

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Friday, January 15, 2021

Welcoming Shabbat with Lecha Dodi by Enrico Fink and the Multietnica Orchestra of Arezzo, Tuscany

On Fridays we try to share new interpretations of traditional parts of the Kabbalat Shabbat evening service. So far we have posted 34 versions of Lecha Dodi, a central part of the service.
 
Today we're posting a most unusual version that just appeared on YouTube yesterday. It's a performance of Lecha Dodi by the ten members of the Multietnica Orchestra of Arezzo, Tuscany. 
 
It features Enrico Fink, Alexian Santino Spinelli, the soloists of the Multietnica Orchestra in Arezzo and the Alexian Group playing a very diverse set of musical instruments.
 
Enrico Fink has been one of the major figures in the Jewish music and theatre scene in Italy, regularly touring Europe and the United States with different groups and projects, and maintaining an active schedule as a lecturer and educator. 
 
As an artist, Enrico has devoted himself to new interpretations of Jewish cultural tradition, finding a path between the “radical” and traditional, using both music and musical theatre as means of expression. In his performances Enrico plunges into the incredibly rich, varied and complex world of Italian hazanut (cantorial music) Italian Jewish folk songs, and local dialects. 
 
Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom! 

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Sid Caesar and The Caesaros Flying Circus in the 1950s

It's Throwback Thursday again, and today we're turning the clock back more than 60 years to revisit the antics of Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, and Howard Morris as they perform The Caesaros Flying Circus, their deranged version of a circus acrobatics act.

No date is available for this sketch, which has only been released on very rare out of print VHS/Betamax tapes. It's from Caesar's Hour, a TV show that was aired from 1954 to 1957.

We're grateful to a Sid Caesar super fan who found these tapes, had them transferred digitally, and shared them with a poster who made them available on YouTube.

Enjoy!

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 #Throwback Thursday    #TBT

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Jews in Sports Honored by the Genesis Prize Foundation

The Genesis Prize Foundation created "Jews in Sports" to honor outstanding achievement by Jewish individuals in the field of sports. Because the Genesis Prize honors individuals for their extraordinary accomplishment in a particular field, the foundation pays tribute to the field of the laureate each year. 

"Jews in Sports" was debuted at the 2019 Genesis Prize Ceremony in honor of Robert Kraft, owner of the six-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots of the National Football League. Some of the athletes featured in the video include: Julian Edelman, David Beckham, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, Aly Raisman, Tal Brody, Hank Greenberg, Yuri Lyapkin, Irina Viner, Garry Kasparov, and many more.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Hava Nagila Around the World: In Bucharest, Romania it's Christmas Jazz

In our 12 years of bringing you Jewish Humor Central we have posted 93 versions of Hava Nagila from countries around the world. The song is immensely popular but categorizing it has been challenging. Is it a Jewish folk song? A Hebrew folk song? An orchestral piece? A wedding dance? Yes to all of the above. 

But to the Bucharest Grand Orchestra in Romania, it's Christmas Jazz, as presented in a concert last month in the country's capital. Featured performers are accordionist Emy Dragoi and violinists Alessia and Bianca Dragoi accompanied by the orchestra.

Enjoy!

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Monday, January 11, 2021

A Joke to Start the Week - Rainy Night Errand

It's another Monday and time for another Joke to Start the Week. Today's jokester is Mickey Greenblatt.

Marshal (Mickey) Greenblatt received degrees from Columbia (BA and BS in Flight Sciences), a DC from Von Karman Institute (1963) and his PhD from Princeton in Aerospace Sciences. He worked as a researcher for NASA and the Naval Research Laboratory. 

With four other scientists, he founded Fusion Systems Corporation, which invented microwave-powered UV lamps for drying coatings. He founded and served on the boards of technology companies and is active in volunteer work. He served on the executive committee of the Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington for many years.

Mickey also loves Jewish jokes and sent us this one to share with you. It's an oldie but goodie. Here's the setup: It was a terrible rainy, cold, windy night. The streets were deserted. The baker was trying to close his store when in walked a little old man. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Yiddish Word of the Day: Young Children's Games

As people continue to spend their days and evenings at home, due to coronavirus social distancing restrictions, the Forverts has launched a 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 last 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 we'll look at Yiddish words for young children's games.

Enjoy! 

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Friday, January 8, 2021

Welcoming Shabbat with Adon Olam Sung to "Feed the Birds" by Marc Joseph and Mosaic Voices

It's another erev Shabbat and today we're posting our 65th version of Adon Olam.

This version of Adon Olam is sung by Marc Joseph and the Mosaic Voices choir. The arrangement is by Composer-in-Residence Benjamin Till. The melody was written by the Sherman Brothers for the song Feed the Birds that was sung by Julie Andrews in the movie Mary Poppins.

Mosaic Voices, founded by its Musical Director, Michael Etherton, is a professional a cappella choir dedicated to performing, preserving and commissioning new music from the Jewish tradition. It is the resident choir of one of Europe's most beautiful synagogues, the New West End Synagogue in Bayswater, London. 

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

Throwback Thursday Entertainment Special: Bonanza's Jewish Connections (1959-1973)

From 1959 to 1973 Bonanza, which featured the Cartwright family running their ranch in the old American West, became one of the most popular shows on television. The show was created by writer-producer David Dorters (born David Solomon Katz) to share Jewish values with the world.  

Dorters often said that the values he fused into Bonanza were Jewish values that he learned at home in Brooklyn from his father and his uncle Harry, who, known as Pancho's Jew, fought with the Mexican revolutionary fighter Pancho Villa.

Two of the leading actors in Bonanza were Jewish, as you'll see in this video about the series, posted on YouTube by Jewish Life Television (JLTV).

Enjoy!

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#Throwback Thursday    #TBT

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Genesis Prize Foundation Creates Film Tribute to Jews in Hollywood

The Genesis Prize Foundation created "Jews in Hollywood" to honor outstanding achievements by Jewish individuals in film, television, and theater. Because the Genesis Prize honors individuals for their extraordinary accomplishment in a particular field, The Foundation pays tribute to the field of the Laureate each year. 

"Jews in Hollywood" was debuted at the 2015 Genesis Prize Ceremony in honor of actor Michael Douglas. Some of the talent featured in the video includes: Barbra Streisand, Paul Newman, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Al Jolson, Kirk Douglas, Milos Forman, Steven, Spielberg, and many more.

The short film makes the point that the Jewish people are the heart and soul of every type of entertainment. It's who we are, born from a people who are storytellers.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Tumbalalaika Around the World: Chicago's Maxwell Street Klezmer Band

The Yiddish folk love song Tumbalalaika originated in Eastern Europe in the 19th century, but its exact origin is hard to pinpoint. That hasn't prevented it from being sung and played over and over, not only in places where Yiddish songs are sung, but just about everywhere in the world, in vocal and instrumental versions, in cabarets and in the movies.

Just as we have followed the songs Hava Nagila, Adon Olam, Hevenu Shalom Aleichem, and Abanibi as they took different forms as interpreted by a wide variety of singers, musicians, and dancers, we're continuing the series today that we started back in 2012, bringing you many interpretations of this universal courting and love song.

Today we're sharing a version of Tumbalalaika by Chicago's Maxwell Street Klezmer Band. Founded in 1983 by Lori Lippitz, it's named for Chicago's old Sunday morning Jewish marketplace. 

In the years since, Maxwell Street has become the Midwest's most popular klezmer band, touring seven times in Europe and performing throughout the U.S., including Carnegie Hall. Audiences of all backgrounds have been delighted by Maxwell Street's high-energy performances that glow with warmth and humor.

Enjoy!

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Monday, January 4, 2021

A Joke to Start the Week - "Write it Down"

It's another Monday and time for another Joke to Start the Week. This week we're posting a joke from Dr. Jay Orlikoff, a retired dentist from Centereach, New York, a community on Long Island in Suffolk County.

After a distinguished and meritorious dental career, he is shifting his focus to telling and posting jokes on YouTube. We were fortunate to find some of his jokes and we're sharing one of the family-friendly ones with you today. 

Here's the setup: A retired couple is sitting around one afternoon when the wife says to the husband "You know, I'm in the mood for ice cream." And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, January 3, 2021

Yiddish Word of the Day: Cake

As people continue to spend their days and evenings at home, due to coronavirus social distancing restrictions, the Forverts has launched a 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 we'll look at the many variations of cake, and a few proverbs to illustrate their use.

Enjoy! 

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Friday, January 1, 2021

Welcoming Shabbat with Adon Olam by the Cantors of New York's Central Synagogue

It's 2021 and we wish a Happy New Year to all of our readers and viewers. It's also erev Shabbat and it's time to welcome another Shabbat with our 64th version of Adon Olam, the hymn that ends the Shacharit service.

To see all 64 versions scroll down the left column to Keywords and click on Adon Olam.

Today we're sharing a version by the cantors of New York City's Central Synagogue.

Senior Cantor Daniel Mutlu is a first-generation American born to Turkish Jewish parents. Raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Cantor Mutlu attended the Yeshiva Academy Achei Tmimim where he forged a strong Jewish identity and a broad religious perspective.

Student Cantor Jenna McMillan is a fourth-year cantorial student from Wixom, Michigan. She graduated from University of Michigan with a bachelors in Judaic Studies and Anthropology. While at U of M, she worked at her home congregation, Temple Israel of West Bloomfield, lending her voice to their Kabbalat Shabbat and Shacharit services. 

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom! 

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