Thursday, February 25, 2021

Six13 and 22 a Cappella Groups Sing "Al Hanissim" as Purim Starts Tonight

No collection of Jewish holiday music videos would be complete without an entry from Six13, an a cappella group that has produced videos for Chanukah, Rosh Hashana, and Passover. In previous years we posted many of their Jewish music videos.

Miracles never cease! Al Hanissim is a text sung on Purim and Chanukah, two of the many holidays on which we thank God for the miracles performed for us. 

In this video, Six13 is joined by over 300 a cappella singers from 22 ensembles around the world singing an updated version of one of their signature songs. The ensembles are listed below the video.

Enjoy! Chag Purim Sameach!

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Featuring: 
The Alef Beats | Brown University 
Ani V'ata | NYU 
The Chaimonics | Muhlenberg College 
Flatbush Chamber Choir | Yeshivah of Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY 
The Golden Ochtaves | Golda Och Academy, West Orange, NJ 
The Heschel Half Notes | The Heschel School, New York, NY 
The Heschel Harmonizers | The Heschel School, New York, NY 
Jewkebox | Temple University 
Kaskeset | Binghamton University 
Ketzev | Johns Hopkins University 
Kol Halayla | Rutgers University 
KOLture Shock | Jerusalem, Israel 
The Maccabeats | New York, NY 
Manginah | Brandeis University 
The Mazel Tones | Wesleyan University 
Oy Cappella | Syracuse University 
Ramaz Chamber Choir | The Ramaz School, New York, NY 
The Shabbatones | University of Pennsylvania 
Shir Appeal | Tufts University 
Shir Rhythm | Temple Israel, Sharon, MA 
Tizmoret | Queens College 
Varsity Jews | Toronto, ON

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Rabbis Extend Talmud Americani to Include New Tractates Related to Coronavirus (A Purim Spoof)

This year Purim starts with the reading of Megillat Esther Thursday night. It is read again Friday morning, February 26. We wish a Happy Purim to all of our Jewish Humor Central readers. We hope you enjoy this special Purim spoof from the Purim 2021 issue of The Kustanowitz Kronikle. Print it and share it at your Purim Seudah.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Countdown to Purim: With 2 Days to Go, It's a Mamma Mia Purim Shpiel!

With the reading of Megillat Esther only two days away, we only have time to share one Purim Shpiel. We're sharing  the production just posted by Congregation Tifereth Israel of Glen Cove, New York. 

On Friday we posted their Blowin' in the Wind version of Adon Olam featuring their chazzan and rabbi. Now we find that their congregants are also talented actors and singers, if a bit off-key.

They managed to pull off a rather accurate version of the story of Purim, although they seem to have a distaste for capital punishment. What makes the play unique is the lyrics, which are the rewritten words of the songs of ABBA as sung in the play and movie Mamma Mia.

Enjoy!

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Monday, February 22, 2021

Countdown to Purim: With 3 Days to Go, Mayim Bialik Gives Her Colorful Synopsis of the Holiday

Some people know her as Amy Farrah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory or as Blossom​, but Mayim Bialik is also a​ neuroscientist, ​mom, and a self-proclaimed aspiring “super Jew!” Here she is to break down what you need to know about the Jewish holiday, Purim, which starts this Thursday evening.

Mayim colors her synopsis of the story behind the holiday with 9 very short video clips from popular films, TV sitcoms and cartoons. Can you guess where they're from?

Enjoy!

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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Here Come the Purim Videos: Rabotai a Cappella Sings "Girls Like You" Purim Parody

Purim is almost here, with the reading of Megillat Esther this Thursday evening February 25. We're on the lookout for new Purim videos and we'll share with you any good ones that we find.

Rabotai, (meaning gentlemen) is a fresh and exciting Jewish a cappella group comprised of energetic vocal talent and professional beatboxing. 

Coming from different corners of the world, its members found each other in Israel, where they are rapidly becoming a sought after group to entertain audiences big and small. They specialize in mixing classical Jewish songs with modern pop.

In this video, the first Purim video we're posting this year, Rabotai turns the pop song Girls Like You by Maroon 5 into a song of praise for all Jewish girls like Queen Esther.

"Girls like her 
Show what a Jew can be
Comes down to what you do
You can be Esther too 

Cause girls like her
Throughout our history
Always come through
Show what a girl can do"
 
Rabotai is dedicating this song to our Women of Valour in Am Yisrael!  "Just like Hashem saved the Jews in the days of Achashverosh, thanks to Esther's actions, we see countless times in our history, that thanks to strong, courageous women we have been saved many times!"

Enjoy!

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(A tip of the kippah to Andrea Shustarich for bringing this video to our attention.)

Friday, February 19, 2021

Welcoming Shabbat with Adon Olam (Blowin' in the Wind) from Glen Cove's Congregation Tifereth Israel

Congregation Tifereth Israel is the oldest continuously operating Jewish congregation on Long Island, with roots traced back to the Civil War era. Located in Glen Cove, on Long Island's North Shore, it is led by Rabbi Irwin Huberman, a graduate of the Academy of Jewish Religion, a rabbinical seminary that embraces all Jewish denominations.

Its cantor is Gustavo Gitlin who moved with his family to Glen Cove from Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2003. He comes from a family of musicians and his grandfather was a cantor.

In this version of Adon Olam set to Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind, Cantor Gitlin and Rabbi Huberman are joined by Phil White on the banjo.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Norm Crosby Roasts Kirk Douglas in 1973

Norm Crosby, a Jewish comedian from Boston, was known mainly as a master of malaprops that he integrated into his comedy routines. 

Crosby became a frequent guest on TV talk and variety shows, including Dean Martin’s, and subsequently was a perfect choice as a regular roaster on the hugely popular Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts of the ‘70s, writing lines like: “Wilt Chamberlain is an insulation to young people all over the world. Wherever he appears, after every game the kids give him a standing ovulation.”

In this video clip from a 1973 roast of Kirk Douglas, Crosby delivers a steady stream of malapropisms while praising Douglas for his achievements as an actor.

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Special: A Classic Buddy Hackett Joke with Johnny Carson

When it came to wacky comedy, no comedian could come close to Buddy Hackett. Whether you encountered hm in a nightclub, on television, or in his hilarious movies, Buddy had the talent to make you roll on the floor laughing. 

One of his favorite haunts was the Johnny Carson Show, where he made many appearances. There was always a tension between Buddy and Johnny, with Johnny nervous about how close Buddy's joke would be to going over the line where clean comedy ended.

In this appearance on the Carson show, Buddy delivered one of his classic jokes, "I'll do anything for $200."

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Yiddish Word of the Day - The Writer

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 writers, a highly esteemed profession among Yiddish speakers in Eastern Europe. There's more than one word to describe many aspects of writing.

Enjoy! 

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Monday, February 15, 2021

A Joke to Start the Week - "Lucky in Love"

It's another Monday, and time for 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: Goldstein goes to see his local rabbi and says "Rabbi, I want you give me some advice. I'm very very lovesick. I'm so much in love with Sadie down the road, and I would like to marry her." And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, February 14, 2021

On Valentine's Day, Four Israeli-American Jewish Couples Share Cutural Differences

Today is Valentine's Day, not a Jewish holiday but one that is celebrated by many Jews.

In today's post, four Jewish couples that are half American and half Israeli, share their feelings about cultural differences that they encountered and how they show love in very different ways.

There always have been mixed feelings in the Jewish world about celebrating this day which originally was named in honor of Valentine, a Christian saint. And today, you can find opinions from rabbis of all Jewish denominations that approve and disapprove of its observance.

We did some searching and found that despite some views that the holiday is foreign to Judaism and should be avoided, there are a growing number of opinions, even in the Orthodox world, that not only should the holiday be observed, but that it should be embraced.

As Rabbi Benjamin Blech, professsor of Talmud at Yeshiva University, has written about Valentine's Day on the aish.com website
As Jews, we may not be sure whether it's proper for us to join the party. After all, for the longest time the full name of this holiday was “St. Valentine's Day” because of its legendary link with the apocryphal story of one of the earliest Christian saints. Yet academics aren't the only ones who have recognized the dubious historical basis of this connection. Vatican II, the landmark set of reforms adopted by the Catholic Church in 1969, removed Valentine's Day from the Catholic church's calendar, asserting that "though the memorial of St. Valentine is ancient… apart from his name nothing is known… except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on 14 February."
What's left for this day, as proponents of its universal celebration declare, is something that people of all faiths may in good conscience observe: A day in which to acknowledge the power of love to make us fully human.
When I am asked as a rabbi if I think it's a good idea for Jews to celebrate Valentine's Day, my standard answer is, "Yes, we should celebrate love… every day of the year."

Enjoy!

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Friday, February 12, 2021

Welcoming Shabbat with Shalom Aleichem by South Africa's Temple Israel Neshama Band

In 1944 a group of visionaries founded the first Progressive Jewish Congregation in Cape Town, South Africa.  77 years later, Temple Israel includes three beautiful synagogues, a professional team, a strong lay leadership and more than 3000 members crisscrossing the Cape Peninsula.  

In this socially distanced video, the members of the Temple Israel Neshama Band welcome Shabbat with Shalom Aleichem from the Friday night service.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase - Sid Caesar in "The Garbage Sketch" on Your Show of Shows

It's Throwback Thursday again, and today we're turning the clock back more than 60 years to revisit the antics of Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, and Howard Morris in a performance of The Garbage Sketch, which plays out in a courtroom scene.

No date is available for this sketch, which has only been released on very rare out of print VHS/Betamax tapes. It's from Your Show of Shows, a TV show that was aired from 1950 to 1954.

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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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Corner: Nir, the Know-it-All Israeli, on Dealing with an American Wife

Modi Rosenfeld, who does stand-up comedy as Modi, has developed a cast of characters whom he inhabits and whose persona he assumes for our enjoyment. One of his characters is Yoely, the Chasid who ran for president last year on the Heimishe Party line and whose campaign videos we shared with you.

His most recent character is the Israeli know-it-all named Nir (not far) who has opinions on just about everything. Whenever he mentions an Israeli name, he always puts it in a funny context, likening it to an English expression. For example, when he mentions his friend Oded, he interjects (alive or dead).

We found a collection of his Israeli insights into the complexities of life in America, and we'll bring them to you from time to time. Today Nir (not far) explains why Israeli men shouldn't bother teaching Hebrew to their American wives.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Jimmy Kimmel Plays "Jewish Holiday or Prescription Medication" with His Late Night Audience

Late night show host Jimmy Kimmel likes to play guessing games with his audience by going out into the street and asking questions of random people. 

In December Kimmel ventured outside his studio and asked a contestant to guess if a word he pronounced was a Jewish holiday or a prescription medication.

How do you think Tu Bishvat, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Purim, and Tisha B'Av were identified? Jewish holiday or prescription medication? Watch the video to find out!

Enjoy!

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Monday, February 8, 2021

A Joke to Start the Week - "A Powerless Alternative"

It's another Monday and time for another Joke to Start the Week. Today Mickey Greenblatt is back with another good one.

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. Here's the setup: We had a power outage at my house the other day. My PC, the laptop, the TV, the iPad, the sound system -- everything was shut down. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, February 7, 2021

Yiddish Word of the Day: Hair

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 hair, including a surprise word for red hair, and also some phrases and proverbs relating to hair.

Enjoy! 

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Friday, February 5, 2021

Welcoming Shabbat with Oseh Shalom by the Ramatayim Men's Choir

Late in 1995, four enthusiasts gathered in the Ramot suburb of Jerusalem, to sing choral music they recalled from synagogue services in their youth. 
 
Since then the choir has grown to 40 choristers, native Israelis and Olim from 4 continents who share a love of the great tradition of Jewish liturgical music and of singing together.
 
The choir appears regularly at concert halls and synagogues throughout Israel. Their list of approximately 250 performances includes appearances alongside some of the finest cantors in the world as well as artists in different genres. They have appeared in concert with the Israel Symphonette Orchestra on national television and radio and have also performed at the residence of the President of Israel.

The choir's repertoire consists mainly of Jewish liturgical music and includes Chassidic and Israeli songs, pop, opera and folk music. All activities are performed on a voluntary basis. They perform regularly in support of various Israeli and Jewish charitable and social causes. A distinctive feature of the choir's activity is their active collaboration with ensembles of the same genre, inaugurating and hosting joint concerts in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The choir's name derives from Ramatayim-Tzofim, in the hill country of Ephraim, birthplace of Samuel the Prophet, mentioned in the Book of Samuel 1 (1:1) and associated with the suburb Ramot, Jerusalem.
 
In this video they sing Oseh Shalom, the closing sentence of the Kaddish and the Amidah. The choir is conducted by director Richard Shavei-Tzion. This performance was at the Keren Malki 7th Annual Concert at The Jerusalem Performing Arts Festival in the Jerusalem Theatre in 2018.
 
Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!
 
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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Tumbalalaika Around the World - Bulgarian Version With Different Words by Greta Gancheva

One of the joys in sharing so many versions of old folk songs is in receiving new old versions from our readers. Here's one from Bulgaria sent to us by Henry Goldberg. 

What's unique about it is that it's the only one of the 16 versions that we've posted that has a different set of lyrics. The singer is Greta Gancheva. Here is the English translation:

Tumbalala, tumbalala, tumbalalaika, tumbalala, tumbalala, tumbalala. 

Sing, balalaika, sing, balalaika, the wonderful song about love.

An old gypsy woman smokes a pipe and remembers her youth - 

How she played with the balalaika the wonderful song about love.

She lived in poverty alone with the dreams of youth.

Lovers met around the world, she sang the song to them with joy.

She talked a lot about love, warmed many hearts around the world.

But she did not reveal to anyone, the wonderful secret of love.

 Enjoy!

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