Friday, April 16, 2021

Welcoming Shabbat with a Mariachi Version of Lecha Dodi by Cantor Gaston Bogomolni

Argentinean-born Cantor Gastón Bogomolni of the Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus in North Miami Beach is a versatile, soulful, and energetic edu-tainer and performer.  

Prior to his arrival to the US in 2002, Cantor Gastón worked and organized multiple Jewish events in the Dominican Republic, Europe, and South America. 

Cantor Gastón’s embracing of Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Neo-Hassidic, Renewal, Latin and Folk background allow him to create a unique spiritual experience when davening at shul.

Back in 2004 Cantor Gastón got a special gift to record the album of his dreams: a Latin-Jewish recording. Each song in the album was crafted and designed to have a connection between the text of the liturgy and the special Latin American style. 

Lecha Dodi was set to a Ranchera style (from Mexico) having in mind that a group of Mariachis would be welcoming and serenading the Bride and Queen of Shabbat.

Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Happy Israel Independence Day! Taking a Quick Tour of Israel on its 73rd Birthday

Today is Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's 73rd birthday. It's a day for festivities and barbecues all over the country. It commemorates the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948. In Israel, it's celebrated with fireworks, barbecues, and public concerts. 

The Aardvark Israel organization has produced a video tour of Israel as experienced by participants in its gap year programs located in the two most exciting cities in Israel: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. 

Its students have the privilege to live in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, travel with new friends from Israel and around the world, walk the city streets, hike the desert hills, speak Hebrew, and intern at their dream companies.

Happy Independence Day to Israelis and lovers of Israel around the world!

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Special: Shecky Greene on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1959

Last week comedian Shecky Greene celebrated his 95th birthday. Greene (born Fred Sheldon Greenfield on April 8, 1926) is known for his nightclub performances in Las Vegas, where he has been a headliner for more than thirty years. 

He has appeared in several films, including Tony Rome, History of the World, Part I and Splash, and has guest starred on such television shows as Mad About You, Laverne & Shirley, Love, American Style, and Combat!

In 1959 Greene appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. After bantering with Sullivan about his real name being Shmoyel Greenfield, Greene launches into a routine about the great European composers, complete with German and French accents reminiscent of sketches by Sid Caesar.

The sketch includes a scene that you wouldn't see on network TV today, with Sullivan and Greene lighting up and smoking cigarettes.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: "Rad Halaila" Hora Dance in Valladolid, Spain

You wouldn't expect Rad Halaila, a classic Israeli hora dance, to show up in a courtyard in Valladolid, a city in northwest Spain about 100 miles from Madrid. But it had so much appeal to the Valladolid World Dance Association that they adopted the name Radalaila for their dance group. 

Rad Halaila is a hora in which the dancers move individually to the right, describing a circle and entering and leaving it. It is a very energetic dance.

Enjoy!

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Monday, April 12, 2021

A Joke to Start the Week - "The Worriers of Chelm"

It's Monday again, and time for another Joke to Start the Week. 

Today we're sharing one of the classic jokes told by William Novak, co-author with Moshe Waldoks of The Big Book of Jewish Humor.

On January 5, Novak retold the joke, along with many others, in an hour-long webinar sponsored by Moment Magazine called What's so Funny About Jewish Humor. The session was recorded and includes many more jokes, which we will share with you in the coming weeks.

Novak has since written another book titled Die Laughing: Killer Jokes for Newly Old Folks, which is filled with many more jokes that will keep you laughing for a long time.

Here's the setup for today's joke: In the Polish town of Chelm, The people of Chelm were worriers. And they worried that they were too worried. So they came up with a solution. They appointed one man, Yossel, who would do all the worrying for the town. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Fiddler Cast Sings "God Bless America" in Yiddish

Lisa Fishman and Ben Liebert, members of the cast of the Off-Broadway hit, "Fiddler on the Roof" in Yiddish, conceived and co-produced a performance of "God Bless America" sung in Yiddish. It features the show's director, Academy and Tony Award-winning actor, Joel Grey, along with Steven Skybell, who starred as Tevye. Yiddish was one of the two native tongues of Irving Berlin, who wrote the iconic anthem.

“God Bless America” was originally written in 1918 for a musical revue by Irving Berlin, a Jewish immigrant born Israel Beilin, while Berlin was in the U.S. Army. Deciding the song didn’t fit the tone of the revue, the song was set aside. 

Twenty years later in 1938 with the rise of Adolf Hitler and fascism, Berlin revisited and revised the song and released it as a prayer for the country and a patriotic song of peace. “God Bless America” was introduced on an Armistice Day broadcast in 1938, sung by Kate Smith. 

The Yiddish version of the song being presented by the cast, entitled “Got Bentsh Amerike,” was originally translated by producer, musicologist, performer and Yiddish Radio Project co-creator, Henry Sapoznik, who worked on Yiddish translations for Mandy Patinkin’s album, Mamaloshen.  

The video features Steven Skybell, the award-winning actor who played Tevye in Fiddler in Yiddish, along with Jennifer Babiak, Samantha Hahn, Ben Liebert, Stephanie Lynne Mason, Rosie Jo Neddy, Raquel Nobile, Drew Seigla, and Rachel Zatcoff. The production also includes a special message by  Joel Grey. 

Additional Fiddler cast members appearing in the video (from both the Museum of Jewish Heritage production along with the Off-Broadway, Stage 42 production) include: Joanne Borts, Josh Dunn, Michael Einav, Lisa Fishman, Kirk Geritano, John Giesige, Lydia Gladstone, Abby Goldfarb, Mary Illes, Josh Kohane, Maya Jacobson, Moshe Lobel, Evan Mayer, Jonathan Quigley, Nick Raynor, Bruce Sabath, Kayleen Seidl, Adam B. Shapiro, Jodi Snyder, James Monroe Stevko, Ron Tal, Bobby Underwood, and Mikhl Yashinsky. 

The video also features Lauren Thomas, who played the titular role in Fiddler, on violin, along with the show’s clarinetist, Zisl Slepovitch, on piano. 

Enjoy!

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A tip of the kippah to Stan Lieberman for bringing this video to our attention.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Welcoming Shabbat with Lecha Dodi with a Special Melody for the Days of the Omer

With Pesach in the rear view mirror, we return to our regular Friday posting of liturgical melodies from the Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat services. 

This week we came across a version of Lecha Dodi with a melody that's used only for the days between Pesach and Shavuot, the days of counting the Omer. 

It's sung by Hazzan Elisheva Dienstfrey. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Hazzan Dienstfrey is the cantor at Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to her usual cantorial duties at Agudas Achim, Hazzan Dienstfrey has been a member of the Executive Council of the Cantors Assembly, and an enthusiastic leader of the Agudas Achim house band, Ein Lanu Z’man (www.einlanuzman.com), We Have No Time.

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, April 8, 2021

Marking Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - with the Theme from "Schindler's List"

There are very few days in the year when we don't post jokes or funny anecdotes, and today is one of them.  

Tonight and tomorrow we commemorate Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. It's not a day for Jewish humor, but it can be and should be a day to recognize acts of bravery and compassion of Jews and non-Jews who saved lives in those troubled days of the 20th century.

The essence of heroic resistance was captured in Steven Spielberg's 1993 film Schindler's List and the haunting theme that recurs during the film.

This recording of the Schindler's List theme was made for the 2021 Rochester Jewish Federation Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance ceremony. Due to Covid safety rules, the event was moved fully online this year. The performers are Shannon Nance, Assistant Concert Master in the Rochester Philharmonic and Bob Sneider, Jazz Guitar Professor at the Eastman School of Music.  

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Language App Duolingo Gives Free Bagel and Schmear to Customers Who Order in Yiddish

In celebration of the addition of Yiddish to their popular most downloaded education app worldwide—Duolingo partnered with bagel shops in five cities to offer a free bagel yesterday to anyone who attempted to order the Jewish dietary staple in the Yiddish dialect. And of course, these bagels came with a free schmear because, just like the word bagel, the term schmear also comes from Yiddish.

To order, customers had to give their best attempt at saying 'Ken ikh hubn a baygl mit shmirkeyz' or in English, 'I would like a bagel with schmear,'" the announcement explained. But even customers who were close enough were given a free breakfast from Duolingo.

The five participating shops were:

  • New York City: Katz's Deli (205 E Houston St.)
  • Los Angeles: Factor's Famous Deli (420 W Pico Blvd.)
  • Chicago: Manny's Cafeteria & Deli (1141 S Jefferson St.)
  • Miami: Zak The Baker (295 NW 26th St.)
  • Pittsburgh: Pigeon Bagels (5613 Hobart St.)

Yiddish is the 40th language Duolingo offers, and the company says that though Yiddish was once spoken by as many as 13 million people, around 600,000 still speak the traditionally Ashkenazi Jewish language to this day. "Yiddish is spoken all around the world, and even if you've never heard of the language before, we bet you probably already know some Yiddish words," the company wrote.

Here's a report from a local New York TV station on the morning action at Katz's Deli.

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, April 6, 2021

Yiddish Comedians Walk into a Zoom: Allen Lewis Rickman and Yelena Shmulenson in a Classic Comedy Routine

Last July the Forward posted some Jewish comedy in their series #ForwardFocus: Talks in Trying Times. Hosted by Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter, the session included a sketch by Yiddish actors Allen Lewis Rickman and Yelena Shmulenson. 

The setup for the sketch: A Jewish immigrant who is fond of cantorial music overhears a conversation about a new cantor named Yankel who is performing in the Bronx. He rushes onto the subway to hear his concert. Of course there is no cantor -- what he thought he heard as Yankel was really the Yankees who were playing a baseball game in Yankee Stadium. 

Rickman acts out the role of the immigrant who knows nothing about baseball and is excited to be swept up in what he thinks is an enthusiastic crowd for the cantor but is just Yankee fans headed for the stadium. He spins his story entirely in Yiddish, with Shmulenson translating sentence by sentence into English.

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.

Monday, April 5, 2021

A Joke to Start the Week - "Real Estate Empire"

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:  Morris Schwartz is on his deathbed. He's with his nurse, his wife, his daughter and his two sons. And then...

Enjoy!

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Friday, April 2, 2021

Moroccan Jews Celebrate the End of Passover with Mimouna Festival

This weekend marks the end of Passover. In Israel this Shabbat is the last day of the holiday, and in the rest of the world Pesach ends on Sunday night.

If you're like us, you'll spend the night putting away Pesach dishes and restoring the kitchen to the way it was before five pound boxes of matza and all the other Passover stuff found its way into the house.

But Jews of Moroccan and North African origin have a fun way of ending the holiday by celebrating the Mimouna festival just as Passover ends, continuing into the next day. With singing, dancing, and a dazzling array of sweet pastries, it's catching on in Israel and spreading into mainstream Israeli culture.

In Morocco, neighbors travel to each other’s houses, and it is customary to leave all doors open to welcome any possible guests. Tables are laden with symbols to ensure a good year: blossoming spring flowers, fish for abundance and fertility, and dates sweetened with honey to inspire an equally sweet life. The next day, festivities continue with barbecues, picnics, and large gatherings.

Let's join a Mimouna festival that Israel TV reported on last year. We wish you a happy ending to the week of Pesach. We'll be observing two days of Yom Tov so Jewish Humor Central is taking a break until Monday when we'll be back with our usual mix, including a Joke to Start the Week.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Throwback Thursday Comedy Special: Smith and Dale Argue About a Bargain on The Ed Sullivan Show

It's another Throwback Thursday and today we're turning the clock back 69 years to 1952 for a skit that Smith and Dale performed on The Ed Sullivan Show.

In this skit Smith and Dale argue about a $2.85 bargain radio on sale at Gimbels department store.

Joe Smith (originally Joseph Seltzer) and Charlie Dale (originally Charles Marks) grew up in the Jewish ghettos of New York City. Many of the famous comic performers of vaudeville, radio and movies came from the same place and the same era, including Gallagher and Shean, George Burns, Eddie Cantor, George Jessel and The Marx Brothers. 

Seltzer and Marks met as teenagers in 1898 and formed a partnership. They named their act "Smith and Dale" because a local printer gave them a good deal on business cards reading "Smith and Dale" (intended for a vaudeville team that had dissolved). Joe Seltzer became Joe Smith, and Charlie Marks became Charlie Dale.

During the 1920s, they became famous for their signature sketch "Doctor Kronkheit and His Only Living Patient," which like "Who's on First?" for Abbott and Costello, became one of the famous comedy sketches of the 20th century. The name of the doctor is an inside joke: Smith and Dale, both being Jewish, named the physician Kronkheit, which is Yiddish and German for "sickness". Thus we have a doctor named "Dr. Sickness". Indeed a hospital in German is called a Krankenhaus, or literally "sick house".

Enjoy!

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