Sunday, March 26, 2023

Here Come the Passover Videos: A Dysfunctional Family Dayenu Parody by the Menschions

It's never too early to start posting funny Passover videos. With the first seder only ten days away, we're getting a jump start with an early entry from the Menschions, an online company that sells uniquely hilarious and heartfelt Jewish greeting cards and gifts for the holidays.

For this Pesach they posted an original Dysfunctional Family variation on Dayenu, one of the central songs from the Haggadah for seder night. 

Enjoy!

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Friday, March 24, 2023

Welcoming Shabbat with 'Yedid Nefesh" by Leah Shoshanah in Mexico's Yucatan Jungle

Tonight we're welcoming another Shabbat with a performance by Leah Shoshanah, a Chicago-based singer, songwriter & Jewish musician whose soulful, original music deftly navigates the folk, funk, rock and jazz genres.

Shoshanah's original music takes on a life of its own and has inspired audiences to sit spellbound, sing together, laugh, cry and dance.

Shoshanah has played on historic stages in Chicago, like the Old Town School of Folk Music, PianoForte, Martyrs’ and the Green Mill. She has played to audiences of thousands on tour in Germany, put on cabaret-style solo acts in underground neighborhood theaters, led musical meditations, and helped individuals and communities move through loss and celebrate life with song. 

In this video she sings Yedid Nefesh, a Piyyut (a Jewish liturgical poem), sung as part of the Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday evenings. It was filmed by Robin Manesky in the Yucatan Jungle, Mexico. The structure behind her is a Temescal (sweat lodge). Translation: Lover of my soul, merciful God, bring​ your servant close to Your will. Your servant will run like a gazelle, to prostrate​ before Your glory. For Your companion​ship is purer than any fine taste or flavor.

Enjoy!

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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Throwback Thursday Musical Showcase: Abbe Lane Sings with Xavier Cugat Orchestra in 1962

Abbe Lane (born Abigail Francine Lassman to Jewish parents in 1932) is an American singer and actress. Lane was known in the 1950s and 1960s for her revealing outfits and sultry style of performing. Her first marriage was as the fourth wife of Latin bandleader and musician Xavier Cugat, more than thirty years her senior. 

Because of her work in Europe, Lane was known as an actress before she became recognized for her singing and dancing. She had a television program in Europe and made 21 films there early in her career.

In 1952, she married bandleader Xavier Cugat. During the 1950s and early 1960s she worked as a nightclub singer and was described in a 1963 magazine article as "the swingingest sexpot in show business."Cugat's influence was seen in her music, which favored Latin and rumba styles. 

In this 1962 video from the Ed Sullivan Show, Lane sings I've Got a Lot of Livin' to Do, accompanied by Xavier Cugat and his orchestra.

Enjoy!

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     #Throwback Thursday      #TBT

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Showcase: A Candid Camera Classic - "Peter the Statue"

Candid Camera was an American hidden camera/practical joke reality television series created and produced by Allen Funt, which initially began on radio as The Candid Microphone on June 28, 1947. 

After a series of theatrical film shorts, also titled Candid Microphone, Funt's concept came to television on August 10, 1948, and continued into the 1970s. 

The show involved concealing cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, such as a desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed or a car with a hidden extra gas tank. When the joke was revealed, victims would be told the show's catchphrase, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera."

Peter Funt joined the show professionally in 1987 when he became a co-host with his father. During this time the show was being broadcast on the CBS television network. In 1993, Allen Funt had a serious stroke, from which he never fully recovered. This required Peter to host the show full-time. 

The show went through a few revivals. During his time on the show Peter was a producer, host and acted on the show. He also produced and hosted over 200 episodes.

But before Peter took over the show he had another role. At the age of 16, he posed as a Roman statue in an art gallery and managed to stay completely still while holding a spear. The reactions of people visiting and working in the gallery are hilarious.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: Khayelitsha Mambazo African Mens Choir sings Jewish Songs

Khayelitsha United Mambazo is an African choir from Cape Town, South Africa.  The 11-piece group aim to follow in the footsteps of their heroes and friends, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

In a recent concert they sang a medley of Hebrew songs including Hevenu Shalom Aleichem, Mekimi Meafar Dal, and Ki Va Moed.

Enjoy!

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Monday, March 20, 2023

A Joke to Start the Week - "Power Outage"

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: The other day we had a big thunderstorm --lightning and everything, and then the power went out. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, March 19, 2023

Another Story by Sol Krupnick - "Where is Sidney?"

Today Joel Gibbs is back in the role of Sol Krupnick telling one of his short stories. 

Gibbs is starring as Sol Krupnick in “Meet Sol Krupnick,” “an on-stage, theatrical, one-man-show” about a “Jewish kibitzer of undetermined (old) age who shares fun stories about his crazy family, tells classic jokes and offers ‘unique’ observations about the world around him.”

Or, in other words, the 70-year-old Jewish grandfather is performing a one-man show as himself.

Gibbs, a longtime congregant at Shir Ami in Newtown who still attends events at the synagogue, opened his show with a recent performance at KleinLife in Northeast Philadelphia. About 200 friends and family members came to show their support. But really, they came to laugh. As Gibbs said of the night, “I portrayed the character; I told the stories and jokes; the audience laughed a lot.”

Gibbs calls himself the “Man of a Thousand Voices.” He does more than 100 celebrity impressions and has worked on more than 40,000 projects worldwide, according to his press release. He partnered with Billy Crystal, Julie Andrews and other celebrities on the “Love the Arts in Philadelphia” campaign to promote the city’s cultural institutions.

Today we're sharing one of Sol's stories about his sister's search for Sidney.

Enjoy!

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Friday, March 17, 2023

Welcoming Shabbat with Shalom Aleichem at Congregation Beth Israel of San Diego

Purim is in the rear window and Pesach is coming up fast, but Shabbat comes every week. Each Friday we post a selection from the Shabbat liturgy to welcome Shabbat Hamalka, the Sabbath queen.

Today we're sharing a new version of Shalom Aleichem, from the Kabbalat Shabbat Friday night service, as sung at Congregation Beth Israel of San Diego, California.

Congregation Beth Israel, the historic center of Jewish life in San Diego, is an inclusive Reform congregation that offers a warm welcome and a nurturing home to all who seek a meaningful and enduring connection to Judaism.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, March 16, 2023

Throwback Thursday Musical Special: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Play "A Taste of Honey"

Today we're turning the calendar back to 1965 when American trumpeter Herb Alpert performed A Taste of Honey on the Ed Sullivan Show. He recorded five No. 1 albums among 28 albums on the Billboard chart; achieving 14 platinum albums and 15 gold albums; and earning nine Grammy Awards. He has sold 72 million records worldwide.

A native of California, Alpert is the son of Tillie (née Goldberg) and Louis Leib Alpert. His parents were Jewish immigrants to the U.S. from Radomyshl (in present-day Ukraine) and Romania. Alpert's philanthropic donations include the Louis and Tillie Alpert Music Center in Jerusalem, which brings together both Arab and Jewish Students.

At age 87, Alpert is still performing. He has concerts scheduled in 10 Canadian cities and in London in April, May, and June.

During a visit to Tijuana, Mexico, Alpert happened to hear a mariachi band while attending a bullfight. Following the experience, Alpert recalled that he was inspired to find a way to express musically what he felt while watching the wild responses of the crowd, and hearing the brass musicians introducing each new event with rousing fanfare. Alpert adapted the trumpet style to the tune, mixed in crowd cheers and other noises for ambience, and renamed the song "The Lonely Bull". In the US, "The Lonely Bull" was a hit  in 1962, peaking at #6 on the Hot 100.

Originally the Tijuana Brass was just Alpert overdubbing his own trumpet, slightly out of sync. By the end of 1964, because of a growing demand for live appearances by the Tijuana Brass, Alpert auditioned and hired a team of crack session men. 

The band debuted in 1965, and became one of the highest-paid acts then performing, having put together a complete revue that included choreographed moves and comic routines written by Bill ("José Jiménez") Dana.  

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Wacky Wednesday Comedy Special: A Drive-up Dilemma on Candid Camera

Candid Camera was an American hidden camera/practical joke reality television series created and produced by Allen Funt, which initially began on radio as The Candid Microphone on June 28, 1947. 

After a series of theatrical film shorts, also titled Candid Microphone, Funt's concept came to television on August 10, 1948, and continued into the 1970s. 

The show involved concealing cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, such as a desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed or a car with a hidden extra gas tank. When the joke was revealed, victims would be told the show's catchphrase, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera."

Peter Funt joined the show professionally in 1987 when he became a co-host with his father. During this time the show was being broadcast on the CBS television network. In 1993, Allen Funt had a serious stroke, from which he never fully recovered. This required Peter to host the show full-time. 

The show went through a few revivals. During his time on the show Peter was a producer, host and acted on the show. He also produced and hosted over 200 episodes. 

In this classic episode set in a Bob's Big Boy drive-thru restaurant, customers ordering a soda are handed an empty cup with instructions to park their car, go inside, and fill it themselves from a soda fountain. Their reactions are priceless.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Hava Nagila Around the World: A Klezmer Concert in Budapest, Hungary

Hava Nagila continues to be a favorite all over the world. Today we're posting our 116th version of this popular song, performed at a Klezmer festival last month in Budapest, Hungary.

Because the it got such an enthusiastic reception, there will be a repeat concert in the FMH Cultural Center in Budapest on April 16.

Enjoy!

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Monday, March 13, 2023

A Joke to Start the Week - "Shingles"

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: Big Bubba went into Doctor Kanofsky's office and went up to the receptionist and she asked Bubba what he had. He said "Shingles." And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, March 12, 2023

Remembering Chaim Topol: Iconic Israeli Actor, Singer, and illustrator

Last Thursday we lost one of the great Jewish entertainers of our time with the death of Chaim Topol at the age of 87 after a multi-year battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

He was best known for his role as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof — first in stage productions of the famed Shalom Aleichem musical in London and then later in the iconic film, before eventually returning to the stage with the role.

It was during the London run that he began being known by his last name only, as the English producers were unable to pronounce his first name.

As Amy Spiro wrote in the The Times of Israel,

Born in Tel Aviv in 1935, Topol began his acting career while completing his service in the army’s entertainment troupe where he met his wife, Galia. After his release, he joined a theater group, appearing in multiple productions before his first film role, the 1961 drama “I Like Mike.”

But it was his 1964 role in the film “Sallah Shabati” that first gained Topol serious attention, both domestically and internationally. Topol played the title role in the now-iconic film about the hardships of a Mizrahi immigrant family living in a transit camp.

In later years, Topol – who also wrote several books and illustrated several others – devoted himself to philanthropy, in particular as president of the Jordan River Village. The facility, which opened in 2012, runs a year-round camp in the Galilee for children living with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

 Topol illustrated approximately 25 books in both Hebrew and English. He also produced drawings of Israeli national figures. His sketches of Israeli presidents were reproduced in a 2013 stamp series issued by the Israel Philatelic Federation, as was his self-portrait as Tevye for 2014 commemorative stamp marking the 50th anniversary of the Broadway debut of Fiddler on the Roof.

Video clips from "Fiddler" are showing up all over the Internet, but today we'll share two clips showing other sides of Topol... singing Eli, Eli, the poem written by Hannah Senesh, on Yom Hashoah in Auschwitz-Birkenau on a March of the Living in 2012, and a scene from Sallah Shabati.

A memorial ceremony was held on Friday morning at the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv. Hundreds of people came to pay their respects in the ceremony in which Culture and Sport Minister Mikki Zohar, Rivka Michaeli, Oded Cutler, Gabi Armani and Topol's daughter Adi gave speeches.

Zohar said "His works will be remembered for ever, etched into Israeli culture."

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Friday, March 10, 2023

Welcoming Shabbat with a Traditional Lecha Dodi by Avraham Taylor and the Klezmorim Trio

Today we welcome Shabbat with a traditional version of Lecha Dodi, sung by Cantor Avraham Yaakov Taylor with the Klezmorim Trio from Krakow. The concert was performed in Mszana Dolna, Poland on February 7, 2023.

Klezmorim Trio is made up of musicians who share a passion for Jewish and Balkan klezmer music. Inspired by the Ashkenazi culture of the Galician diaspora, they take the audience to the musical world of pre-war shtetls.  

During their concerts, you can hear the most popular songs in Yiddish, as well as the stories of their creation. Klezmorim Trio has created a perfect combination of traditional Jewish melodies and contemporary, original arrangements, which gives an unforgettable effect, long remembered by listeners.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, March 9, 2023

Throwback Thursday Comedy Showcase: Jack Benny Asks Ed Sullivan How Much He Earns

In 1967 Jack Benny was a guest on the Ed Sullivan Show and they struck up a conversation with Benny asking Sullivan exactly what he did on his show. 

After confirming that Sullivan didn't sing, dance, act, or tell jokes, but just introduced the acts, he asked him how much he was paid for each appearance.

The answer, $800,000, would be $7.1 million in today's dollars. Not bad for introducing acts.

Enjoy!

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  #Throwback Thursday      #TBT

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

One More Day: Purim Celebrations in Jerusalem and Other Walled Cities Continue Today

What? Another day of Purim? If you live in Jerusalem, you're celebrating Purim today, the 15th of Adar.
 
The battles fought between the Jews and their enemies throughout the Persian empire took place on 13 Adar. Around the world, the Jews rested and celebrated on the following day—14 Adar. In the capital city of Shushan, however, where there were a greater number of Jew-haters, the fighting continued for two days, 13 and 14 Adar. The victory celebrations in Shushan were thus held on the 15th.
 
When the holiday of Purim was set for the 14th of Adar, the sages instituted that Shushan residents perpetually observe Purim on the 15th of Adar—the day when the Shushanite Jews celebrated. The 15th of Adar is hence known as Shushan Purim.
 
Along with Shushan (which is located in modern-day southwestern Iran), all cities that were walled at the time when the Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, entered Canaan, observe Purim on the 15th.

 
Today, the only city that we are certain had walls in Joshua’s times is Jerusalem. And indeed, in the holy city, Purim is festively celebrated one day after all other cities. There are a number of other ancient cities in Israel, such as Jaffa and Tiberias, regarding which there is a reasonable doubt whether they were walled in Joshua’s times. These cities observe two days of Purim. 

Here's a report from Israel TV on yesterday's celebrations all over Israel.

Chag Sameach!

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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Happy Purim to Everyone! Here's the Purim Story in Rhyme by Rabbi Art Gould

Purim is finally here. After days of anticipation and getting in the mood with Purim music videos, we read Megillat Esther last night and head for a second reading this morning.

But we're always on the lookout for interesting and unusual takes on the basic Purim story. We found one posted on YouTube by Miriam Anzovin. It's the story written in rhyme by Rabbi Art Gould.

Miriam Anzovin is a writer, visual artist, and TikTok creator, exploring the juxtaposition of pop culture, nerd culture, and Jewish culture. Her work as a Jewish learning influencer and content creator encourages her audience to engage with Jewish literature, history, and tradition in creative and dynamic ways authentic to each individual, no matter their level of knowledge, belief, or observance.

Enjoy!

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Monday, March 6, 2023

Here Come the Purim Videos: Rabbi Jaclyn Cohen Sings "Jews", a Parody of the Hip-Hop Song "Juice"

Chag Purim Sameach! This year, Temple Isaiah of Los Angeles’ contribution to the Purim parody video canon is a celebration of our Jewishness: a joyful and whole-hearted message of love for our diverse, extraordinary Jewish community. 

Jaclyn Cohen, Associate Rabbi of Temple Isaiah, offers a response to the Hamans of this world is by taking pride in our tradition, culture & rituals, raising them up high and sharing them far & wide.She takes the lead in Jews, a Jewish version of the song Juice, popularized by singer Melissa Jefferson (known as Lizzo). 

Enjoy!

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Sunday, March 5, 2023

Celebrating Purim in Houston with the World's Biggest Gragger

Everything is bigger in Texas, and celebrating Purim in Houston is no exception.  

One of twelve Houston branches of Chabad Lubavitch of Texas, Chabad of Uptown is located in the heart of the trendy Uptown area, near the Galleria, River Oaks and Memorial areas, offering Shabbat services, classes, holiday programs, a vibrant young professionals group and a Mommy and Me program among other outreach activities. 

Rabbi Chaim Lazaroff, who leads Chabad of Uptown with his wife Chanie, appeared on Houston's Fox 26 Morning Show to explain Purim to the TV audience and to demonstrate the use of the world's biggest gragger.

Enjoy!

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Friday, March 3, 2023

Welcoming Shabbat with Udi Ullmann and a Multicultural Version of Lecha Dodi

Udi Ullmann's latest music video Lecha Dodi: Different But United lets us experience what Shabbat prep and celebration looks and feels like as Udi takes us on a magical musical journey through the ages as we see what true unity looks like. 

The video, produced by Meir Kay, sets the words of Lecha Dodi to the music of Country Roads and Sweet Caroline.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

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Thursday, March 2, 2023

Just Published in Time for Purim: The Kustanowitz Kronikle - 35 Years of Purim Parody

The festival of Purim is only four days away. We read the Megillah next Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Every Purim for the past 35 years we have published a Purim parody edition of The Kustanowitz Kronikle, covering virtually every aspect of Jewish life, and including parodies of hundreds of popular movies. 

This year we decided to retire the series and capture all the fun in a book that's just been published and is available at Amazon.com. It has every Purim issue of The Kustanowitz Kronikle from 1988 through 2022 in a full-color, full-size paperback book with hilarious headline stories and parody movie picks.

Here are a few examples:

TRUMP, NETANYAHU SWAP ROLES, COUNTRIES

NEW TALMUD VOLUME "VOTIN" FOUND IN IRAQ; JOINS "FRESSIN", "NAPPIN", TANTZEN","PATCHEN"

"JUDAICARE" PROGRAM PLANNED TO ENSURE THAT ALL JEWS HAVE SYNAGOGUE MEMBERSHIP

RABBIS CREATE TALMUD AMERICANI; NEW LAWS EXTEND HALACHA TO THANKSGIVING AND JULY 4

JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS WORLDWIDE UNITE TO STOP GLOBAL WARMING; FOCUS ON REDUCING HOT AIR

RABBIS TO REQUIRE SHECHITA FOR MANY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES 

TRUMP TEMPLE TENPLEX TO UNITE ALL NEW YORK SYNAGOGUE DENOMINATIONS IN HUGE MEGA-MALL

It's a great gift for yourself and for the hosts of your Purim seudah. And it's selling for only $5.99 with free shipping if you're an Amazon Prime member.

Happy Purim to all of our readers!

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Here Come the Purim Parody Videos: JTS Performers in a Cover of "Be Our Guest" from "Beauty and the Beast"

Purim is almost here. Next Monday evening we read Megillat Esther. We'll be watching for a new crop of Purim parody videos and share the best ones with you over the next few days.

In the meantime we're posting some of the best ones from last year that didn't reach us in time to share with you.

Here's one of a series of Purim parodies by performers from List College and the JTS Rabbinical and Cantorial schools. It's a parody of Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast. This video premiered at the 2022 JTS Purim Spiel on March 16th, 2022. 

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Comedy Classics: Jerry Seinfeld as a Frustrated High School History Teacher on Saturday Night Live

In a Saturday Night Live sketch in 1992, Jerry Seinfeld played a high school history teacher who struggles to get his students to recall basic facts about European history. The teacher eventually gives up, realizing that his students are even ignorant about the existence of Nazis.

In the sketch, Seinfeld is joined by fellow comedians Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and David Spade.

Enjoy!

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Monday, February 27, 2023

A Joke to Start the Week - "Second Honeymoon"

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.

Last November, Novak retold the joke, along with many others, in an hour-long webinar sponsored by Moment Magazine called Election Day 2022: Jewish Jokes Edition. 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: Ruth, a prim and proper widow in her mid-seventies is introduced to Mort, also widowed and a couple of years older. After a brief and chaste courtship, they decide to marry. 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 THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.