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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 27, 2009 / 4 Sivan 5769

Old Jews Telling Jokes

By Richard Z. Chesnoff


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A Frenchman, a German and a Jew walk into a bar.
"I'm tired and thirsty," says the Frenchman. "I must have wine."
"I'm tired and thirsty," says the German. "I must have beer."
"I'm tired and thirsty," says the Jew. "I must have diabetes."

I have long been convinced that two things have allowed we Jews to survive for almost four thousand years and outlive our long list of enemies in the process: religious faith and a burning desire to tell jokes, especially the self deprecating kind.

This Jewish thirst for humor migrated readily from the ghettos of Europe to the great Yiddish comic theater that thrived on New York's Lower Eastside. It moved on to the Catskills, to Broadway and soon became ensconced in Hollywood where it goes from strength to strength. Its rapid, raucous delivery style gave birth to the likes of Eddie Cantor and the Marx Brothers, influencing American humor all the way to Jon Stewart and Andy Samberg - not to mention Sid Caeser, Jerry Lewis, Woody Allen, Rodney Dangerfield, Jerry Seinfeld and scores of others in between. Time magazine once estimated that while Jews made up only 3 per cent of the American population, fully 80 per cent of this country's professional comedians were Jewish! Even many of today's non-Jewish standup comics draw inspiration if not material from the old school of Yiddish humor.

I'm also personally discovering that the older a Jew gets, the more he or she wants to tell stories and have them laughed at — even if they aren't officially in the comedy trade or even if the jokes they're telling are ancient and have been recounted time and time again. Like me, for example.

Hollywood director and producer Sam Hoffman has came up with the perfect solution: the enormously successful Jewish humor website called "Old Jews Telling Jokes" (www.oldjewstellingjokes.com) which Hoffman launched just last year. Born of his own fondness for the funny tales he heard from his father, family and friends over four decades, the website is just what it's called: Old Jews telling jokes.

The format is simple. With bouncy klezmer Yiddish jazz providing the intro, gags are lustlly told by individual amateur stand up comics in front of a bare white screen . Each one is at least 60 years old. The only restrictions: no racism and no sexual preference gags. The only audience present at the filming is made up of other joke tellers — no easy crowd to please. New gags are posted on the site every Tuesday and Thursday. The new season is about to begin this June 9th.

News of www.oldjewstellingjokes.com spread like internet fire when it first hit the ether. The website has already logged more than 2 million video plays. Hoffman, who works with Jetpack Media, the internet production company created by GreeneStreet Films, reports that home video rights to the series have been picked up by First Run Features. "Story telling is a Jewish tradition," says Hoffman — "in fact, it's a human tradition."

To help cast the first series in the summer of 2008, Hoffman and his producers Eric Spiegelman and Tim Williams enlisted Hoffman's father, Barney who e-mailed a select score of his friends. Each had to fit three requirements: be over 60, be Jewish, and "be able to tell one hell of a joke — old or new."

Those who answered Barney's talent call — mostly men, and only two women — met at a vacant storefront in Highland Park, N.J., where Hoffman was waiting with his film crew and a table laden with sandwiches to satisfy the noshers. The second season was filmed at a tony art art gallery in New York's Greenwich Village just last April 20th. It was an especially rain-stormy night. Nonetheless, the tryouts drew more than 40 would-be comics — including me, not to mention "Hizzoner", former New York Mayor "Ed" Koch.

I can't say there were too many new jokes, but there were an awful lot of good oldies told with that slick gusto that only comes with time and experience. A retired dentist from Long Island had a story about a jealous wife and his partner's mistress. A still working actress of a certain age enacted an hysterical tale of a lady who can't blow out a candle. I told three from my own long whiskered repertoire — including one about a 16th century rabbi who has to debate the pope. I'm hoping they'll use at least one of them. Oy, will my kid brother, David, be jealous! He lives in Vegas, has an hysterical story he once learned from Shecky Green, but is still only 54.

Nu, what can you do?

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CHESNOFF'S LATEST
Pack of Thieves: How Hitler and Europe Plundered the Jews and Committed the Greatest Theft in History  

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JWR contributor and veteran journalist Richard Z. Chesnoff was Senior Correspondent at US News & World Report, and is now a columnist at the NY Daily News and the Huffington Post. A two-time winner of the Overseas Press Club Award and a recipient of the National Press Club Award, he was formerly executive editor of Newsweek International. The paperback edition of his critically acclaimed book, "Pack of Thieves: How Hitler & Europe Plundered the Jews & Committed the Greatest Theft in History" is now on sale. (Click on cover above to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.

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© 2009, Richard Z. Chesnoff

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