Tag : humor

July 27, 2020 by

Comedy? You Bet!

LAURA BEATRIX NEWMARK is the Director of LABA at the 14th Street Y. Her work at the intersection of the arts, media, activism, community building and Jewish programming spans two decades.

At the 14th street Y’s LABA program, where artists study Jewish texts together and nurture their own work, we were supposed to do five nights of performances this spring—and we couldn’t. But we did put together a show—“Jewnight Show Pandemic Passover.” It was terrifying to do all this virtually.

It turns out we were ahead of the curve, as everything went virtual. Yet human beings need to be around people. It’s a nice interlude to provide theater virtually, but it’s hard not to connect in person.

In the meantime, to cope, I’ve been consuming comedy. We need it. From the beginning, the funny videos people post, the angst, the parodies are the only thing giving me comfort. The viral video of an Israeli mom complaining about having to homeschool (“Now, our children will find out how dumb we are. It’s not right!”) is a perfect example: comedy that gives us a release.

I had actually picked humor as the theme for LABA this year—we had a long discussion about how in Jewish humor there’s this balance between observant and profane, between intimacy and shared trauma; it’s all rooted in struggle. I think we are going to see interesting humor emerge. And just making people laugh is important.

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The Lilith Blog

April 4, 2020 by

ZoomWear: A Virtual Fashion Guide

Zoom meetings, Zoom teaching, Zoom Seders, Zoom Zumba; your Pandemic calendar is full but what do you wear? Lighthearted tips to help the modern social isolate shine on screen! 

Make-up: 

Your face is key! Zoom Professional allows meetings of unlimited length; you are going to get bored and sleepy but no-one has to know.  Pencil those brows into arches of amazement. (Fireplace ash works in a pinch.) Lighten the skin around your eyes with bleach wipes for an alert demeanor. Blusher masks indoor pallor. When you run out of blush, cut a beet in half and apply to cheeks. When you run out of fresh produce, smear maraschino cherries in a “C” curve starting 9mm from the bottom of your eye socket to the hollow beneath your cheeks. When you run out of red food, slap yourself in the face. 

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The Lilith Blog

January 15, 2020 by

Laughter As Medicine for Resistance

I had my first real MS flare following the 2016 election, 10 years after my diagnosis. Once I had recovered, I realized that I would need a way to cope with a changed landscape: the news, the politics, the tension.

And for me, they only way to manage the scary reality of a Trump presidency was through comedy. The importance of living in a country that could jeer at the President without being offed or poisoned—mixed with the sheer release of laughing—provided a certain catharsis needed to process a way forward. I also appreciated the importance of comedians tearing apart the Trump Administration’s lies, policies and hypocrisy and making a huge mockery of the people in power. 

I knew this particular President was watching—and it would irk him. 

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The Lilith Blog

January 8, 2020 by

The Power of Humor for Smashing the Patriarchy

Screen Shot 2020-01-06 at 5.04.48 PMMost attorneys don’t moonlight as a humorists, so Lori B. Duff’s new collection of essays,  If You Did What I Asked in the First Place (Deeds Publishing), may just be a first of its kind.  Duff talks to Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about her unusual professional pairing. 

YZM: How do the jobs of lawyer and comic coexist in your life?

LBD: I feel sorry for lawyers without a sense of humor. I feel like those two things are the Yin and Yang of my life. They balance each other out. The law can be so harsh. No one thinks, “I’m having the best day of my life. I think I’m going to go see my lawyer.”  People come to talk to me professionally when they are at their lowest: when someone has died, when their marriages are breaking apart, or when they are in financial trouble. When you focus on those things for 40 or more hours a day, you start thinking the entire world is tragedy. It’s important to balance that by thinking about the opposite of tragedy, which is comedy. When you add to that the maxim that comedy is tragedy plus time, they are natural partners.     (more…)

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The Lilith Blog

May 14, 2019 by

The Meaning and Value of Humor: An Interview with Marilyn Simon Rothstein

In Lift and Separate and Husbands and Other Sharp Objects (both from Lake Union Publishing) humor is the lens through all of life’s mishegas is viewed.  Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough asks author Marilyn Simon Rothstein what it means to be funny, and why it’s more essential now than ever.

B16HB-gTUAS._SY600_YZM: Have you always been considered funny?

MSR: When I was growing up in Flushing, New York, a terrible name for a wonderful community where there were two ethnic groups—Orthodox Jews and Conservative Jews—my family sat around a wrought iron kitchen table and discussed one important topic—other people. Being funny was the way to get everyone’s attention. 

YZM: Do you think that Jewish humor, and in particular Jewish women’s humor, is its own category?

MSR: All humor is based on observation. So, Jewish humor is based on what a member of the Jewish community observes.  I feel that my first book, Lift And Separate, is very Jewish.

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The Lilith Blog

July 9, 2018 by

Four Things Rabbis Should Stop Saying at Weddings

Here we are, in the grip of another Wedding Season. Perhaps you’re a perpetual bridesmaid, or the one getting married, or you’re not particularly into marriage as a life choice for yourself.

Maybe you’re going to a wedding every weekend until the end of time (or Labor Day). As we descend further into the madness of tulle, plus-ones, and open bars, let’s review some things you’re basically guaranteed to find at Jewish weddings: aggressive dancing (ask me about incurring my stiletto related injury), which usually involves the couple being hoisted into the air on chairs while they pretend not to be afraid of falling, people shouting “Mazel Tov!,” and of course, a rabbi.

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