Fast Forward


Doggone It, People Like Al Franken

His best-known character was Stuart Smalley, a self-help/group therapy addict with low self-esteem who summed up the 1980s’ cultural obsession with psychobabble. Smalley was based on Franken’s real-life venture into Al-Anon, a 12-step program for friends and family members of alcoholics. In Franken’s case, the friend was his longtime writingRead More


Down and Out in the Hollywood Hills: A Reunion

Seth Greenland’s debut novel, “The Bones” (coming out next month from Bloomsbury), follows Lloyd Melnick, a TV comedy writer who has stumbled onto accidental success in Hollywood, and Frank Bones, a racy stand-up comedian whose once-thriving career has stalled. With hopes of hitching his broken-down wagon to Lloyd’s rising star, FrankRead More


A Rabbi Walks Into a Comedy Club — and Stays

By Gabriel Sanders

In 1986, after 14 years of faithful service to two different congregations, Rabbi Bob Alper began feeling pulpit fatigue.“I knew something was happening when I’d be conducting services and really looking forward to the announcements,” he told the Forward.“I loved certain aspects of the rabbinate,” he said. “But there were other aspectsRead More


Point, Click, Chuckle: Jewish Humor Goes Online

By E.B. Solomont

From riddles and one-liners to satires and comic strips, the Internet’s trove of Jewish humor goes on and on. This is instant gratification at its best, funnies at your fingertips. Even biographies of your favorite laugh masters have gone digital. The following is a short guide to Jewish knock-knock’s on the Web:JEWHOO! (www.jewhoo.com): For aRead More


Send in the Clowns

By Max Gross

When Gershon Resnik visits Israel, he feels a little bit like a rock star.A car is sent for him, and he is met by important Israeli community leaders and mobbed by adoring fans who scream with delight the moment he strides onstage.Such is the life of a Jewish clown.Resnik — aka Buffo the Clown — has been going back and forth to Israel from hisRead More


A Fair and Balanced Look At Al Franken

By Catie Lazarus

As political satirists go, Al Franken is in a league of his own. Five Emmy Awards reveal his sublime impact on “Saturday Night Live” as one of its original writers and later as a producer and performer. His books, including “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot” and “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at theRead More


There Once Was a Contest for Laughs...

Forward readers are a funny lot. As part of our “Make Us Laugh” contest, readers wrote limericks that explained, illustrated, analyzed or exemplified a Jewish comic sensibility. And they made us laugh.Entries poured in, from Arizona to Vermont, Illinois to Georgia. Then our panel of comedy judges selected the cream of the crop:Cathy Ladman wonRead More


Prayer Fare: A Look Back at ‘Jewish Science’

‘The Jew of today needs, more than ever, a spiritual influence as a bulwark against worry, fear and anxiety. He needs that source of inspiration that will bring peace to his restless soul, free his heart from forebodings and cares… and replenish the springs of his happiness.” Although these passages strike a decidedly New Age-y tone,Read More


DER YIDDISH-VINKL February 4, 2005

On the 115th yahrzeit of poet Mikhl Gordon, the Forverts’s Pearls of Yiddish Poetry featured this famous Maskl. At the time of his life, this movement in which Gordon played a prominent role was the ideological challenger of the Hasidim, who were the fervent advocates of the “good old-time religion” thatRead More


Students Pow-wow in Republic of Palau

By Rukhl Schaechter

Last Thursday afternoon, Continental Flight #0014 landed at Newark Airport, and among the passengers streaming out of the plane was a group of 10 teenage boys returning from winter break in the North Pacific. However, this was no ordinary vacation. The teenagers were Orthodox students from the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy (YeshivaRead More


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