Forward Thinking

We're the Jon Stewart People

By Dan Friedman

getty images
Jon Stewart

True or not, Eskimos are famed for having 40 words for snow: Jews on the other hand have Yiddish — a whole language for being funny, featuring a vowel combination that is synonymous with hilarity.

Comedy, shmomedy.

That turns out to be handy because Jews — at least American Jews who don’t have to worry about anti-Semitism either violent or genteel or about existential threats to their country — now value humor more highly than observance of Jewish religious law.

Never mind Rabbi Susan Silverman and her quest to pray at the Kotel, let’s embrace the far more authentically Jewish jokes of her cross-wearing sister.

According to the massive Pew survey out today, 42% of American Jews think that having a good sense of humor is what it means to be Jewish.

Pew Survey! Click Here! Click for more on the survey.

That’s about the same as the 43% who think you need to care about Israel but more than twice as many as those who think you need to observe Jewish law (19%).

It’s good that those 42% do have a good sense of humor because they can have a chuckle at the 34% of American Jews who think that believing Jesus was the messiah is compatible with being Jewish. Denying the Inquisition and refusing to bow to a millennium of Christian oppression is so passé. Dying for your beliefs is so Old World, so quaintly European.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: susan silverman, sarah silverman, jon stewart, humor, halacha, 2JewishAmerica2013

When Natalie Portman Shook the Lulav

By Naomi Zeveloff

claudio papapietro

Levi and Yisroel Pekar have asked thousands of people, “Are you Jewish?” in their years of conducting street outreach for the Chabad movement during Sukkot.

Since the twins mainly operate in New York City, it should come as no surprise that they have shaken the lulav with some famous Jews over the years. Like Natalie Portman and Jon Stewart (or so the Pekars claim).

Levi Pekar’s brush with Natalie Portman dates back to 2009, or so he estimates.

“I was walking on Broadway,” said Levi Pekar. “This woman stopped. She was averagely dressed, nothing special.”

Levi Pekar asked her if she’d like to shake the lulav: “She thought about it and said yes.”

“When she was walking away, a guy I was with, his mouth was agape,” continued Levi. “He said, ‘That was Natalie Portman! The famous Jewish Israeli actress.’”

A year later, Yisroel supposedly encountered Jon Stewart in Midtown at Chabad’s “mitzvah truck,” which is billed as the largest mobile sukkah in the world. Stewart walked into the sukkah, Levi recounted, and his brother administered the blessing.

When Yisroel said he recognized Stewart from somewhere, Stewart looked uncomfortable and quickly left, Levi said. A Daily Show fan who happened to be in the truck as well told the brothers whom they had just encountered.

These celebrity run-ins didn’t make much of a difference to the brothers, Levi said. “I don’t care what a person’s financial statement or PR statement is. It’s about sharing the mitzvot.”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: natalie portman, yisroel pekar, lulav, levi pekar, jon stewart, chabad, are you jewish

News Quiz: Satmars Out West, Jon Stewart in Egypt

By Lenore Skenazy

Burgers, Bibles, Bernie Madoff: There is little news that this week’s quiz doesn’t touch on, except, perhaps, for brisket.

Oh wait! That’s here, too, courtesy of Rick Moranis. Go forth!

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: news quiz, Satmar, Jon Stewart, Jewish, weekly

Watch: Jon Stewart Scolds God for Messing Up Gaza

By J.J. Goldberg

Here’s Jon Stewart Leibowitz doing his best Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev: Ribono Shel Olom, what the @!*#! are you doing?

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jon Stewart, God, Gaza Strip

Jon Stewart: 'Confederacy Goes for Romney'

By J.J. Goldberg

Jon Stewart calls “Most of the Confederacy went for Mitt Romney.”

And Florida continues to be “a huge clusterf*** - Florida, of course, being the place where Cubans go to live and Jews go to die.”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Confederacy, Cubans, Florida, Jews, Jon Stewart, Mitt Romney

Live Blogging Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly

By Dan Friedman

Despite the widespread system failures that deprived thousands of viewers live streaming footage of the Bill O’Reilly vs Jon Stewart smackdown your Forward live blogger was here glued to a computer that was working and plugged in and was live blogging it.

7:45 Tension is mounting as the first entertaining debate of the presidential election beckons. Tall Fox pundit Bill O’Reilly, against small Comedy Central funny man, Jon Stewart. Stewart has promised to have O’Reilly saying Stewart’s “Haftarah” by the end of the event, O’Reilly thinks he’ll be fine without Stewart’s 18 writers helping him out in the background.

7:50 Not to spoil you with too regular updates but, assuming that the internet holds up its end of the bargain, the tedium, mendacity, obfuscation and poor moderation of Wednesday’s debate can be left behind. No altitude sickness, no Big Bird and no votes at stake.

7:55 The debaters are in the auditorium. Repeat, people who care passionately about their positions, who have significant followings and who can speak articulately and entertainingly about the issues that matter in Election 2012 are about to engage in infotainment. They are currently quipping about air conditioning.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Bill O'Reilly, Jon Stewart, The Rumble 2012, debate

It Ain't Just 'Culture,' Mitt

By Hannah Rubin

getty images
Mitt Romney

Jon Stewart skewered Mitt Romney for his “culture” comments that suggested that Israelis are somehow superior to Palestinians.

With frequent references to Romney’s gaffe-prone ways, Stewart reported on Romney’s controversial comments during his visit to Israel that attempted to pay homage to Israeli know-how and ingenuity.

The late-night comic pointed out that there must be more than culture that left Palestinians less prosperous than Israelis (how ‘bout the occupation, Mitt?).

“Romney seems to be saying that the Palestinians are purely the architects of their own poverty,” Stewart said, giving his trademark dead-pan stare into the camera.

Then, he cut to the punchline, that Romney may have inadvertently spouted a nasty stereotype about Jews, too.

“Or, if you prefer to look at the converse: that Jews are just culturally some money-making m—– f—-ers.”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: palestinian, mitt romney, jon stewart, israel, culture, al madrigal

Jon Stewart's Inspired Easter v. Passover Rant

By J.J. Goldberg

Jon Stewart delivered an inspired rant last night comparing the charms of Easter vs. Passover. The key line: “As a father of mixed-faith children who are exposed to both holidays, I can’t help but feel that we Jews are getting our asses kicked out here.”

Some other key lines:

Hey, five-year-olds: A basket filled with candy and jelly beans — or horseradish, still in root form? Would you like the treats a magical bunny brought you — or a bone from a dead baby lamb? Don’t worry — we used its blood to mark the door…

Mishpoche, we gotta take it up a notch. They’re crushing us. I’m not saying we lose our traditions. We gotta adapt it, with a slight nod towards recruitment. I’m not saying we gotta go Jehovah’s Witnesses on this thing. But what’s wrong with a little zazz? Thinking outside the box? We’ve got a great story here. Moses parting the Red Sea? How have we not turned that into a water park?

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Red Sea, Passover, Moses, Mixed-faith Children, Jon Stewart, Horseradish, Easter Bunny, Easter

Jon Stewart Rips Defund of UNESCO Over P.A. Bid

By J.J. Goldberg

Jon Stewart treads where others don’t dare: skewering America’s decision to defund UNESCO for recognizing Palestine. And this was no mere tweak: Stewart skipped his interview segment last night to air a special, two-part “investigation” by John Oliver on the UNESCO flap. Oliver actually traveled to Gabon in West Africa (not a fake blue-screen standup), which apparently donated an extra $1 million to the UN agency toward making up the U.S. shortfall. And he visited schoolchildren in Gabon who benefit from UNESCO’s programs – and suffer from the defunding. More innuendo than fact – it’s the Daily Show after all – but pretty harsh.

Note that they barely mention Israel, much less the, um, U.S. domestic influences that pushed for the defunding-UN-over-Palestine policy. Even Stewart isn’t that suicidal. Nonetheless, it’s very pointed. Here’s Part One:

Part Two (after the jump):

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: UNESCO, Palestine, Jon Stewart, John Oliver, Gabon, Daily Show

Must-See TV: Jon Stewart on Fox Fears of Anti-Christian Bias

By J.J. Goldberg

If you haven’t seen Jon Stewart’s hilarious Wednesday night report on the aftermath of the Norway massacre, you’re only hurting yourself. He brilliantly skewers the protests of Fox News and the right over the bigotry of the media’s identifying the accused shooter as a “Christian extremist.” There are numerous layers of hypocrisy to peel away, and each one is funnier than the last: It’s bigoted to call Breivik a Christian just because he calls himself one, but the Fort Hood shooter is definitely a Muslim terrorist because he called himself one. Christians in this country are the victims of relentless bigotry by the left, but anyone else who complains of bigotry is playing the victim card. Et cetera and so forth.

Part 1:

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Norway Massacre, Laura Ingraham, Kinko's, Jon Stewart, Fox News, Fort Hood Massacre, Bill O'Reilly, Anti-Christian Bigotry




Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.