Free Advice

LABA Fellow Charlie Buckholtz writes about his experience giving free advice as both a standup comic and a rabbi. I’d felt for a while that I was stuck in my standup, and it sucked. I mean for one thing…I was doing standup! Writing jokes and stories I thought were funny and getting up on open

Reconsidering a Verboten Comparison

LABA Fellow Mark Katz writes about his uncle Stanley’s birthday–which also happens to be Hitler’s birthday. Many April 20ths ago, I realized that my favorite uncle shared a birthday with a notorious despot.  And just like that, a new family tradition began: the annual phone call to my Uncle Stanley for a rousing rendition of

DAI 2.0

Iris Bahr, one of LABA’s visiting fellows, has a few alter egos. In this video, Iris introduces us to her Israeli alter ego Shosh, who engages in classic Jewish text study a la LABA, showcasing the intersection of comedy and prostitution. And check out Iris’s upcoming show DAI 2.O, which runs at the Theater at the 14th

Naked and Ashamed

What’s so funny about nudity in Judaism? LABA Fellow Charles Gershman digs in. I can’t remember how many times I dreamt this, but it happened at least once and I’ve never forgotten: in this dream, I am in my grade school, walking around in a very public place, and I realize suddenly I have no

Butter Side Down

An investigation into foolishness, magic, and perception from current LABA Fellow Ari Wolff. Once upon a time, nestled deep in the meadows and Pine forests of Eastern Poland, lay a little town called Chelm. It was a magical place– the streets were filled with laughter and the houses were painted to match the brilliant wildflowers

On the Centenary of Prohibition

Current LABA Fellow Sarah Sigal offers a fascinating and very personal look into the role of American Jewry in Prohibition. January 2020 marks the 100-year anniversary of the activation of the Volstead Act, which kicked the 18th Amendment into gear, banning alcohol in the United States until 1933. The Progressive movement of the day thought

A Hanukkah fakelore memory for 2019

Current LABA Fellow Rokhl Kafrissen recalls a late winter shabes memory of a dinner that never happened and a tradition that never was, but should have been.  SHORT FICTION I admit that I’ve fallen into a rut. So much of what I write these days is polemical and issue driven. Polemics get clicks. Personal confessions

A Very Jewish Christmas Tree

Current LABA Fellow Liba Vaynberg writes about Christmas trees and assimilation–and other features of growing up Russian and Jewish in the U.S. Who doesn’t love a Christmas tree? It’s objectively beautiful. Twinkly lights and capitalism and sometimes even a manger… I don’t really know what a manger is, but why not. Manger away. And then

Fire Safety for Jews: Hanukkah Edition

LABA Fellow Willie Zabar writes about fire safety surrounding Hanukkah. We as Jews are defined by our traditions. My favorite of these is survival. As the oft-told summary of most Jewish holidays goes, “they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat!” On Hanukkah in particular we celebrate by lighting candles and cooking fried foods.