Meyer, a lonely widower, was walking home along Delancy Street one day wishing something wonderful would happen in his life, when he passed a pet store and heard a squawking voice shouting out in Yiddish, ”Quawwwwk... vus machts du?”
Meyer rubbed his eyes and ears. Couldn’t believe it. Perfect Yiddish.
The proprietor urged him, ”Come in here, fella, and check out this parrot...”
Meyer did. An African Grey cocked his little head and said: ”Vus? Kenst sprechen Yiddish?”
In a matter of moments, Meyer had placed five hundred dollars on the counter and carried the parrot in his cage away with him. All night he talked with the parrot. In Yiddish. He told the parrot about his father’s adventures coming to America. About how beautiful his late wife, Sarah, was when she was a young bride. About his family. About his years of working in the garment district. About Florida.
The parrot listened and commented.
They shared some walnuts.
The parrot told him of living in the pet store, how lonely he would get on the weekends. They both went to sleep.
Next morning, Meyer began to put on his tefillin, all the while saying his prayers. The parrot demanded to know what he was doing and when Meyer explained, the parrot wanted to do the same. Meyer went out and had a miniature set of tefillin handmade for the parrot.
The parrot wanted to learn to daven and learned every prayer. He even wanted to learn to read Hebrew.
So Meyer spent weeks and months, sitting and teaching the parrot, teaching him Torah. In time, Meyer came to love and count on the parrot as a friend and fellow Jew.
One morning, on Rosh Hashanah, Meyer rose and got dressed and was about to leave when the parrot demanded to go with him. Meyer explained that Shul was not a place for a bird, but the parrot made a terrific argument, so Meyer relented and carried the bird to Shul on his shoulder.
Needless to say, they made quite a spectacle, and Meyer was questioned by everyone, including the Rabbi and the Cantor. They refused to allow a bird into the building on the High Holy Days, but Meyer persuaded them to let him in this one time, swearing that the parrot could daven. Wagers were made with Meyer.
Thousands of dollars were bet that the parrot could NOT daven, could not speak Yiddish or Hebrew, etc.
All eyes were on the African Grey during services. The parrot perched on Meyer’s shoulder as one prayer and song passed - Meyer heard not a peep from the bird. He began to become annoyed, slapping at his shoulder and mumbling under his breath, ”Daven!”
”Daven... parrot, you can daven, so daven... come on, everyone is looking at you!”
After Rosh Hashanah services were concluded, Meyer found that he owed his Shul buddies and the Rabbi over four thousand dollars..
He marched home, so upset he said nothing to the parrot.
Finally several blocks from the Shul the Parrot began to sing an old Yiddish song, as happy as a lark.
Meyer stopped and looked at him.
”Why? After I had tefillin made for you and taught you the morning prayers, and taught you to read Hebrew and the Torah. And after you begged me to bring you to Shul on Rosh Hashana, why? WHY?!? Why did you do this to me?”
”Meyer, don’t be a schmuck,” the parrot replied. ”Think of the odds we’ll get on Yom Kippur!”
Continuing the current trend of large-scale mergers and acquisitions, it was announced today at a press conference that Christmas and Hanukkah will merge. An industry source said that the deal had been in the works for about 1300 years.
While details were not available at press time, it is believed that the overhead cost of having twelve days of Christmas and eight days of Hanukkah was becoming prohibitive for both sides. By combining forces, we’re told, the world will be able to enjoy consistently high-quality service during the Fifteen Days of Chrismukah, as the new holiday is being called.
Massive layoffs are expected, with lords a-leaping and maids a-milking being the hardest hit. As part of the conditions of the agreement, the letters on the dreydl, currently in Hebrew, will be replaced by Latin, thus becoming
unintelligible to a wider audience.
Also, instead of translating to ”A great miracle happened there,” the message on the dreydl will be the more generic ”Miraculous stuff happens.” In exchange, it is believed that Jews will be allowed to use Santa Claus and his vast merchandising resources for buying and delivering their gifts.
One of the sticking points holding up the agreement for at least three hundred years was the question of whether Jewish children could leave milk and cookies for Santa even after having eaten meat for dinner. A breakthrough came last year, when Oreos were finally declared to be Kosher. All sides appeared happy about this.
A spokesman for Christmas, Inc. , declined to say whether a takeover of Kwanzaa might not be in the works as well. He merely pointed out that,
were it not for the independent existence of Kwanzaa, the merger between Christmas and Chanukah might indeed be seen as an unfair cornering of the holiday market. Fortunately for all concerned, he said, Kwanzaa will help to maintain the competitive balance. He then closed the press conference by leading all present in a rousing rendition of ”Oy Vey, All Ye Faithful.”
Last December, a grandmother was giving directions to her grown grandson who was coming to visit with his wife. ”You come to the front door of the apartment complex. I am in apartment 14T.”
She continued, ”There is a big panel at the door. With your elbow push button 14T. I will buzz you in. Come inside, the elevator is on the right. Get in, and with your elbow hit 14. When you get out I am on the left. With your elbow, hit my doorbell.”
”Grandma, that sounds easy,” replied the grandson, ”but why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow”?
To which she answered, ”You’re coming empty handed?”
Admiring the Christmas trees displayed in his neighbor’s windows, a child asks his father, ”Daddy, can we have a Hanukkah Tree?”
”What? No, of course not.” says his father.
”Why not?” asks the child again.
Bewildered, his father replies, ”Because the last time we had dealings with a lighted bush we spent 40 years in the wilderness.”
Twas the night before Christmas, and we, being Jews, My girlfriend and me-we had nothing to do. The Gentiles were home, hanging stockings with care, Secure in their knowledge St. Nick would be there. But for us, once the Hanukkah candles burned down, There was nothing but boredom all over town.
The malls and the theaters were all closed up tight; There weren’t any concerts to got to that night. A dance would have saved us, some ballroom or swing, But we searched through the papers; there wasn’t a thing.
Outside the window sat two feet of snow; With the wind-chill, they said it was fifteen below. And while all I could do was sit there and brood, My girl saved the night and called out ”CHINESE FOOD!”
So we ran to the closet, grabbed hats, mitts and boots To cover out heads, our hands, and our foots. We pulled on our jackets, all puffy with down. And boarded ”The T,” bound for old Chinatown.
In search of a restaurant: ”Which one? Lets decide!” We chose ”Hunan Chozer,” and ventured inside. Around us sat other Jews, their platters piled high With the finest of foods their money could buy:
There was roast duck and fried fake squid, (sweet, sour and spiced, ) Dried kosher beef and mixed veggies, lo mein and fried rice, Whole fish and moo shi and ”shrimp” chow mee foon, And General Gaus chicken and ma po tofu....
When at last we decided, and the waiter did call, We said: ”Skip the menu!” and ordered it all. And when in due time the food was all made, It came to the table in a sort of parade.
Before us sat dim sum, spare ribs and egg rolls, And four different soups, in four great, huge bowls. The courses kept coming, from spicy to mild, And higher and higher toward the ceiling were piled.
So much piled up, one dish after the other, My girlfriend and I couldn’t see one another! Now we sat there, we two, without proper utensils, While they handed us something that looked like two pencils.
We ate till we couldn’t and drank down our teas And barely had room for our fortune cookies. But my fortune was perfect; it summed up the mood When it said: ”Even if it was kosher, it was still Chinese food!.” And my girlfriend-well... she got a real winner; Hers said: ”Your companion will pay for the dinner.”
Our bellies were full and at last it was time To travel back home and write some bad rhyme Of our Chinatown trek (and to privately speak About trying to refine our chopstick technique).
The MSG spun round and round in our heads, As we tripped and we laughed and gaily we said, As we carried our leftovers home through the night; ”Good Yom Tov to all-and to all a Good Night!”