Renowned Comedian Yacov Moshe Maza aka Jackie Mason
World-famous comedian and actor Jackie Mason (b. 1931) was born Yacov Moshe Maza in Wisconsin, and grew up in Manhattan. His father and grandfather were rabbis, and so were his three brothers. At 25, Yacov was ordained as a rabbi, too, though he’d always dreamed of being a comedian. Three years later, he resigned to follow his passion (click here to see Jackie discuss his transformation from rabbi to comedian). He first performed at a New York hotel but was soon let go for ridiculing the audience – something that is central to comedy today but was unheard of at the time. He gained more fame after several acts on The Ed Sullivan Show (including the episode that debuted The Beatles). Mason went on to star in some of the most successful one-man comedy shows on Broadway, including The World According to Me and Politically Incorrect. He also acted in many films and TV shows, and even won an Emmy Award for voicing Rabbi Hyman Krustofski on The Simpsons. Off the stage, Mason has been a vocal supporter of Israel, a hard-liner who opposed the Oslo process, and is a founder of One Jerusalem, an organization that works to ensure the city remains Israel’s undivided capital. A proud Jew, describing himself “as Jewish as a matzah ball or kosher salami”, he filed (and won) a lawsuit against ‘Jews for Jesus’ for using his image, accusing the organization of fishing for converts to Christianity. Mason continues to entertain and enlighten audiences, and now has over 200 video blogs on YouTube, most of which are humorous commentaries on current events and politics.
Words of the Week
We have paralyzed ourselves by our sickening fear of World Opinion, which is why we find it impossible to face one simple fact: We will never win this war unless we immediately threaten to drive every Arab out of Israel if the killing doesn’t stop. – Jackie Mason
Barbara Joan Streisand (b. 1942) was born in Brooklyn to parents whose families both immigrated from the former Russian Empire. Her father died soon after her birth, leaving her family in poverty. Streisand studied at the Jewish Orthodox Yeshiva of Brooklyn, where she developed her singing abilities and gave her first solo performances. Starting in her teens she sang at many nightclubs and also started to act in stage performances. Her first big break was on The Tonight Show in 1961, and in 1962 she acted in a small Broadway role. The following year, Streisand released her first music album. An instant hit, it brought her two Grammy Awards. Returning to Broadway in 1964, she made a splash with her performance in Funny Girl, which put her on the cover of TIME Magazine. Streisand would go on to release an incredible 50 studio albums. She is still the best-selling female artist of all time, and the only female in the Top 10. At one point, she only lagged Elvis Presley and The Beatles in terms of albums sold, and many of her songs still hold records. She owns a total of 8 Grammy Awards, in addition to 5 Emmy Awards, a Tony and 2 Oscars! This makes Streisand among the most decorated entertainers of all time, and also among the most diverse, achieving success in film, stage, and music. Barbra was the first woman to produce a movie that she also directed, wrote, and starred in. She is also a great philanthropist, having personally raised over $25 million for charities, and has donated millions more from her own pockets. She has been listed among the most charitable celebrities in the world. Adding to her fervent support of Israel, Streisand will be performing several sold-out shows in the Holy Land this summer.
Words of the Week
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson