In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan 20, 2012/ 25 Teves, 5772

Friday Nights with Sid and Company

By Greg Crosby

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Friday night gathering of friends and admirers of Sid Caesar is fast becoming a semi-regular event. (semi-regular is one of those terms that are contradictory. How can something be semi-regular? Either it happens on a regular basis or it doesn't. But let's get back to the column.) Every few weeks or so Sid has friends over to his home for an evening of food and a few laughs. It's a relaxing get-together of what has been called Sid's "extended family" and a wonderful excuse to schmooze and swap stories. The group varies each time depending on people's schedules and who's in town, but it's always a star-studded assembly.

At the most recent soiree the guests included Janna Ritz, daughter of Harry Ritz of the legendary Ritz Brothers. Janna, and her husband Richard, were in from New York and brought with them some rare TV clips of her dad's appearances on shows from the 50's through the 70's. After dinner Sid and guests gathered around the set to watch one of the true comedy originals of the 20th Century. What a treat!

Harry, Al and Jimmy Ritz started out in vaudeville and nightclubs with an act that consisted of precision dancing, tongue-twisting spoofs of popular songs, facial mugging, and slapstick. Jan Murray called them "tumult" comedians. Think the opposite of Jack Benny. They ran around, pushed, clowned, made noises, rolled their eyes, and did all kinds of shtick. However they also sang and danced beautifully. Their dances in particular were so well-timed that it looked like the three of them were attached as one. They were so smooth that they almost make the Rockettes look like stumble-bums in comparison.

In 1934, the Ritz Brothers made their screen debut in the two-reel comedy "Hotel Anchovy," which led to their being signed by 20th Century-Fox as a specialty act. "Sing Baby Sing" (1936) was the first feature film to costar the boys, and their first starring role followed a year later in "Life Begins in College." Between 1934 and 1943, they turned out fifteen features and three shorts. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the Ritz Brothers continued appearing in supper clubs and the resort circuit and made their first appearances as TV guest stars.

All three were talented, but it was Harry that was the leader, innovator and top banana. Among comedians, Harry Ritz is considered the greatest. "This man gave comedy a whole new dimension," Sid Caesar has said. "Harry was the great innovator. His energy and his sensibility opened things up for all of us. He had to be the funniest man of his time." Mel Brooks has often called Harry Ritz "the funniest man ever" and absolutely idolizes him.

In an old Dick Cavett show form the seventies the camera comes in close to Harry Ritz's face and he demonstrates how he can count up to ten with his eyeballs. It's unbelievable and hysterical. Harry had magic eyes. Then, at the finish of the show, the brothers get up and do their precision dance routine, which brings the house down. Even late in life they still moved like they were floating in air.

You can see the influence of Harry Ritz in dozens of other comedians; Danny Kaye and Jerry Lewis are two obvious examples. But Harry was never bothered by the fact that others "borrowed" the style, shtick, and bits of business from him. He didn't complain when other comics, using his material, started playing better clubs and pulled in more money. He simply considered it flattery that they would use what he invented.

Towards the end of the evening, I spoke briefly to Janna and she told me of how one day she and her dad were walking along Beverly Boulevard when suddenly she noticed Fred Astaire walking across the street. "Look Daddy, it's Fred Astaire." Harry glanced over, waved to Astaire, then turned to his daughter and said, "Would you like to meet him?"

Janna couldn't believe that her father actually knew Fred Astaire. They crossed the street and Harry introduced Janna to Fred Astaire, it was something that she would never forget. Later Fred told Janna that Harry Ritz was the best dancer he had ever seen. I asked Janna if she inherited any of her father's dancing talent. "Not really," she said, "but I can count up to ten with my eyes." And then she did.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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