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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Yearly Shpritz of Jewish Bits

I usually don't get too enthused about the wide assortment of oversized, overpriced, theme calendars that flood the market every September. For my own personal use, all I need is the most basic type of calendars - the plain type with just the dates in big squares for me to jot down important events and appointments.

Even though I am a lover of both Judaica and comics, I usually avoid the Jewish or comix-themed calendars, which are usually just recycle previously-published illustrations or photographs.

This year, however, I have been introduced to a calendar that not only combines something Jewish (specifically, Jewish jokes) and the comix format, but also something which contains cartoons which have not previously been published (i.e. NEW material).

The product I am talking about is A Yearly Shpritz of Jewish Bits : The Ultimate Illustrated Calendar of Jewish Humor (Old and New), with jokes adapted into comics format by the talented former MAD intern Chari Pere.

As with other standard Jewish calendars, this one displays both the English and Hebrew dates, marks both Jewish and American statutory holidays and provides Friday night (shabbos) candle-lighting times.

Unlike other Jewish calendars, it ends with a bibliography, pointing readers to the sources (print & online) from which Chari adapted the jokes and showing them where to find more jokes.

Among the cute touches to be found in the pages of the calendar are the recurring sun motif at the top of each month which wears progressively more or less clothing (including sunglasses, which seemed ironic to me), fictional holidays (though I could seee myself making a new tradition of annually celebrating National Chocolate Chip Day, National Ice Cream Sandwich Day and I Am In Control Day), and subtle jokes in the background (e.g. newspaper headlines : "Jew Wins Marathon" and "World's Biggest Latka").

I would say that the only drawback to this year's (inaugral) calendar of Chari's is the small size, which resulted in date squares too tiny for me to scribble in the multitude of appointments and events that I try to schedule in every year. On the other hand, this comic calendar is too nice-looking for me to want to mark it up at all (and I receive enough large-sized freebie calendars to let me use for that).

Overall, I would highly reccommend this laugh-your-tuchus-off product to anyone who enjoys humor (and particularly those who enjoy Jewish comedy) or cartoons (and particularly those who enjoy Jewish comics) and those who love fun calendars (and particularly those who enjoy fun calendars featuring cartoon adaptations of Jewish jokes). Since calendars are an annual publication, Chari Pere's Yearly Shpritz gives us something to look forward to every Fall.

And don't just take my word for it.

The Jewish Star's Alan Jay Gerber (the "Kosher Bookworm" ) wrote the following in his review / profile of Chari

calendar that will never be thrown out after it expires one year from now


I have never seen anything like this. It is different and funny, and unique for a calendar since it is dated; the jokes and humor used are indeed dated to an era long past and forgotten, yet deliberately revived to entertain a new generation of young Jews.

1 comment:

Roy Moskowitz said...

It's ironic that you made the Jew wins Marathon comment, because Chari's father Scott Pere was probably at one point the fastest Shommer Shabbos Marathoner outside of Israel, in the world, with a personal best of 2:35 for 26.2 miles.

Chari's younger sister Stephanie, despite not having the benefit of a track team at Yeshiva of Flatbush, is running track for Queens College and would have received an athletic scholarship if there weren't such a high percentage of meets on Shabbos.

To further dispel the myth of Jews not being distance runners, among non-observant Jews, Deena Kastor is among the fastest female distance runners in the world and a US Olympian.