If you light candles for Shabbat but accidentally start a fire — is that a mitzvah or a shandah? Don’t ask your rabbi for answers, instead join an audience to hear four opinionated, funny Jews debate morally ambiguous situations.
That’s the concept behind “Mitzvah or Shandah,” a new conversational card game by artist and producer Danielle Brody. She’s bringing it live for the second time on February 20 at 7 pm at Caveat on the Lower East Side.
At the show, a panel of comedians and Jewish personalities will debate situations and the audience will get to engage and help decide if they’re mitzvahs or shandahs. Brody will moderate as the “mitzvah judge.” Audience members will also be encouraged to share their own “mitzvah or shandah” situations for the panelists to debate. At the end, the panelists will be named “mensch” or “menace” and get prizes accordingly.
“When I hosted this show for the first time in December, the reaction from the comics and audience was, ‘That was so much fun,’” Brody said. “It felt like something we needed as a community. It was a night of connection and laughter over our shared experiences and culture. I can’t wait to do it again with some of the best Jewish personalities in New York City.”
The lineup features rapper Kosha Dillz (who may perform a rap!), radio host/comedian Chanel Omari, comedian and writer Zach Schiffman, and writer Arielle Kaplan. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Games will be available for purchase at the show, too. Tickets are available here: https://www.caveat.nyc/events/mitzvah-or-shandah-live-2-20-2023
Brody created the “Mitzvah or Shandah” game in September, which features a deck of 100 cards with situations to debate, discuss, and judge to deem a mitzvah or a shandah. Then decide who among you is most likely to do what’s written on the card, like start a fire with Shabbat candles. The game sells for $20 on Danielle’s site here and at West Side Judaica.
Brody, who also publishes an annual Haggadah called “Don’t Fuhaggadahboudit,” had the idea to create the Mitzvah or Shandah game as a way to talk about sins on Rosh Hashanah with family. (Read more about how Brody developed the game here). But it took a direction that makes it usable all year long with anyone from a stranger to your best friend or relative.
The positive reaction from friends, family, and passersby at outdoor markets inspired Brody to bring the concept to a stage.
“I created ‘Mitzvah or Shandah’ as just a game, but once I saw people playing it, I knew I had to take it live,” Brody said. “The cards unlock something in people — they share funny anecdotes, diverse opinions, and memories which encourages them to get to know each other better in unexpected ways. I hope the concept grows even bigger to more shows and more versions of the game.”
ABOUT DANIELLE BRODY
Danielle Brody is a Jewish writer, marketer, and artist living in New York City. She creates cartoons about her life and Jewish culture as Danielle in Doodles and Jews in Doodles. Brody self-published “Don’t Fuhaggadahboudit” and Hanukkah in Your Hands, She creates Jewish products, including Mitzvah or Shandah, and produces community events. Last summer, she was named to New York Jewish Week’s 36 to watch list. Brody works as a content producer for advertisers at a leading new publisher.
ABOUT THE MITZVAH OR SHANDAH SHOW LINEUP
Kosha Dillz has toured the entire world with everyone from Matisyahu to Rza of the Wu Tang Clan and more, he has become a mainstay in the Hip Hop World and beyond, playing Paid Dues festival, BK Hip Hop Festival, SXSW, CMJ, Rock The Bells, and Vans Warped Tour. You can watch him on the latest season of MTV's Wild N' Out on VH1.
Arielle Kaplan is a Jewish culture writer, educational-comedy podcaster, and seductress of Zion.
Chanel Omari is a comedian, TV Host, producer, writer, and actress. She's the host of @chanelinthecitypodcast and @theallstarcomedyshow. She co-starred in Bravo TV's "Princesses Long Island" in 2012.
Zach Schiffman (he/him) is a writer, producer, and comedian living in Brooklyn. He has written for New York Magazine, Curbed, Grub Street, Instyle, Interview Magazine, Hey Alma and more. His comedy has been featured in Brooklyn Magazine, Wussy Mag, Theatrely, and Vulture. He previously produced digital for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out The News.