I created a conversational Jewish card game called Mitzvah or Shandah. Once I started seeing people play, I realized the concept would work well as a show.
So I hosted the first (of hopefully many) Mitzvah or Shandah live shows on Dec. 13. Photographer Sean Barry captured all the moments. Below is a recap!
I hosted Mitzvah or Shandah and welcomed everyone to the show.
The show was at Stand Up New York on the Upper West Side. Owner Dani Zoldan was a Jew of the Week in September 2022. We also had a merch table that my dad managed.
Comedian Liz Glazer opened with a comedy set, then we played rapid-fire rounds of Mitzvah or Shandah
I was nervous to do a whole Mitzvah or Shandah show, but once I played with Liz, I knew it worked. She was great and the audience was laughing and engaged.
Liz Glazer is an award-winning standup comedian, actor, and writer. Liz won first place in the Boston Comedy Festival and Ladies of Laughter Competition and has opened for Myq Kaplan and Maria Bamford.
I welcomed the comedians to the stage and changed into my Judges' outfit
The panel was a mix of comedians who I thought would work well together.
Gabby Bryan is a Brooklyn based comedian and even actress while also being a writer and producer. She produces the "You Know What Dude" Podcast with Robert Kelly and co-hosts "L'Podcast" with Zack Signore.
FreddyG is a standup comic from NYC. His joke videos have over 35 million views on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. He has also performed on Sirius XM and NPR.
Mikey Greenblatt is a standup comedian, improviser, and NJB. You can find him performing at the hottest clubs in New York and at your Synagogue on comedy night.
Ariel Tidhar is the designer behind the eponymous Judaica brand, Ariel Tidhar. Her work has evolved to combine a sprinkle of Jewish humor as well as nostalgic references that honor her Israeli roots. In recent years, Ariel’s work has expanded to include modern Judaica pieces, home décor, and accessories.
We played Mitzvah or Shandah
Before the show, I divided the situation cards into topics like Shabbat, general Judaism, sleepaway camp, and temple. For each round, I asked comedians to pick a topic. Then I read a situation card from the deck and let them all weigh in. Some of them were:
"You’re the life of the party at a Bar Mitzvah. You’re tearing up the dance floor and get a little frisky with a motivational dancer."
"You go to services because you have a crush on the rabbi."
"You don’t like the itinerary on your Birthright trip, so you lead a revolt."
They all had a "mitzvah or shandah" paddle, and so did the audience. Their reasoning was hilarious. Then I asked the audience if it was a mitzvah or a shandah, and they weighed in with their paddles, too.
I assigned mitzvah or shandah points to the panel with the help of the audience, and one person kept score. We had a lot of fun with it.
The audience was engaged
Everyone had a great time, and all of the feedback was that it was so fun and they wanted more.
After we read a few cards, Rabbi Rebecca Keren Eisenstadt came up and we distributed prizes
We assigned points to the panel. Mikey Greenblatt and Ariel Tidhar were named the biggest mensches, and Gabby Bryan and FreddyG were menaces. We all had fun with it!
Prizes included my calendar, cards from Menschions, and Naughty Jewish Boy Calendars. The crowd and the panel loved it! Rabbi Rebecca, a former Jew of the Week, shared some thoughts, too, which was a nice touch!
We told stories
Mikey Greenblatt came back to the stage to tell a story, and Matt Cohen, a writer, comedian, and cartoonist, told a story, too. The audience helped decide if they committed a mitzvah or a shandah and I gave them gelt. My dad and I told a story together.
This was fun, but in the future, I think the storytelling is its own show, and Mitzvah or Shandah is its own show.
Video Highlights from the Mitzvah or Shandah show
Look out for the next show on February 20 at Caveat (link coming soon). More to come! Subscribe here to stay tuned.