5 min read
Did you hear about the kosher deli owner who was thinking about becoming a vegan? Let’s just say it wasn’t great for business.
They say that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but that was before the age of social media, so obviously they left out one other certainty – embarrassing stories that go viral. Nearly every day, often multiple times daily, a person, company, city or country does something that in days of yore would have thankfully remained known to just the few who witnessed it. Not anymore. These days, thanks to advances in communication, social media, smartphones and TMZ, we can all laugh, cringe, get angry, or experience any number of emotions as we witness said embarrassment practically as it happens or shortly thereafter. And then, of course, proceed to share it with our own informational buzzards, I mean circle of friends.
I know what you’re thinking: “But, Mark, what about the most embarrassing Jewish stories that have gone viral? Could you let us know what those were?” Hey, can I read your mind or what? And, by the way, you should be ashamed of some of the things in your mind. Yet they’re quite entertaining and tell me a lot about you. But I digress. As usual, I did extensive research, spoke to experts worldwide, and even had to bribe some high-ranking officials – in order to gather here for you: the most embarrassing Jewish stories that have gone viral. You’re welcome.
Can you believe Barry Hecker never heard of Matzoh Brei?!
April 7, 2009, a day that will go down in infamy. Barry Hecker posted a Facebook challenge to all his friends for their best recipe for a killer matzoh brei. Neil Stein immediately responded, “What’s matzoh brei?” Heckler answered, “Please tell me you’re kidding.” Stein posted, “No. I never heard of matzoh brei.” Over 2,000 Shares later, Stein found himself the laughingstock of Facebook Jews as “The Jew who never heard of matzoh brei.” The clueless Stein, however, managed to parlay his Judaic cultural ignorance into appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Late Show With David Letterman, and the pilot for a prospective new game show that never made it to air, called Do you Know More Than Neil Stein?.
Simon Shmuelberg was stunned to discover that one of his competitors posted a rather embarrassing video on Simon’s Facebook Wall. Mort Feigelbaum, of Mort’s Deli, posted a hidden-camera video of Simon making the rounds at a vegan food festival – tasting the foods and chatting happily with the vegan chefs. Mort added the comment, “Apparently, Simon Shmuelberg has mixed feelings about eating and serving his own meat.” Business dropped 75% at Simon’s Wonderful World of Kosher Meat Deli. Asked for his comment, Simon responded, “Mort Feigelbaum, you’re a dead man.”
If you’re a comedy writer and not all that well known, and post something purely satirical on Facebook, it might behoove you to: a) mention you’re a comedy writer, or b) indicate that what you’re posting is satirical and not reflective of your true feelings about the matter. Ezra Schwartz learned this lesson the hard way after he received a boat-load of negative feedback from rabbis and their congregants alike for his posting, “Pharaoh Got a Raw Deal.”
King David’s Deli, of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was excited about the prospect of growing its customer base via its first Groupon deal: $20 of food for $10. Only that’s not what the Groupon deal that was sent out said. Apparently, the final deal copy had not been carefully checked. It read, “$2,000 of food for $10.” Perhaps that’s why the deal sold out in seven minutes. And why the King David Deli went out of business three weeks later.
Used to be if a congregation had a rabbi who gave boring sermons, only those in his congregation would be aware of it. But now with social media and the advent of the website www.RateMyRabbi.com those days are long gone. Case in point: Rabbi Paul Kippleberg of Temple Bet Hayom, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After one of his congregants called his 37 minute Shmini Atzeret sermon “World’s Most Boring Synagogue Sermon” on Facebook, Rabbi Kippleberg’s RateMyRabbi rating went through the floor. Rumor has it that Kippleberg is now working with a writer and a public speaking coach.
Who doesn’t love an entertaining flash mob marriage proposal? That was Ira Lowenstein’s thought and it inspired him to enlist the assistance of fifty friends and put in three months of planning for an elaborate “My Fair Lady”-themed production for his girlfriend Miriam, as it was her favorite musical. One person who wasn’t so hot on the idea of this flash mob marriage proposal was Ira’s psychotic anger management challenged ex-girlfriend Mindy, who decided to show up anyway. Talk about putting a damper on a marriage proposal. On the positive side, the resulting YouTube video was the most popular video for six weeks in a row.
When Bob Dylan confided to a friend that he was seriously considering studying to have the bar mitzvah he’d never had at age 13, Dylan never envisioned that his friend would spread the word on Twitter and that it would provide such a source of amusement throughout the world. A contest was even held for specially altered titles of Dylan songs that he could sing as part of his bar mitzvah. Some of the most popular: Blowin’ in the Schul, Like a Rolling Matzoh Ball, Subterranean Homesick Jews, Just Like a Cantor, and Stuck Inside of Haifa With the Tel Aviv Blues Again.