Feb 7, 2013
Ad Uses Chassidim to Poke Fun

A Brooklyn mohel finds a new TV commercial for the New York Lottery distasteful and offensive. What do you think?

By COLlive reporter

A new commercial for the New York Lottery, using humor and exaggeration to portray what money can buy a lucky Powerball winner, might have pushed the line.

The TV spot, created by DDB New York ad agency, shows a man who has the perfect punch lines for any scenario, leaving people laughing hysterically wherever he goes.

In truth, the millionaire has employed a full-time team of comedy writers who feed him the jokes through an earpiece. He is "that kind of rich," the ad suggests.

One of the millionaire's punchlines is told to a group of Chassidic looking Jews seated in a deli.

"You're the herpetologist," the man tells them from a nearby eating booth, leading them to burst out in laughter.

A COLlive reader said it seemed like they were referring to the ongoing battle between the City of New York and the frum community over a custom of the bris milah (circumcision ceremony).

The City's Board of Health says metzitzah b'peh (oral suction during the bris) can lead to fatal herpes infection. Rabbis and mohelim say there is no evidence to support that claim.

"This is no laughing matter and it's even frightening that the government is trying to regulate religious practice," Rabbi Levi Heber, the director of the International Bris Association, said in response to the Lottery commercial.

Speaking to COLlive, Heber said: "It's very unfortunate that people are not taking this matter seriously. The City's meddling in our rituals reminds many of Communist Russia. What's most ironic is that in Russia today Jews are more free to practice this mitzvah than in Brooklyn."

But what might be even more ironic is that the ad agency has mistakenly used the term 'herpetologist' which is the occupation of a zoologist that specializes in reptiles, amphibians, crocodiles and turtles, with no connection to the herpes disease.

When asked for a comment on Thursday morning, a representative of DDB New York told COLlive.com they will be responding by email. None has been received.

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Opinions and Comments
What is wrong?!
Seriously stop jumping on the bandwagon just because it show's ''Charedi Jews'' doesnt mean it's offensive give it a rest for once and just have a laugh.
(2/8/2013 12:00:15 AM)
Is it supposed to make any sense
(2/8/2013 12:13:57 AM)
I agree!
Why would a rabbi be a 'herpetologist'? Why would he know anything about herpes? Unless they are saying that in fact our mohels do give babies herpes ch"v, which is awful!
(2/8/2013 12:35:15 AM)
Mohel's wife
It is funny. Please do not look for anti-semetisim everywhere.
(2/8/2013 12:42:02 AM)
I have a very high tolerance for jokes... but I'm a little ruffled by this one. "Somewhat Offensive" is my rating.
(2/8/2013 1:14:55 AM)
(2/8/2013 1:18:24 AM)
Love it!
Great commercial.
(2/8/2013 1:34:02 AM)
Come on...!
Not offensive, this ad is "mildly" funny....

We laugh at other people all the time, we laugh at "average" americans feeling offended for this that, for the this or that word.

So now they are laughing at us a little... It's cool.
(2/8/2013 1:45:10 AM)
That's not what herpetology means
A herpetologist is a person who studies amphibians, it has nothing to do with milah or herpes. As Jews, we have plenty to get offended over. This isn't one of those things.
(2/8/2013 2:22:07 AM)
wow for real?
he's not directing the herpetologist comment at the "rabbis" in any way, he's telling jokes and the herpetologist remark happens to be the punchline. i thought that was obvious. #4 said it the best, please don't go looking for anti-semetism everywhere. there is absolutely nothing wrong with this ad, in fact its hilarious. everyone needs to relax.
(2/8/2013 2:23:42 AM)
Ya, definitely racists. If you think not just imagine it with another race and some other negative - not even stereotype but - negative quip.
(2/8/2013 2:45:41 AM)
Who are they
At least dress them up like real chassidim!!
(2/8/2013 5:53:50 AM)
Is this supposed to be funny?
(2/8/2013 6:11:02 AM)
funny not funny
I look at it different, I see it as mainstreaming, Chassidic Jews. I like the fact that we won't be looked at strange or funny to the "outside" world. It could have been a better joke, but they are not looking at it the way we would. their sense of humer is a little more raunchy than ours is. this politically correctness is really out of hand. wether it was funny or not, not everything is "offensive" or meant to be so.
(2/8/2013 7:51:10 AM)
I don't get it
It was said so fast I didn't get it anyway. It's what, a couple of seconds long? More to the point, is the deli KOSHER???

It's really stupid, but I see why people are upset. Just because of the perceptions over the Bris controversy, it should be withdrawn.
(2/8/2013 8:07:21 AM)
G-d save the children
Yeh well they have a point why do mohels do these things?!
(2/8/2013 9:20:15 AM)
gross yuck but unfortunately funny
(2/8/2013 9:31:05 AM)
they look more amish gone wrong than chassidish
(2/8/2013 9:31:24 AM)
chassidishers with Lubavitch hats!
(2/8/2013 9:31:50 AM)
Bloomberg Will Have To Answer
As Ed Koch now knows, one day the mayor will have to a answer for his actions.
(2/8/2013 9:43:29 AM)
I liked it.
(2/8/2013 9:47:16 AM)
heber grow up
Its very funny clip the subject of oral suction is very funny. vidal... this looks like a jimmy kimmel shlita clip

(2/8/2013 9:54:25 AM)
Grow up...
grow up its just a add....
(2/8/2013 10:21:42 AM)
#10 is right
The joke is that the rabbis thought that 'herpetologist ' has something to do with herpes - it's a shtech on their lack of education.
(2/8/2013 10:27:05 AM)
they look
amish anyway
(2/8/2013 10:39:35 AM)
love jokes
I agree. They could have said something else. Poor usage of jokes!
(2/8/2013 10:49:56 AM)
if not for the mohel guys making noise we would never know about
(2/8/2013 11:58:26 AM)
lottery not a jewish concept
In holiness nothing comes without effort. So don't waste your money on lottery. Lo yagati umotzosi AL taamin!
(2/8/2013 2:02:44 PM)
it's not talking about bris
simply because the average new yorker/american knows nothing of this bris/herpes "controversy" at all, trust me. a commercial is intended to reach a very wide audience and a joke wouldn't be put in that only .01 of the population understands. herpetologist just happens to be the punchline to joke he happened to tell these "rabbis". this is in no way offensive. don't go out of your way looking for ways to be offended.
(2/8/2013 2:41:17 PM)
wow this is misleading.
"But what might be even more IRONIC is that the ad agency has mistakenly used the term 'herpetologist' which is the occupation of a zoologist that specializes in reptiles, amphibians, crocodiles and turtles, with no connection to the herpes disease."

it's not irony that he used the wrong word, because it ISN'T the wrong word. herpetologist happens to be a punchline to a joke, this is in absolutely no way connected to a bris. it amazes me how people can't see that, or choose not to.
(2/8/2013 2:43:21 PM)
Tell that to some of the people who buy scratch -offs on Kingston ave.
(2/8/2013 3:17:19 PM)
Agree with u full on!!
(2/8/2013 4:00:05 PM)
not saying my opinion...
by reading all these comments, wtvr i say will be told that im wrong. So whats the point of writing any thing?
in other words:
if u dont agree with some one u dont have 2 make them sound as if their the worst person in the world
(2/8/2013 4:11:43 PM)
Never heard of PUN?
herpetologist was an obvious PUN on herpes. It is not a "mistake." In fact the joke is on you for so straight-facedly pointing out the ad's "error." it's like pointing out the knock-knock joke is in error because ketchup doesn't REALLY mean catch up at the corner.
(2/8/2013 4:25:09 PM)
Yiddish - and very insulting
It is a very insulting double entendre. One of the animals a herpetologist studies is a snake. What is snake in Yiddish, and what else does it mean? Hint - yes, this does have to do with bris milah, and whoever thought up this double play on words is very clever - and very anti-frum (I assume it is a Jew who came up with this as it would take one to know what I am talking about).
(2/9/2013 1:16:39 PM)
Oh come on
don't be so sensitive already
(2/9/2013 8:22:39 PM)
To 29
The commercial is not meant for the average american, its for the New York Area, since it is for the NY Powerball Lottery. The bris issue is pretty much known in New York, since it is one of Mayor Bloomberg's campaigns.
(2/9/2013 8:57:12 PM)
thats so random...... wat is their point???
(2/10/2013 12:10:55 AM)
"As Ed Koch now knows, one day the mayor will have to a answer for his actions."

What "actions" - asking people to sign a consent form? Oh, the horror!

"This is no laughing matter and it's even frightening that the government is trying to regulate religious practice,"

The government isn't trying to regulate religious practice. It has an obligation to protect public health and the welfare of children. Get over yourselves.
(2/10/2013 3:33:00 AM)
right on.
(2/10/2013 11:26:20 AM)
To 29
The NY lottery has costumers as far as Alaska. Don't tell me it not a national ad
(2/10/2013 3:01:51 PM)
Take notice
What bothers me most about the offensive joke in the ad is that they only chose the Jewish religion to pick on. That's not good. If they had made fun of other religious practices from a different religion, it would be a much different scenario. It's still just a joke, but jokes can lead to bad places.
(2/10/2013 4:32:25 PM)
And parents signing a consent form does NOTHING to protect the health or welfare of children.
(2/10/2013 4:48:35 PM)
Thanks for bringing that inner joke to a wider audience than yourself.
(2/10/2013 5:21:42 PM)
to 44 from 35
Wake up - it is so obvious - as is the hate behind this video.

to 42: If they had picked Islam, they would be facing death threats!
(2/11/2013 12:59:46 AM)
love it
nice commercial not discriminatory at all
(2/12/2013 9:58:17 AM)
Without a doubt anti-semitic
Herpetologist refers to one who studies amphibians and exposes how offensive this ad actually is in that it promotes anti-semitic conspiracy theories that Jews are actually "demonic reptilian lizards who rule the world", suggesting that therefore their Rabbis or Chassidim are experts on amphibians.

What is most shocking is that this is a government sponsored ad.
(2/12/2013 2:02:10 PM)
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