Joel Chasnoff graduated from university and entered into a career as a stand-up comic. The proceeding life of living in a basement apartment in Brooklyn and facing rejection from audiences was not what he had envisioned. So he enlisted in the Israeli army. The Jewish Daily Forward reports:
Chasnoff is 24 when he enlists, but his peers in the Armored Tank Brigade are 18. The difference in their maturity is a Grand Canyon-sized chasm, aggravated by the fact that Chasnoff has joined the Israeli military out of conviction, unlike his peers, who are there because of conscription.
The differences yield amusing fruit. Chasnoff is great at capturing dialogue, and the language used by the boys is colorful, to say the least. Chasnoff has received a swift and thorough education in Hebrew profanity. (Writing anything these guys say to one another in a newspaper article would be unseemly.) The interactions with one another veer perilously close to slapstick comedy, ranging from the Medical Excuse Guys’ endless efforts to get out of work to the description of the soldiers eating like monkeys with their fingers.
Chasnoff has written a book, The 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid From Chicago Fights Hezbollah
, which documents his his time in the army; The Jewish Week has a well written review
On Apr 19, Joel Chasnoff and Anthony Swofford (Jarhead: A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War), with editor at large of Esquire magazine A. J. Jacobs as moderator, will discuss the sick—and, at times, disturbingly hilarious—culture of modern war, from the psyche of the American marine to the Israeli mission in Lebanon.
Upcoming talks at 92Y:
Love, Hate and the Israel Debate: Mar 10
Rabbi Capers Funnye in Conversation with Ari L. Goldman: Mar 2
The Peace Movement of the ’60s: Mar 14
A Conversation with General Petraeus: Apr 22