Yisrael Campbell is far from the typical Israeli. To start with he was born in Philladelphia and the blood that runs through his veins is Irish (and Italian).
Seventeen years ago Campbell pitched up in Israel on a student visa, met the woman he would later marry and changed religion to Orthodox Judaism along the way.
If that sounds like an unusual, if not unique, life story you’d be right: the Irish and Jewish communities in America do not frequently intermarry and the number of Jews in Ireland has only ever numbered a few thousand at any one time.
With this in mind, Campbell was determined to share his special story with the world and he put pen to paper and turned it into a comedy show.
“My Beard is My Best Friend” is the result and it’s showing in the Khan Theater in Jerusalem on December 27 and 28.
Director and co-author Gary Rudoren hinted at what the audience should expect: “A lot of Yisrael’s comedy isn’t based on being Jewish, but on his unusual choices.”
“The world’s most unique comedian,” the show declares on its website, “Yisrael Campbell’s observational and hilariously honest comedy spans from his days growing up Irish and Catholic in Philadelphia through the roller coaster ride of modern day life in Jerusalem. This special event will feature classic Yisrael comedy as well as his uproarious views on his life’s everyday complications.”
It might not surprise you to learn that this is not his first foray in comedy: in 2008 he performed in a Broadway Show called “Circumcise Me” that led to a documentary being made about him.
“My Beard is My Best Friend” is also being recorded and Campbell hopes it will be broadcast on TV as well.