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Matzah and Hakuna Matata Beat All

April 12, 2012 By: By:
Arts & Entertainment Editor
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Seder, you with the stars in your eyes: Bagels n' Box's Jon Murstein (left) and Jay Stone

Hide the afikomen! Cover up the lamb shank! They've already stolen the funny bones.

Jon Murstein, cantor and municipal fund/commodities trader, and Jay Stone, singer and ecology/sustainability consultant, won't be put in a box -- unless, of course, it's Passover.
For that, the two longtime buddies from Boca Raton, Fla., are doing a beatbox Passover parody of matzah magic now going viral www.bagelsnbox.com.

And who knew Simba was Jewish? Or could roar the Four Questions for that matter? Starting out with a send-up of the opening scene of The Lion King and trekking through the Promised Land of Miami Beach, the two take on the holiday in a way that would make Elijah laugh (if only he would show up for a performance; he's so hard to pin down.).

But many do: Murstein and Stone have staged their set-ups throughout New Jersey, New York, Florida and elsewhere, with a targeted market of kids 4 to 14.

In a way, what the two are doing is their birthright; indeed, Stone, 28, chips away at any misconceptions he can about Judaism whenever he can. He is proudly involved with the Birthright Israel Foundation, which he represented as one of 10 international ambassadors on its 2009 "Decade Alumni Trip."

Shimon Peres tripping out to Stone's beatbox "Sh'ma Israel" rendition? Stone's not talking, but the 10,000 others who also showed for the performance gave shout-outs to the beatboxer with an MBA.

While Murstein and Stone's online take-down of the holiday -- soon available as a CD on their site -- is hilarious, it does have its serious intent: "To engage kids in Hebrew prayer " while also engaging them in laughter, claims Stone.

By the way, is that Simon Cowell playing the viral Pharaoh? Well, it sure ain't Paula Abdul: (And it sure ain't Cowell, either.) Jay did a Stone-cold beatbox audition for American Idol's ninth season and made it to Hollywood.

His gold card now is to Hollywood, Fla., where the Passover parody -- with a "Dayenu" to die for -- plays well.

But then, who could pass up a Passover send-up that ends in a credit sequence giving a salute to Mufasa, father of Simba?

Well, it is, after all, avows Stone, all about the circle of life.

And also about "making people laugh."

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