December 28, 2005

Melty Menorah

Menorah by the radiator

Happy Hanukkah!

Photo courtesy of CK1

December 25, 2005

Jewltide in Brooklyn

Tomer Yosef, mad MC of Balkan Beat Box

Who says we New York City Jews have to go to Manhattan to have a good time on Christmas Eve? Last night I went to JDub's Jewltide at Southpaw here in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where Balkan Beat Box rocked the house with their gut-quaking world beats. These guys put on a fantastic show, and the energy in the club was intense.

If you haven't heard Balkan Beat Box yet, I recommend you listen to their tracks online. Make sure you have plenty of headroom when the music starts, because you are going to be hopping in no time.

Aaron Bisman, Co-Founder and Executive Director of JDub Records, lights the menorah in the Festival of Rights

BBB's resident Belly Dancer. A Great Miracle Happened Here!

Hanging loose with my foxy friend and local Sloper, "Christmas" Carol King

December 23, 2005

A Very Shabot Xmas

This year I've been so busy with client projects that I did not have a chance to produce my own Shabot Chanukkah or Christmas special animation. But in the spirit of the holidays, I present to you last year's animated special, A Very ShaBot Christmas!

Last year I got quite a few angry e-mails from people who were offended by my Chinese food delivery boy and his broken English. They said I was being racist. Interestingly, no one wrote to complain about my big-nosed Jew or the stingy Jewish robot.

Anyway, Merry Christmas.

December 18, 2005

Rav-ing Fans

Rav Shmuel and a new fan

Last night I went to see Rav Shmuel perform at the Side Walk Café in the East Village, having been invited by my two new adorable friends, Cordula and Elisheva (Monsey girls rule!) Rav, described as a "A Beer Drinking Songwriting Rabbi" put on a fantastic show, and really had the house rocking. He opened with a soulful cover of Radiohead's Karma Police, followed by a chill rendition of The Ramones I Wanna Be Sedated! The ukulele-toting rabbi, accompanied by his "all-Kike band" (including guitarist Yoshie from Juez), continued through the night with Rav's original tunes, which I highly recommend checking out.

After the show I got to meet Rav, and gave him a big hug in behalf of all his female admirers. Turns out Rav is a fan of my cartoons! We are now mutual fans.

Late at night, a few stragglers, including me and Cordula, were treated to an impromptu acoustic encore presentation, up close and personal with Rav. It was a wonderful experience.

I'll see you at the next show!

More photos below.

Me flanked by sweethearts Cordula and Elisheva

Cordula and b. Baruch stayed up late for the after show

Hanging outside with Yoshie

December 12, 2005

Into the Void

Okay, so I've spent the last year and a half poking fun at JDate with my Shabot comics. Which is why it is so ironic that, due to recent circumstances, I have once again returned to the clutches of that cursed online dating service.

Times sure have changed since I last used JDate, which was way back in early 2001. Now there are "Flirts" and "Teases", new ways of telling someone you are too lame to even construct an e-mail. And you can see who has looked at your profile, and at what time, and if you've been added to a Hot List (although I think this feature must be broken). There is also a quirky Instant Message system that apparently allows you to send a one-way message to another member while you sit and stare at the screen for a long time, but get no response. It's good fun.

It would be even more fun if someone would write back to my JDate letters. I only write to women whose profiles I find appealing, and I try to show genuine interest by composing highly personalized messages instead of resorting to a generic stock letter.

My sorrowfully ineffective method has been to start with a humorous reference to their profile, to show I was actually paying attention. For your enjoyment, I've compiled a select list of actual clips from letters I've sent to other JDate members. Invariably, I get no response.

Tell me, would you write back?

To the psychologist:
Can I book an hour of couch time?

To the entrepreneur who quit law school and her job on Wall St. to start a cookie company:
Subject: I did it all for the cookie
Message: Wall Street, law school, now cookies. You're in it for the DOUGH!

To the "Vice President with Looks"
I typically only date Presidents but I would be willing to lower the bar and make an exception here.

To the girl who, well ... I can understand why she didn't write back:
If we went on a date I think I could overcome the fact that you bear an uncanny resemblance to my sister.

To a girl who claims "Make me laugh and I become like silly puddy":
Would be great to make you laugh so you become like silly puddy. Then we could press you against a newspaper and make an impression of the newsprint.

To the defense attorney:
If I was a defense attorney, every night when I went to sleep, I'd shout, "The defense rests!"

To a girl who insists "I also want to meet a man who knows what he's doing in bed."
You got me thinking, am I a man who knows what he's doing in bed? Well, I know I'm reaching over to carve another notch on the bedpost, and sometimes I'm phoning my mates to tell them I've scored again. I'm kidding. These days it's all about text messaging.

NB: I actually did hear back from this gal, and we went on a date. She confessed that all the bedroom talk was just a way to lure men into sending her outrageous responses for a social experiment she is conducting. We are sure to be best of friends.

To the girl who awards "big bonus points if you love to read":
In response to your essay, I must confess: I am not a reader. It's not that I don't like to read ... I CAN'T read! I never learned how. Sure, I can write, but I can never go back and read what I've written to make corrections. (You may be asking, how did I read your letter? Easy: Helper monkey)

To the girl looking for Prince Charming:
Subject: I'm Prince Farming
Message: I don't know how charming I am, but I was born on a farm.

To the graduate from a "top university":
[...] To maintain your reputation as an MBA from a top university, you should correct the typo with "atrractive" in that last paragraph.

To the girl who loves sharks:
P.S. -- You dig sharks, eh? I have an ancient fossilized 4" long shark tooth (that's not a pickup line).

To the speech language pathologist:
Subject: Aphasia got me in a haze-ia

To the girl whose biggest turn-off is negativity:
I'm trying to come up with a way to say, "I'm not negative", but that in itself is a double negative.

To the girl with no picture, and a "small frame" body type
Do you have a photo to go with that small frame of yours?

It is going to be a long winter for the JewishRobot.

December 11, 2005

Cartoon Clinic

I have spoken with confidence in front of audiences of hundreds of people at technology conferences, but put me in front of a group of ten kids and I'm quaking in my boots! Today I hosted a "Cartoon Clinic" at Congregation Shearith Israel, The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue on the Upper West Side here in New York City. We started off with a small group of six children, ages ranging from 4 to 7, much younger than I had expected. And they ate me alive! Just kidding, these kids were great, and really enthusiastic about drawing cartoons.

We started off with a brief presentation of my cartoon animations, which the children really seemed to enjoy. They had a lot of good questions about animation production, and I'm hoping that one day I can return for a longer time slot to show them some cool animation techniques.

Since we only had an hour before the parents finished their class, we went straight into the comic strip business. First we learned about the standard three-panel strip, and the wonderful world of speech bubbles! Then we did a practice round in which the students filled in their own jokes and speech bubbles on a blank Shabot comic strip template. My favorite was, "Shabbat Shalom. You look hot!"

Then we pretended we were professional cartoonists being hired by a newspaper to do some comic strips. We each picked two topics out of a hat, words like SNAKE, BEE, FISH, LOLLIPOP, and FLOWER. The rules were simple: draw a comic strip using the two words, and those objects have to talk to each other. The kids were very creative, and came up with some really cool comic strips. They liked their own work so much that I didn't get to keep a copy of any, but I'll see if I can track one down to post here.

It was a fun time, and I hope to be invited back again. A few of the parents asked if I do birthday parties. I haven't yet, but I'm thinking I should consider it. Especially if the kids have much older sisters.

Tonight ...



Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (Robert Smigel)
Saturday Night Live star Rachel Dratch
Hip hop provocateur Princess Superstar
Celebrated female rappers Northern State
The Cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
The Daily Show‚s Eric Drysdale
Actress/comedian Jackie Hoffman
Comic genius Judy Gold
Funnyman Todd Barry
Comedian Rebecca Drysdale
And many more of today‚s most celebrated Jewish artists (to be announced)

WHAT: A Jewcy Chanukah to Benefit Natan

WHEN: Sunday, December 11, 2005, 8PM

WHERE: Crobar, 530 W. 28th St. (10th-11th Aves.), New York City

TICKETS: Available via or 212.868.4444. Tickets range from $25 for general admission to $5,000 for VIP tables.

WHY: Channeling the electricity of the new Jewish movement, a stellar roster of Jewish artists will headline an historic concert bridging the best of Jewish pop culture with the Jewish legacy of charity.

Produced by young Jews, for young Jews (and those who love them), the first annual Jewcy Chanukah is poised to become a new holiday tradition for New Yorkers seeking something more „Jewcy‰ than dreidel-spinning contests or Matzoh Balls.

Hosted by Jewcy (, the hot-as-latkes collective leading a new wave of Jewish culture and pride, the concert will benefit Natan ( a philanthropic network of young Jews seeking to help transform the Jewish future by funding innovative solutions to address crucial questions of Jewish life.

December 06, 2005

Got T-Shirt?

Back in November I participated in the Jewschool fundrasier for the Jewish Fund for Justice. I left a little early that night, but a few days later I received notice that I had won a YidGear t-shirt in the Jewschool raffle. Here I am with my new shirt, gonna' wear it out today ... Got Milchig? Thanks, Isaac!

Yes, I did try a photo with me wearing a milk moustache, but it looked mildly perverted.

November 29, 2005

War and Piece

Yet another reason to go to Israel. This photo of an armed soldier was taken at the Israeli Air Force Base (Bacha) during a 2005 Birthright Israel trip.

Photo courtesy of Carol King

November 27, 2005

Robots in Space

. . . Myspace, that is. Join Shabot at his new home on! Feel free to share your comments and ideas with me and other Shabot fans.

You can also be my friend, though I'm not nearly as cool as the robot.

I'm just learning how to use Myspace, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to post below.

November 20, 2005

The ladies love Shabot!

Despite his crass and male chauvinistic ways, Shabot still gets the ladies! Is it because he is so adorable? Not necessarily so. According to a recent study in the New Scientist, women get a bigger buzz from cartoons than men do.
In particular, women appear to have a lower expectation that the cartoon will be funny than men. “Women appear to have less expectation of a reward, which in this case was the punch line of the cartoon. So when they got to the joke’s punch line, they were more pleased about it.”

I find this news somewhat comforting: Even if my jokes start slipping and my male audience are left disappointed, my female audience should remain pleased. And that is the whole reason Shabot exists in the first place.

November 18, 2005


Goddess Perlman transforms into the quintessential JDate wannabe bride

It was a cold and wet evening on Wednesday night, but those who came were warmly received at the 14th Street Y's FIX Benefit Performance & Exhibition about Tikkun Olam, Reparing the World. It was a small crowd, which made the performances feel more intimate, and I got to meet some very funny and talented people.

Erez and Yoshie Fruchter of Juez take us on a musical journey

Curtain call for Tracy Podell, Alyssa Abrahamson, Amy Shapiro, and Carl Kissin

November 17, 2005

The "Free Choice" Concert

I met Ahron Moeller at the Jewschool fundraiser last week. Cool guy, his band is performing tonight:

Artists for Starving People 
the "Free Choice" concert.
This--Thursday, November 17, 8:30PM
1025 6th Ave. @ 38th Street, NYC

the Cause:
On Thursday, November 17th, Artists for Starving People will host the
second episode of its ongoing concert/benefit series at the historic
Millinery Shul located in the heart of Midtown NYC.  Last time we raised
$1,000+  to help a struggling family pay the rent. 
This time, instead of getting rich and fat off our success,
we are raffling off a one-way plane ticket, and giving
You four of Alt-Jewish Music’s hottest acts.
The winner gets to choose their destination: 
Amsterdam or Israel. 
the Music:
Blanket StatementStein (back from the UK) 
White Shabbos (Irish/bluegrass/punk) new album out soon.
rocky arena rock (80s classics) 
Y-Love (Aramaic hip hop),
and Yosef from the Moshav Band. (Israel/LA)
All paid attendees will be automatically entered in the
raffle drawing which will be held at the end of the show.

Tickets $5 (includes 1 raffle).  Additional raffles $5 each.  For more
information contact Aaron  Moeller
Millinery Shul, 1025 6th Ave. @ 38th Street, NYC

November 15, 2005

Live! from Kosherfest 2005

I just got back from Kosherfest 2005 at the Javits Convention Center here in NYC. There wasn't much time to take photos between all the noshing, but here are a few nice ones. Click to see larger versions:

Sara Schwimmer of ChosenCouture, reporter E.B. Solomont, Steven I. Weiss of, and Ben Baruch (me)

Leo Schnitzler et al of Brooklyn based YumTee ... "NUTS OVER NUTS!"

Steven I. Weiss investigates the aftermath of a squabble that involved the violent tossing of a tomato-based barbecue sauce. Fighting at Kosherfest ... NOT KOSHER!

Sara Schwimmer, Steven I. Weiss, and yours truly, in front of the Sabra food booth. I'm hopped up on hummus.

The Science Behind Acts of God

Speaking of tikkun olam, Wired News is running an article, The Science Behind Acts of God, by Jeff MacIntyre, featuring an interview with Simon Winchester, author of the new book, A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906:

In April 2006, it will be the hundredth anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco quake. In terms of science, it was a great tipping point. Up until that point, the principal human reaction to great catastrophes was to assume it was the work of God. Come 1906, we began to think of it rationally. It was a hinge point leading up to the discovery of seismology.

The comics I am donating to the FIX fundraiser all have to do with natural disaster, and God's role in them. They will be on display in the art gallery at the 14th Street Y.

FIX: A Benefit Performance & Exhibition

Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 16, 2005, I am pleased to be participating in the NYC 14th Street Y FIX Benefit Exhibition about Tikkun Olam, where some of my more pertinent comics will be on display. Info and invite below:

The 14th Street Y's Jewish Artists Workshop Presents FIX

A Benefit Performance & Exhibition about Tikkun Olam, "Repairing the World"

Come experience artistic interpretations of tikkun olam that range from savvy to silly to sophisticated.

Featuring Julie Gayer and Tracy Podell (dance), Carl Kissin (comedy), Amy Shapiro (performance art), David Cohen (poetry) with the Goddess Perlman of Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad (singer/chanteuse) as the Mistress of Ceremonie and a surprise live DJ set by dj handler.

And, William Levin a.k.a. Ben Baruch (comic strip), Ellen Levitt (photography), Bonnie Maranz (collage), Bara Sapir (sculpture), Gayle Weisman (collage).

Wed, November 16
7PM Gallery Reception/8PM Performance, $10
The 14th Street Y (344 East 14th Street @ 1st Avenue),
All proceeds go to UJA-Federation of New York's Hurricane Relief Fund

November 14, 2005

Get on the Bus

Check out my new animation, "Get on the Bus", produced for West Coast NCSY.

"Don't let what happened to young Davy happen to you. Be sure to get on the right bus ... the NCSY bus!"

If you would like a cartoon produced for your organization, please contact me.

Shabot Down Under

Kosher Kangaroos! Throw another schnitzel on the barbie! I am pleased to announce that my Shabot 6000 comic strip will be syndicated in the new online publication, the Australia Jewish Times.

Sh'lom, mate!

November 13, 2005

Adee Good's Goods

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of finding Adee Good on Craigslist. Adee is a very talented and creative artist here in Brooklyn. One of her specialties is dolls, and as you can see, Adee has applied her exceptional craftsmanship to the characters of Shabot 6000!

In the future, Adee and I may work together to bring you miniature versions of these wonderful and cuddly plush doll versions of Shabot and Moti. Feel free to let me know if you would be interested in owning a set by posting below. In the meantime, Adee is ready to create custom dolls just for you, of anything you'd like!

Check out more of Adee's goods at

Jewschool FUN-raiser

Above: Jewschool's Lilit Marcus, Shabot creator Ben Baruch (me), journalist Steven I. Weiss, dancer Rachel Feinerman, and Nextbook's Stephen Vider. Photo courtesy of Jewschool

Hi all, I had a fun time Thursday night at the Jewschool fundrasier for the Jewish Fund for Justice. I got to hang out with the coolest folks from the NYC Jewish online community. I was happy to contribute two Shabot kippot to the raffle, one of which Mobius liked so much, he's bringing it back with him to Israel.

Hope to see everyone again--as well as some new folks--at future events. Read more about the party, along with more photos, courtesy of Jewschool.

September 01, 2005

The New Jew: Uncovering the Un-Movement

"The New Jew: Uncovering the Un-Movement"

Article by Richard Greenberg and Debra Nussbaum Cohen for B'nai B'rith Magazine, Fall 2005

Page 3 features a Shabot comic strip with the caption, "From the pen of cartoonist William Levin, 33 (AKA Ben Baruch)—a dose of bitingly irreverent New Jew-ish humor"

Download the PDF (no longer archived at

July 10, 2005

Iranian Jewish Chronicle

Article "Passover the Animation, 50 Cent Style" by Kristopher White, printed July 10, 2005, for The Iranian Jewish Chronicle

May 05, 2005

KALX Interview

William Levin is interviewed by Rebekah Kouy-Ghadosh of Berkeley KALX for the May Day (and Passover) Show, May 1, 2005

From the Oy Mendele! podcast site:
Shabot6000 creator Ben Baruch discusses how and why he draws a comic strip about an Orthodox man who builds a robot to do work for him on shabbat, only to have his techno-shabbat-goy aspirations frustrated by said robot's conversion to Judaism. Baruch also makes animations using the Shabot6000 cast, and you can hear a couple of bits from Seda Club, a pretty hilarious Passover/50 Cent spoof.

April 30, 2005

Oy, Robot posts Liel Liebovitz's article, "Oy, Robot", reprinted from his article "An Unlikely Pairing" in The Jewish Week.

April 29, 2005

The Biggest Pessah Ever

Article "The Biggest Pessah Ever" by Uriel Heilman for the Jerusalem Post, dated April 29, 2005, mentions Shabot 6000:
Another Internet cartoonist, William Levin, did a version of the popular rapper 50 Cent singing about the Ten Plagues: "Blood in the river/ back off nigga'/ Don't you f--k with 50 Cent/ I'll pull the trigga'." With more than one million hits, the cartoon, at, was ranked No. 7 in the Top 10 "movers and shakers" on the web this week, according to the web tracking company Alexa (The Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club ranked No. 2).
"There is a growing, almost clich trend of making Jewish culture 'in-your-face' cool by mixing in elements of hip-hop and rap," Levin said. "I was trying to poke fun at that trend a little bit."
Read the article here (no longer online at

April 25, 2005

Shabot Makes Alexa Top Ten Movers & Shakers

Shabot's Seda' Club launches into #7 in the Top Ten Movers & Shakers on website traffic metrics service,, for the week of April 25, 2005!
See the web archive of the Alexa Top Ten from 2005 here.

February 25, 2005

A Robot Speaks, and Online Fans Express Joy

Article "A Robot Speaks, and Online Fans Express Joy" by Steven I. Weiss for The Jewish Daily Forward, February 25, 2005:
Christmas Eve comes with a lot of anticipation for those who celebrate the holiday. But for thousands of Jewish fans of the online comic strip “ShaBot6000,” anticipation took a different form: On December 24, 2004, their favorite cartoon character spoke.
Read the article here.

February 11, 2005

Shabot on UJC

Liel Leibovitz's article "An Unlikely Pairing" from The Jewish Week is reprinted on

An Unlikely Pairing

Article "An Unlikely Pairing" by Liel Liebovitz for The Jewish Week, posted February 11, 2005:
The strip embodies Levin’s mission: an irreverent, funny, yet ultimately respectful examination of Orthodox Judaism. To enhance the humor with a dollop of edification, he concludes each strip with footnotes that lucidly clarify key religious concepts. In just one year of weekly online publication, Shabot and his master have taken on several pillars of Jewish life, from tzedakah to JDate. And it just might take a robot, Levin hopes, to start a serious conversation about Judaism.
Read the rest of the article.