Season 1: Episode 6

Rena's Restaurant Reviews

Jake and Mischa are best friends eating at their favorite restaurant when Rena, the coolest food vlogger on SuperTube enters. When the restaurant owner is cruel to a poor man, Craig, Rena intervenes to teach everyone what it means to be a mensch. This story is inspired by a folk tale about Joha, a cunning character, and a poor beggar. Joha is a popular trickster figure in Sephardic Jewish folk tales, but he also shows up in Arabic stories and other traditions as well. In our story, Rena has the savvy and cunning of Joha and uses her wit to help others, including the cranky burger joint owner, Robbie.

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Feeling hungry – or inspired after your listen? Try one of these activities to keep the story going:

  • Cook up some bagel burgers of your own to share with friends
  • Donate or prepare food for a local organization or group that serves others
  • A lot of the events in this story are triggered by the wonderful smells coming from the restaurant. Make some herb and spice playdough or a Havdalah spice sachet to explore the sense of smell with your family.


If you liked this story, you’ll love one of these books:

Find more Joha stories and folk tales:



Episode Notes

Stories of tricksters and fools abound in almost every culture. In Ashkenazic tradition, humorous stories are often set in a village called Chelm, where the silly citizens bumble their way into backward solutions. Sephardic stories, like this one, sometimes star Joha, who at times is conniving but can also be a victim of his own foolishness. Wherever he shows up, the trickster plays a special role. Humor gets at the heart of hidden truths -- it pulls apart assumptions and forces us to look at things differently.

Joha is interesting in that he appears across cultures and in stories from non-Jewish traditions as well. This particular episode is based on a story about Joha helping a baker—one of the few tales where Joha uses his cunning and wit to help another person rather than himself. We hope you enjoy the update with the kind and fast-talking Rena.



Episode Credits

Have I Got a Story For You is a production of PJ Library

Executive producers: Meredith Lewis, Alli Thresher
Director: Alli Thresher
Additional production: Craig Rossein
Website design: Christina Rizer
Audio editing, mixing and mastering: Peter Moore
Theme music: Penelope Alizarin Conley
Score: Peter Moore
Recorded at Palace of Purpose Studios in Malden, MA.
Cover art: Barb Bastian

This episode was written by Jason Allen


Narrator, Rita Toomey: Madelaine Ripley
Rena: Rachel F. Hirsch
Hamu Robbie: Rich Wentworth
Craig: Tau Zaman of the Whisper Forge
Misha: Gwen D’Angelo
Jake: Payton James
Dina: Alli Thresher