Meyer, a lonely widower, was walking home along Delancy Street one day wishing something wonderful would happen into his life when he passed a Pet Store and heard a squawking voice shouting out in Yiddish:
"Quawwwwk...vus macht du...yeah, you...outside, standing like a schmuck...eh?"
Meyer rubbed his eyes and ears. He couldn't believe it!. The proprietor sprang out of the door and grabbed Meyer by the sleeve. "Come in here, fella, and check out this parrot..."
Meyer stood in front of an African Grey that cocked his little head and said: "Vus? Kenst reddin Yiddish?"
Meyer turned excitedly to the store owner. "He speaks Yiddish?"
"What did you expect? Chinese maybe?"
In a matter of moments, Meyer had placed five hundred dollars down on the counter and carried the parrot in his cage away with him. All night he talked with the parrot. In Yiddish. He told the parrot about his father's adventures coming to America. About how beautiful his mother was when she was a young bride. About his family. About his years of working in the garment center. About Florida. The parrot listened and commented. They shared some walnuts. The parrot told him of living in the pet store, how he hated the weekends. They both went to sleep.
Next morning, Meyer began saying his prayers. The parrot demanded to know what he was doing and when Meyer explained, the parrot wanted to pray too. Meyer went out and hand-made a miniature yamulke [skullcap] for the parrot. The parrot wanted to learn to read Hebrew so Meyer spent weeks and months, sitting and teaching the parrot, teaching him Torah. In time, Meyer came to love and count on the parrot as a friend and a Jew. He was lonely no more.
One morning, on Rosh Hashona, Meyer rose and got dressed and was about to leave when the parrot demanded to go with him. Meyer explained that a synagogue was not place for a bird but the parrot made a terrific argument and was carried to the synagogue on Meyer's shoulder. Needless to say, they made quite a spectacle, and Meyer was questioned by everyone, including the Rabbi. At first, he refused to allow a bird into the building on the High Holy Days but Meyer convinced him to let him in this one time, swearing that parrot could pray. Wagers were made with Meyer. Thousands of dollars were bet (even odds) that the parrot could NOT pray, could not speak Yiddish or Hebrew, etc.
All eyes were on the African Grey during services. The parrot perched on Meyer's shoulder as one prayer and song passed - Meyer heard not a peep from the bird. He began to become annoyed, slapping at his shoulder and mumbling under his breath, "Pray already!"
The parrot said nothing.
"Pray...parrot, you can pray, so pray...come on, everybody's looking at you!"
The parrot said nothing.
After Rosh Hashanah services were concluded, Meyer found that he owed his synagogue buddies and the Rabbi over four thousand dollars. He marched home, pissed off, saying nothing. Finally several blocks from the temple the bird began to sing an old Yiddish song and was happy as a lark. Meyer stopped and looked at him.
"You miserable bird, you cost me over four thousand dollars. Why? After I taught you the morning prayers, and taught you to read Hebrew and the Torah. And after you begged me to bring you to a synagogue on Rosh Hashona, why? Why did you do this to me?"
"Don't be a schmuck," the parrot replied. "Think of the odds on Yom Kippur!"