Country Yossi is the name of a monthly, English-language Orthodox Jewish magazine, a radio show, a collection of musical albums, and children's books created, composed, authored, and published by Yossi (Joseph) Toiv, who took on the nickname "Country Yossi" and then transferred it onto the magazine, radio show, musical albums, and children's books he published for the mostly Orthodox Jewish market in the United States.
Country Yossi radio show
Toiv, going by the name of "Country Yossi" on radio, is the host of the light-hearted, Orthodox Jewish radio program "Country Yossi Show" in the New York City area, which he pioneered. The show has been on the air continuously since 1986.
Country Yossi Magazine
In 1988, Toiv began publishing a monthly magazine entitled Country Yossi Magazine, which has printed over 3 million copies. Working with Heshy Walfish, he has released 14 humorous music albums on Orthodox Jewish themes.
Promotion of new musical talent
Through his magazine and radio show, Toiv has promoted the careers of many singers and entertainers catering to the Orthodox Jewish market, including Dovid Gabay, Avi Newmark, Yacov Young, Shua Kessin, Yossi Green, Eli Gerstner, and Shauli.
Others have noted that Toiv stuck to his Orthodox Jewish beliefs even though he works and presents in a light-hearted and amusing fashion:
Another Orthodox songwriter, Country Yossi (Yossi Toiv), who got his name from his Jewish parodies of country tunes, takes a no-nonsense approach to Jewish practice. His song "Cuz I'm a Jew" (set to the tune of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line") includes the line, "Oh once a year I twirl a chicken over my head/ and it wouldn't be that bad if it were dead/ and there's a time when I go outside and burn my bread/ cause I'm a Jew I do that too.
Articles of interest to Orthodox community
The monthly Country Yossi magazine gears itself to the interest of its mostly English-speaking readership. Many types of topics are discussed and often controversial issues are broached by its writers, a few of whom are notable rabbis in their own right. Various articles relating to the controversy surrounding Chabad messianism were published in the 1990s. Issues pertaining to Orthodox teens dropping out of yeshivas were noted on the Shema Yisrael Torah Network.
Country Yossi promoted the music of Shlomo Carlebach, the "singing rabbi" as author Yitta Halberstam attests:
Yossi Toiv, a courageous and creative man, has published many of the controversial articles that I wrote for his magazine. Among those articles was a lengthy piece about Reb Shlomo [Carlebach], and it was the warm and enthusiastic reaction of the heimishe public to that piece that helped spur my decision to write the book.
The magazine's ratings of top selling English-language Judaica books tracks recent publications of interest noted by Judaica book publishers, including Rabbi Daniel Feldman (Yashar Books) and Tova Mordechai (Urim Publications).
Country Yossi music and songs
Toiv was a pioneering Jewish composer and singer in the modern Jewish song genre according to popular Jewish singer Mordechai ben David. The NCSY youth organization promotes Country Yossi music.
Among Toiv's recordings are six albums under the name Country Yossi and the Shteeble Hoppers, three albums as a member of "The Or Chodosh" ("The New Light") circa 1971–73, and a series of five albums for children called Kivi and Tuki. Two animated Kivi and Tuki DVDs have also been released. Through Country Yossi Productions various new releases are composed and marketed: "Moisheleh" Mumbai Tribute, "Country Yossi and the Shteeble-Hoppers."
Country Yossi children's books
Country Yossi books are widely sold by Judaica stores. In 2007 Toiv published an illustrated children's book Kivi & Tuki in "...All of a Sudden!"
- "Jewish songs composed or authored by Yossi Toiv". savethemusic.com. 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "Displaying Songs in Shmuel Brazil – Yossi Toiv – The New Light". Trustees of Dartmouth College. 2007. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- Eller, Sandy. "Dovid Gabay Presents Eretz Yisroel". Country Yossi Magazine. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- Eller, Sandy. "Newmark Productions: Building An Empire, One Song At A Time". Country Yossi Magazine. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "Country Yossi Magazine". yacovyoung.com. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "Shua Kessin Article in Country Yossi". shuakessin.com. October 29, 2009. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "Audio: “Bye Bye Bye” – Shua Kessin Brings A Fresh Style". matzav.com. September 16, 2009. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "Yossi Green: The 8th Note (audio)". gruntig.net. March 20, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "Yosis By Eli Gerstner". eligerstner.com. February 2001. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- Zweig, Yossi (2009). "Three's a Winner". theyeshivaboyschoir.com. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "Shauli: Press". shaulismusic.com. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- Brosseau, Miriam. "Jewish Children's Music Grows Up: From Uncle Moishy to OyBaby". myjewishlearning.com. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
- "Chassidus Unlimited". chassidusunlimited.tripod.com. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- Deckelman, Paul (March 1994). "Frum Kids on the Street: Saving the yeshiva children of the night". Country Yossi Family Magazine. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- Halberstam, Yitta (2002). Holy Brother: Inspiring stories and enchanted tales about Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Jason Aronson Books. ISBN 0-7657-6209-9. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
- "R. Daniel Feldman on the Bestseller List". Country Yossi Magazine. July 31, 2005.
- "To Play With Fire: One woman's remarkable odyssey". Urim Publications. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "Exclusive: Mordechai Ben David Interview". Emunah Magazine. May 9, 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "NCSY Presents the Jewish Version, A New CD Featuring Familiar Tunes with Jewish Lyrics". ou.org. March 25, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- ""Moisheleh" Mumbai Tribute song by Country Yossi". thejewishinsights.com. 2009. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "Country Yossi Presents: 'Country Yossi and the Shteeble-Hoppers'". mostlymusic.com. July 9, 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "...All of a Sudden: Kivi & Tuki – The Lovable Shteeble-Hoppers". jewishbookhouse.com. 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2010.