Yaakov Bodo

Yaakov (Yankale) Bodo (Hebrew: יעקב (יענק'לה) בודו‎‎) (born 1931) is an Israeli actor and comedian notable for numerous Israeli film appearances, for his years in theater, and for his work in the Yiddish language theater in particular. He is also notable for his performance as "Moishe Ventilator" (also Moishe Air-Condition [2]) in the self-titled theater show that ran over a thousand times and was eventually made into a film by that name in 1966.[1]

Bodo is a recipient of the Israeli Theater Award lifetime achievement award, the Edith and Israel Pollack Award, and the Lerner Yiddish Foundation Award.


Early years

Bodo was born in Romania in 1931, and spoke only Yiddish until the age of 7. He emigrated with his family to Israel in 1950 and settled in Afula. His grandparents were Zionists who helped establish Kfar Hasidim and Kiryat Haroshet after they emigrated to Palestine in 1933 (then under British Mandate control).[1]

Early career

A year after his arrival in Israel, Bodo joined the Israel Defense Forces, where he first assembled and led the Southern Command Troupe. Following the disbanding of that troupe in 1954, he was assigned the creation of the Northern Command troupe, which he led for three and a half years.

During this period, he came up with his "Moishe Ventilator" character. Upon his release, he starred in a theater show by that name which was a hit in the 1950s—running more than a thousand times[1][2]—and which was eventually made into a film version.[1]


Bodo performed on the stages of the institutionalized theaters Zira Theatre, Habima Theatre, Haifa Theatre as well as commercial theater, mostly in the Yiddish language, where he was successful. In 1992 he joined the Yiddish-Shpiel theater where he mostly performs in leading roles. Among the more notable plays he performed in were "Maagal HaGir" (lit. "The Chalk Circle"), and "Karnafim" (lit. "Rhinoceroses").


In 1964 he performed in Ephraim Kishon's critically acclaimed film Sallah Shabati (Hebrew: סלאח שבתי‎‎) alongside notable actors and performers such as Chaim Topol, Gila Almagor, Zaharira Harifai, Shaike Levi, and Arik Einstein. The film was a satirical portrayal of the poor conditions and the integration of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands living in the maabara.

In 1966, Bodo's character, Moishe Ventilator,[3][4] was picked up and made into a parody film by the same name (Hebrew: מוישה ונטילטור‎‎), where, under the direction of Uri Zohar, Bodo, accompanied by Shaike Ophir and the Gashah HaHiver trio, portrayed a frugal private whose cost cutting ideas include cutting on maps in the operation room, which are coveted by a spy who infiltrates the IDF ranks.[5][6]

In 1967, he performed in Kishon's film Ervinka (Hebrew: ארבינקא‎‎, Starred by Chaim Topol), about an incorrigible layabout who becomes involved in a robbery of the Israeli lottery under the cover of making a documentary.

Bodo has also performed in the films The Fox in the Chicken Coop (Hebrew: השועל בלול התרנגולות‎‎), Nahche and The General (Hebrew: נחצ'ה והגנרל‎‎), Millionaire in Trouble (Hebrew: מיליונר בצרות‎‎), Margo Sheli (Hebrew: מרגו שלי‎‎), Take When They Give (Hebrew: כשנותנים קח‎‎), Five Five (Hebrew: חמש חמש‎‎), A Miracle in The Village (Hebrew: נס בעיירה‎‎), Just Not on Saturday (Hebrew: רק לא בשבת‎‎), Not a Word to Morgenstern (Hebrew: אף מילה למורגנשטרן‎‎), and others.


Yaakov Bodo has been awarded the 2009 Israeli Theater Award lifetime achievement award, the Edith and Israel Pollack Award for 1999, and the Lerner Yiddish Foundation Award for 2000.

Personal life

Bodo is married with three children and has five grandchildren. He is still married to his wife and personal manager, Ester, whom he met in Afula, the city that his family was sent to soon after they emigrated to Israel in the early 1950s.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Yaakov Bodo Biography page on habama.co.il
  2. ^ Yudilovich, Merav (16 February 2009). "Margalit Award for Lifetime Achievement will be Given to Yaakov Bodo" (in Hebrew). Ynet. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  3. ^ Moishe Ventilator on habama.co.il
  4. ^ Moishe Ventilator on IMDB
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Moishe Ventilator on tapuz.co.il