Meyer, a lonely widower, was walking home along Delancy Street one day wishing something wonderful would happen in his life, when he passed a pet store and heard a squawking voice shouting out in Yiddish, "Qwawwwk ... vus machts du?" (how're ya doin') "Yeah, du." (Yeah, you.)
Meyer rubbed his eyes and ears. Couldn't believe it. Perfect Yiddish.
The proprietor urged him, "Come in here, fella, and check out this parrot..."
Meyer did. An African Grey cocked his little head and said: "Vus? Kenstsprechen Yiddish?" (What? Can you speak Yiddish?)
In a matter of moments, Meyer had placed five hundred dollars 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 late wife, Sarah, was when she was a young bride. About his family. About his years of working in the garment district. About Florida. The parrot listened and commented. They shared some walnuts. The parrot told him of living in the pet store, how lonely he would get on the weekends. They both went to sleep.
Next morning, Meyer began to put on his tefillin, all the while saying his prayers. The parrot demanded to know what he was doing and when Meyer explained, the parrot wanted to do the same. Meyer went out and had a miniature set of tefillin hand made for the parrot.
The parrot wanted to learn to daven, and learned every prayer. He even 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 fellow Jew.
One morning, on Rosh Hashanah, Meyer rose and got dressed and was about to leave when the parrot demanded to go with him. Meyer explained that Shul was not a place for a bird, but the parrot made a terrific argument, so Meyer relented and carried the bird to Shul on his shoulder.
Needless to say, they made quite a spectacle, and Meyer was questioned by everyone, including the Rabbi and the Cantor. They refused to allow a bird into the building on the High Holy Days, but Meyer persuaded them to let him in this one time, swearing that parrot could daven.
Wagers were made with Meyer.
Thousands of dollars were bet that the parrot could NOT daven, 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, "Daven!"
"Daven...parrot, you can daven, so daven...come on, everyone is looking at you!"
After Rosh Hashanah services were concluded, Meyer found that he owed his Shul buddies and the Rabbi over four thousand dollars..
He marched home, so upset he said nothing to the parrot.
Finally several blocks from the Temple, the parrot began to sing an old Yiddish song, as happy as a lark.
Meyer stopped and looked at him.
"Why? After I had tefillin made for you and taught you the morning prayers, and taught you to read Hebrew and the Torah. And after you begged me to bring you to Shul on Rosh Hashana, why? WHY?!? Why did you do this to me?"
"Meyer, don't be a schmuck," the parrot replied. "Think of the odds we'll get on Yom Kippur."