Ads make stars of Jewish retirees
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Ads make stars of Jewish retirees

Both in their 90s, Morty and Lee Kaufman have earned millions of YouTube views in charming series of online commercials

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

An irresistible pair of Jewish nonagenarians is cleaning up when it comes to YouTube hits. Long Island residents Morty and Lee Kaufman are the surprise stars of a series of video ads for Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer cleaning products, which have been racking up millions of views this summer.

It’s hard not to fall in love with diminutive, energetic Lee, 90, who insists on mopping the kitchen floor and climbing onto a rickety step stool to dust the top of the couple’s china cabinet. Morty is equally endearing, sheepishly admitting he doesn’t do any housecleaning, while at the same time being the one who probably creates the most dirt around the house. He does, however, warn Lee to be careful.

“Morty, are you listening?” Lee asks at one point in her recognizable New York patois, praising a new Swiffer duster as her husband dozes in the living room armchair.

“I’ve been living in a fool’s paradise!” she exclaims after examining the dirt she’s cleaned up with a Swiffer Sweeper.

Neither of the Kaufmans had acting experience before shooting to Internet fame, but that didn’t prove an obstacle. “There was no scripting — it was all natural,” Morty, 91, a retired pharmacist, tells The Times of Israel. “Our daughter Myra’s friend is a casting director, and they told her they were looking for a more ‘mature’ couple. They came to our home to test us, and we got the part.”

Thanks to the advertisements, the husband and wife are now local celebrities in Valley Stream, New York. “You cannot imagine the euphoria of walking into a restaurant and being recognized,” Lee, a retired teacher, shares. “People gather around us, congratulate us and ask to take our photo.

“One young man asked for our autograph, saying his brother would kill him if he didn’t get it. So, of course, I signed the paper for him,” she recounts.

Lee is used to keeping a clean house, but Internet stardom is foreign to her and Marty. “It’s really beyond our ken, but it’s very pleasing. We’re having a ball,” she says.

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