Friday, December 21, 12:00-1:00
Sixteen participants were on board last week at our inaugural session on the topic of Jewish Humor. We shared some jokes, and explored one–a story of mistaken identity–at great length. We discussed two attributes of that story that may have made it particularly Jewish: 1) it reflected an aversion to physical violence–substituting wit, or verbal combativeness (we fully acknowledged that we cannot ascribe this attitude to all Jews–especially after the establishment of the State of Israel); 2) it exhibited certain thought patterns (Talmudic argumentation) which find logical solutions to seemingly impossible problems. We also talked about the joke we explored as one that would be particularly enjoyed by people who had been oppressed or otherwise experienced an underdog status, noting that such people sometimes combat the cause of their anxieties by laughing at them. Needless to say, our discussion wasn’t entirely academic–several jokes were shared along the way.
In the introduction to his book, Telushkin observes that a Jewish sensibility shows concern for certain subjects and values. Last week, we began to discuss two of those subjects: antisemitism and financial success. This week we’ll continue to look at those and other subjects that may preoccupy a Jewish sensibility (and whether Jews have a monopoly on such preoccupations). Our focus will be guided by the introduction and first chapter of Telushkin’s Jewish Humor: What the Best Jewish Jokes Say About Jews (pp. 15-39).
Our informal discussion group meets every Friday from 12-1 in the Social Hall at the newly renovated Congregation Beth Israel on Murdock Avenue. All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise. Copies of Telushkin’s book are available on a variety of internet outlets. If you have questions, please contact Jay Jacoby at firstname.lastname@example.org.