Friday, January 18, 12:00-1:00
We began last Friday’s session with another review of Talmudic logic’s influence on Jewish humor (with the help of a short handout on hermeneutics–rules for biblical interpretation). We then discussed the Wikipedian supplement on Jewish humor (another handout). Much of this was a rehash of material we covered in Telushkin–anti-authoritarian ethos of Jewish jokes, humor as a leveling device, humor as a tool of the oppressed for social catharsis. One aspect of Jewish humor observed in the handout was its dialectical nature/that it oscillated between opposing characteristics–a point also made in Chapter 4 of Telushkin’s Jewish Humor. As we examined that chapter, we noted that certain opposing traits ascribed to Jews–“timid self-perception” vs. “neurotic self-importance,” for example–formed the basis for much humor. We concluded our discussion with a focus on jokes that centered on differences among Jewish denominations.
This week, our discussion will pick up on some loose ends from Chapter 4 (jokes on Jewish appearance and sexuality) and then move on to Chapter 5 which covers humor that grows out of Jewish experiences of persecution and homelessness (pp. 107-123).
Our informal discussion group meets every Friday from 12-1 in the Library at 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.