Friday Noon Study Group

April 13, 2018 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Friday Noon Study Group

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



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