The Targets of Jewish Humor

The recurring characters & subjects of Jewish humor leave no part of the Jewish world unscathed.

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The other one says, "I have a simple job and it does not pay much, but I would say that it is quite a secure job."

"Ah," says the other, "and what do you do for a living?"

"Oh, I work for the shul (synagogue)," answers his interlocutor. "Every morning, at dawn, I have to go up on the roof of the shuland look all around, as far as I can, to see if the messiah is coming. The moment I see him, I will have to inform the rebbe and the president of the congregation immediately. I'll tell you the truth, my friend, it doesn't pay much, but there is plenty security!"...

Rabbis

In Latin America, as well as in the rest of the world, they have always picked on the rabbis and the other members of the Jewish clergy. The fol­lowing anecdote tells you about the tsuris(the painful episodes) in the life of a rabbi.

Everyone knows that there is a shortage of rabbis in Mexico. Two con­gregations in particular had been unable to find a rabbi, for years. So they decided to insert ads in newspapers, and they soon received letters from two potential candidates, who were immediately invited to Mex­ico. But unfortunately, one of them died soon after he reached Mexico City from the effects of air pollution. As a result, each of the two con­gregations claimed the remaining rabbi.

The members of one congregation were willing to follow the advice of King Solomon and cut the rabbi in two; the other agreed to let him live, just as in the biblical story of the two mothers and their child.

What did they do? They consulted the Beit Din [rabbinical court] of Mexico City. The judges heard the case and decided: "The remaining rabbi must go to the first congregation--the one whose members wanted to cut him in two--because that is, indeed, the fate awaiting all rabbis."

Women

Women have always played an important role in the Jewish commu­nity, even when it was not officially recognized. Of course, the situation is much different today, but many are still not willing to acknowledge it. So, women have been campaigning for equal rights.

The mayor of Ra'anana [a town in Israel] was inspecting a public building site, accom­panied by his wife, when one of the construction workers called to the mayor's wife and said, "How are you, Dinah?" and she answered, "Good to see you, David." And she continued to chat with the worker for a few minutes.

After the mayor had completed his inspection, he asked his wife, "How do you know this man?" "Ah," she said, "he was my sweet­heart in high school. He even proposed to me, many years ago."

The husband laughed and said, "You should be grateful to me, then, for if I had not come along, you would be the wife of a con­struction worker, instead of being married to the mayor of the city."

"Not at all," said the wife. "If I had married him, he would now be the mayor of this city!"

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Rabbi Leo M. Abrami served as the spiritual leader at Beth Emeth Congregation in Sun City West from 2002 to 2006.