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Different Jokes for Different Folks

Twenty years ago, as I set out upon my very first book tour, for  Praying for Sheetrock —my 1991 work of nonfiction about the heyday of a corrupt ‘courthouse gang’ on the flowery coast of Georgia and the belated rise of civil rights there—I discovered I had a line in my book-talk that only Jews laughed at.

It was unintentional on my part. I thought it was funny; I didn’t …

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Yeshivish Jokes

Tales from the yeshiva:

By Avi Stavsky

Shimi’s parents were discussing his future, now that he finished yeshiva.

“Maybe we should send him to college for a while?” says his mother. “He needs to learn something of the outside world. All he knows is yeshiva life.”

“Well I don’t think that’s a great idea, Miriam. What he if gets exposed to all kinds of situations and …

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Our Good Friends the Essermans

Earlier this week, Melissa Fay Greene wrote about the adoption of her daughter, Helen, from Ethiopia, and telling jokes at church. Her new book, No Biking in the House Without A Helmet, is now available.

My husband and I are white people. We shop at R.E.I. for the clothes . We have cousins on both sides who are vegans and have attended more than one bean-filled wedding reception. We …

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Andy Samberg: Jewish Feminist

Four years ago, when “Saturday Night Live” comic Andy Samberg wore a National Organization of Women shirt to a Spike TV event, feminists wondered whether he was just ribbing us. Best known for the satirical rap videos he produces with his comedy trio, The Lonely Island, Samberg trades in dick jokes and fake vomit – not in feminist theory. So when Samberg said that his sartorial …

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An End to the Hummus Wars

Those who have their finger on the pulse of the gastronomic culture in the Middle East know that hummus is a food that should bring Arabs and Jews together, not divide them. In Adam Sandler’s movie “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” hummus was the butt of several jokes. The Zohan (played by Adam Sandler) dips everything into hummus, eats it at every meal, feeds it to the dog, and even …

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Is Bel Kaufman Jewish?

Yes, Bel Kaufman is a Jew, the granddaughter of Sholom Aleichem, author of Up the Down Staircase, and is 100 years old. Happy Birthday!

At 100, Still a Teacher, and a Jokester

Bel Kaufman, author of “Up the Down Staircase,” the seminal book on the hardships and joys of teaching in New York City, celebrated her 100th birthday.


At 100 years old, Ms. Kaufman is …

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Let’s Ham It Up On Hanukkah (Again!)

Click to Enlarge

Just like the return of the clothing fashion styles of yesteryear, many things on the Web tend to make a comeback too. It seems like every few years the same hoaxes, urban legends, videos, jokes and funny photos get recycled around Cyberspace.

I noticed that this is the case with a photo of ham — yes, ham! Through Facebook, hundreds of users are …

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Two Jews on a Train: Stories My Father Told Me

Adam Biro

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

“Two Jews were traveling on a train. . . . ” Many Eastern European jokes-and several of the charming and often hilarious conversations in this book-begin this way. From all regions of the world and from all walks of life, the characters are young and full of life and old and ugly; they are rabbis, matchmakers, students, and immigrants. …

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Laugh for God’s Sake: Where Jewish Humor and Jewish Ethics Meet

Stanley J. Schachter

Publisher: Ktav

Jewish humor is a venerable part of the Jewish historical experience. It has been a constant companion of Jews, as individuals and communities, accompanying them in many lands and and expressing itself in a number of languages. Jewish jokes penetrate virtually every aspect of human relationships, sparing neither Jew nor non-Jew. Stanley Schachter’s …

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The New Joys of Yiddish: Completely Updated

More than a quarter of a century ago, Leo Rosten published the first comprehensive and hilariously entertaining lexicon of the colorful and deeply expressive language of Yiddish. Said “to give body and soul to the Yiddish language,” The Joys of Yiddish went on to become an indispensable tool for writers, journalists, politicians, and students, as well as a perennial bestseller for three …

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A Double Thread: Growing Up English and Jewish in London

John J. Gross

Publisher: Ivan R Dee, Inc.

This evocative picture of a lost London and a vanished culture is also the story of a bookish boy discovering his own path. John Gross is the son of a Jewish doctor who practiced in the East End of London from the 1920s to World War II and beyond. His parents were the children of immigrants, steeped in Eastern European customs, yet outside the …

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Shanda: The Making and Breaking of a Self-Loathing Jew

Neal Karlen

Publisher: Touchstone Books

What he means is that he hates the parochialism and material trappings of the young Jews he knows: Their new temples are gilded and the parking lots spill over with luxury cars. Religion for them is a quest for a Jewish wife from “the right” family and a big house and splendid clothes. Gone is the soulful practice of tradition that his …

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Miracle Ride: A True Story of Illness, Faith, Humor and Triumph

Tzipi Caton

Publisher: Artscroll

“11th grade was so not a picnic.”

For 16-year-old Tzipi Caton, eleventh grade meant tests, friends, homework, and play tryouts. Then, suddenly, it meant cancer.

“I was the girl who loved everything about being a girl… My days as a JAP seemed to be changing into my days as a JACP. A Jewish American Princess turned Jewish American Cancer …

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