American Jewish pensioners from all walks of life tell their favourite jokes.

Type: Variety

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 30 minutes

Premier: 2011-11-16

Old Jews Telling Jokes - Jewish humour - Netflix

Jewish humour is the long tradition of humour in Judaism dating back to the Torah and the Midrash from the ancient Middle East, but generally refers to the more recent stream of verbal and often anecdotal humour of Ashkenazi Jewry which took root in the United States over the last hundred years, including in secular Jewish culture. European Jewish humor in its early form developed in the Jewish community of the Holy Roman Empire, with theological satire becoming a traditional way of clandestinely opposing Christianization. Modern Jewish humor emerged during the nineteenth century among German-speaking Jews of the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment), matured in the shtetls of the Russian Empire, and then flourished in twentieth-century America, arriving with the millions of Jews who emigrated from Eastern Europe between the 1880s and the early 1920s. Beginning with vaudeville, and continuing through radio, stand-up comedy, film, and television, a disproportionately high percentage of American, German, and Russian comedians have been Jewish. Time estimated in 1978 that 80 percent of professional American comics were Jewish. Jewish humor, while diverse, favors wordplay, irony, and satire, and its themes are highly anti-authoritarian, mocking religious and secular life alike. Sigmund Freud considered Jewish humor unique in that its humor is primarily derived from mocking of the in-group (Jews) rather than the “other”. However rather than simply being self-deprecating it also contains a dialectical element of self-praise, which works in the opposite direction.

Old Jews Telling Jokes - Chełm - Netflix

In Chełm, the shammes used to go around waking everyone up for minyan (communal prayer) in the morning. Every time it snowed, the people would complain that, although the snow was beautiful, they could not see it in its pristine state because by the time they got up in the morning, the shammes had already trekked through the snow. The townspeople decided that they had to find a way to be woken up for minyan without having the shammes making tracks in the snow. The people of Chełm hit on a solution: they got four volunteers to carry the shammes around on a table when there was fresh snow in the morning. That way, the shammes could make his wake up calls, but he would not leave tracks in the snow.

The town of Chełm decided to build a new synagogue. So, some strong, able-bodied men were sent to a mountaintop to gather heavy stones for the foundation. The men put the stones on their shoulders and trudged down the mountain to the town below. When they arrived, the town constable yelled, “Foolish men! You should have rolled the stones down the mountain!” The men agreed this was an excellent idea. So they turned around, and with the stones still on their shoulders, trudged back up the mountain, and rolled the stones back down again.

Or,

The sexton of the synagogue decided to install a poor box so that the fortunate might share their wealth with the needy. On shabbes eve, he announced to the congregation that a new opportunity for a mitzvoh was available. “But,” one member complained, “it will be so easy for the goneffs (thieves) to steal from the box.” The sexton thought long and hard that night, and announced the next day that he had found a solution. Pointing upward, he showed, the poor box was now suspended from a chain at the ceiling, high, high, high overhead. “But now how do we put money in the box?” The next week, the congregation saw the wonderful solution. A lovely circular stairway now ascended to the poor box making it easy to contribute.

Or,

Old Jews Telling Jokes - References - Netflix