Monday, February 22, 2010

The Best Purim Parodies and Jewish Jokes

What does Purim have to do with humor and parody? EVERYTHING. The book of Esther, properly read, IS itself a parody. Read about Purim Torah and the art of scholarly parody, in this web journey from the Shabbat-O-Gram archives (some of the links are no longer active).

Our survey of Purim Parodies has to begin with this video from the Shushan Channel.

See Backward: A Purim Spoof, the Forward's annual foray into Purim absurdity, this year featuring God Resumes Prophecy — Via Twitter and Israeli Rabbinate Declares Non-Orthodox Jews ‘Kosher — and Delicious’.

Also see the "Jewish Weak" Purim Spoof including Kotel Schnorrer Pleased With Portfolio Rebound, YU Prez Bans Male Study Partners, Informant In Syrian Rabbi Case Can’t Stop Squealing, Mirthright Israel To Show Lighter Side Of Jewish State and Four Arrested At JCPA Debate On Civility.

For some good general jokes, a great option is Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion "Joke Machine" and his Annual Joke Show.

Then there is MyJewishLearning's Jewish Humor Bank, featuring these all time classic videos and jokes:

Mel Brooks
You Don't Look Jewish
Jerry Seinfeld
Rain in Chelm
Woody Allen
The Riddle
Sarah Silverman
Our Luck
Jackie Mason
Marx Brothers
The Terryifying Rumor
Adam Sandler
The Census
Sacha Baron Cohen
The Converts
Jon Stewart
Jewish Movie Scenes
Jewish Internet Sensations
Teaching English
Richest Man in Town
Jewish and Goyish
Showing Up Late
Haikus for Jews
Public Toilets
Jewish Word Play
Lenny Bruce Was Jewish...
Schlemiels and Schlemazels
34 Years
Marriage Brokers
Sages of Chelm
Million Dollar Question for God

The Top Hat

And these additional links:

Bang It Out
Frum Satire
Joel Chasnoff--Jewish Stand Up Comic
Old Jews Telling Jokes
Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour

The Chelm stories are a genre unto themselves. See this guide explaining how this little village in Poland, which later became the sight of an infamous death camp, found its way into Jewish lore as the silliest place on earth. One story has it that an angel was flying over a mountain with a sack filled with souls. The bag got caught on a tree, and ripped open. All the foolish souls were in the bottom, and tumbled out, landing in the village of Chelm.

Some say these are Jewish versions of Polish jokes. If so, at least no actual Jewish Chelmites exist anymore, so we are not making fun of real people (except maybe for those living in Chelmsford, Mass.). Or maybe there are still Jews there. Well, I know that there will be - for one night at least. In April, our March of the Living group will be staying one night in Chelm. I can't wait. But I might hesistate before stepping into the elevator.

A typical Chelm story:

The town of Chelm 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.

Stay tuned for further updates as Purim approaches, send me your favorites - and BRING them to services this Shabbat and Purim!

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