15 2017

From Sinai to Seinfeld - The History of Jewish Humor (Melton course)

7:00PM - 8:30PM  

Jewish Community Alliance 57 Ashmont Street
Portland, 04103


A Florence Melton School course with Rabbi Carolyn Braun

Wednesdays, March 15 - May 24 (10 sessions)

7:00 - 8:30 pm

Jewish Community Alliance (JCA) - 57 Ashmont St., Portland

Fee: $250, includes reader. Registration due by March 1. Late registration subject to availability and $25 late fee.

To register - click here, or contact the JCA at (207) 772-1959 or

A treasure of irresistible jokes provides the organizing principle for a presentation of ten major themes in Jewish history-- from the Israelite relationship with God to the growing divide between cultural and religious Judaism in the early 21st century. The course demonstrates that the most resonant Jewish jokes are deeply revealing sign posts along our Jewish journey. Treating Jewish jokes as text, the course invites students to analyze and interpret the evolving concerns, styles, rhythms, preoccupations, and values of the Jewish people that lie buried deep in words that make us laugh as Jews, and that bond us as a people.

Weekly Topics
1. A lack of graves: The courage and audacity to argue with God
2. Trust me, I’m a Rabbi: Rabbinic authority in post-Temple Judaism
3. The Goyim annoyem: Power and powerlessness in Jewish jokes
4. If you’re so smart...: The People of the Book
5. The joy of text: The literary tradition of Judaism
6. Take my wife, please: The humor of matrimony
7. You can change your noses but not your Moses: Anti-Semitism after emancipation
8. Dig, I’m Jewish: The triumph of ethnic humor
9. Mothers and others: Jewish women in contemporary humor
10. Seriously funny: The rise of religious humor