Religious diet jokes

June 26, 2012 • 8:04 am

Re this morning’s post about Jewish dietary restrictions, I offer two jokes. Stop me if you’ve heard them before.

An elderly rabbi, having just retired from his duties in the congregation, finally decides to fulfill his lifelong fantasy–to taste pork. He goes to a hotel in the Catskills in the off-season (not his usual one, mind you), enters the empty dining hall and sits down at a table far in the corner.  The waiter arrives, and the rabbi orders roast suckling pig.

As the rabbi is waiting, struggling with his conscience, a family from his congregation walks in!  They immediately see the rabbi and, since no one should eat alone, they join him.

Shocked, the rabbi begins to sweat.  At last, the waiter arrives with a huge domed platter. He lifts the lid to reveal-what else?–roast suckling pig, complete with an apple in its mouth.

The family gasp in shock and disgust, and quickly turn to the rabbi for an explanation.

“This place is amazing!” cries the rabbi. “You order a baked apple, and look what you get!”

*****

A priest and a rabbi were, by coincidence, sitting next to each other on a long flight.

About an hour passes and not a single word was exchanged by the two men. Finally, the priest turns to the rabbi and says, “Rabbi, do you mind if I ask you a personal question”? The rabbi said, “Of course you may.”

“I understand that many of you Jewish people, especially rabbis, keep kosher and, as such, don’t eat things like bacon or ham”. The rabbi acknowledged that. “Haven’t you ever even tasted bacon or ham?”, asked the priest.

The Rabbi explained, “Many years ago, I was a visiting rabbi in a small town in the middle of nowhere and found myself in a diner one Sunday morning. There was no one around so I ordered bacon and eggs. It was quite good but that was the only time that ever happened.”

After some time, the rabbi turned to the priest and said, “Father, do you mind if you ask you a very personal question”? The Priest said, “okay.”

“You priests take an oath of celibacy, right”?, asked the Rabbi. “Why, yes”, answered the priest, wondering where this was going.

“Well, haven’t you ever had sex since you’ve become as priest”?, asked the rabbi. The priest looked about nervously, leaned toward the rabbi and answered very softly, “Well, as a young parishioner I once met a lovely woman who was much taken with me.  One thing led to another and, well, I wound up having sex with her. But that’s the only time it ever happened.”

A few moments pass and the rabbi leans over to the priest and says, “A lot better than pork, isn’t it?”

*****

I’ll be here all week, folks—and don’t forget to tip the waitress!

Note: if you have humorous “Jewish jokes” that aren’t anti-Semitic (e.g., those that make fun of Jews’ supposed tight-fistedness), feel free to post them below. I reserve the right to censor comments! And I recommend Joseph Telushkin’s book: Jewish Humor: What the Best Jewish Jokes say about the Jews.

130 thoughts on “Religious diet jokes

  1. This coming Yom Kippur I’ll have to make it a point to have a bacon cheeseburger, ideally with a side of shrimp sushi. I’ll do so wearing cotton-poly clothes, and I’ll be sure to shave that morning, too.

    b&

  2. Back in cowboy times, a westbound wagon train was lost and low on food. No other humans had been seen for days and then the pioneers saw an old Jewish rabbi sitting beneath a tree.
    “Is there some place ahead where we can get food?” they asked.
    “Vell, I tink so,” the old man said, “but I wouldn’t go up dat hill und down de udder side. Somevun tole me you’d run into a big bacon tree.”
    “A bacon tree?” asked the wagon train leader.
    “Yah, an bacon tree. Vould I lie? Trust me. I vouldn’t go dere.”
    The leader goes back and tells his people what the rabbi said. “So why did he say not to go there?,” a person asked. Other pioneers said, “Oh, you know those Jewish people – they don’t eat bacon.”
    So the wagon train goes up the hill and down the other side. Suddenly, Indians attack them from everywhere and massacre all except the leader who manages to escape and get back to the old rabbi. Near dead, the man shouts, “You fool! You sent us to our deaths! We followed your route but there was no bacon tree, just hundreds of Indians who killed everyone but me.”
    The old Jewish man holds up his hand and says, “Oy, vait a minute.” He quickly picks up an English-Yiddish dictionary and begins thumbing through it. “Oy Gevalt, I made myself such ah big mishtake! It vuzn’t a bacon tree, it vuz a ham bush!”

  3. Must subscribe… My spidey sense tells me that there are more belly laughs on the way this morning.

        1. So you deleted the answer? Never mind, I Googled it and found it in Wikipedia. (G_d bless the Internet!)

          Actually, its use of the stereotype is so absurd it’s funny in spite of using the stereotype. It reminded me of the trilemma about the three people who independently try to kill someone going a desert journey, one by poisoning the water in his bottle, one by replacing the poisoned water with sand, and one by putting holes in the bottle. He finds the bottle empty (of sand) and dies, but which of them killed him?

          1. Hmmm, I think the guy with the poison is probably innocent (of actual murder), but I dunno about the other two.

  4. The Orthodox are very choosey about Kosher certifications and authorities.

    So this Lubavitcher Hasid dies and wakes up in Heavan. He soon finds himself in a buffet line, with endless sumptuous plates of meat. He calls to a man behind the counter, “Who is your shochet (ritual slaughterer)? The man replies, “That’s the best thing about Heaven! The Almighty himself prepares, slaughters, and butchers all the meat!”

    The Hasid thinks for a moment and says, “I’ll have the fruit plate.”

  5. If you don’t mind me adding another.

    A train was travelling between London and Manchester when this man, looking a bit distressed, walked from carriage to carriage asking “Is there a priest or a vicar on board?”. He went from front to back without any luck and as he returned to the front again asking the same question, a man replied: “I’m a Born-Again Christian. Can I be of any help?”.

    The distressed man replied: “You’re no bloody good, I’m want to borrow a corkscrew!”

  6. A Mohel had many left overs after years of performing circumcisions. Not knowing what to do with them, he turned to a leather worker and asked advice. The leather worker said, “Just give them to me…I’ll make something for you.”

    A week later, the leather worker handed a wallet to the mohel. The mohel was confused. “I gave you quite a bit of material to work with.” The leather worker said, “I know…I used it all. This is a very special wallet. Give it a few rubs, and it becomes a briefcase!”

  7. A modern, Orthodox, Jewish couple, preparing for a religious wedding, meets with their rabbi for counseling. The rabbi asks if they have any last questions before they leave. The man asks, “Rabbi, we realize it’s tradition for men to dance with men, and women to dance with women at the reception. But, we’d like your permission to dance together.”

    “Absolutely not,” says the rabbi. “It’s immodest. Men and women always dance separately.”

    “So after the ceremony I can’t even dance with my own wife?”

    “No,” answered the rabbi. “It’s forbidden.”

    “Well, okay,” says the man, “what about sex? Can we finally have sex?”

    “Of course!” replies the rabbi. “Sex is a mitzvah within marriage, to have children!”

    “What about different positions? Woman on top? Doggy style?” asks the man.

    “No problem,” says the rabbi with a laugh. “Go for it! It’s a mitzvah!”

    “On the kitchen table?”

    “Yes, yes! A mitzvah!”

    “Can we do it on rubber sheets with a bottle of hot oil, a couple of vibrators, a leather harness, a bucket of honey and a porno video?”

    “You may indeed. It’s all a mitzvah!”

    “Can we do it standing up?”

    “No! No! Absolutely Not!” screams the horrified rabbi.

    “Why not?” asks the man.

    “It could lead to dancing!”

  8. “This place is amazing!” cries the rabbi. “You order a baked apple, and look what you get!”
    ===
    Now that’s quick thinking… or a classic example of Sophisticated Theology™ in everyday use!

  9. A quickie oldie… and not necessarily Semite-centered…

    A priest, monk and a rabbi walk into a bar. The bartender, glaring at them, says: “what the hell is this… some kind of joke?”

    1. A rabbi, a vicar, a priest and a pastor are caught playing poker in a railway carriage, while passing through a state where such games are prohibited. They are rounded up and deferred to a judge.
      The judge says: “Gentlemen, seeing that you are all men of faith, I shall be content with your word of honour. Answer me truly, one by one: did you play the prohibited game of poker?”

      “Padre?” “No, Your Honor.”

      “And you, reverend?” “Certainly not, Your Honor.”

      “Vicar?” “Of course not, Your Honor.”

      “Rabbi, and you?” “Er, whom with, Your Honor?”

  10. I’m a bit wary of making Jewish jokes, but this is one I learned as a kid and I think its pretty tame:

    A couple of guys are chatting over dinner at a Chinese restaurant.
    “You know, there are American Jews, European Jews, and Russian Jews. I wonder if there are any Chinese Jews?”
    “I have no idea! Let’s ask the waiter.”
    They call the waiter over.
    “We were wondering if there are any Chinese Jews?”
    The waiter looks puzzled, and pauses.
    “I’m not sure. I’ll ask the chef.”
    The waiter leaves, then returns a few moments later.
    “I’m sorry, we don’t have any Chinese Jews, but we do have Apple Jews, Orange Jews, Grapefruit Jews…”

    Obviously its a better joke when spoken rather than read.

  11. I love Rabbi and Talmud jokes, but anyway.

    An Orthodox, a Conservative and a Reform rabbi get to discussing food and ritual. Someone asks them, “Should I say a brokhe before eating lobster?”

    The Conservative rabbi find it difficult to answer: “On the one hand … on the other …”

    Not so the Orthodox rebbe: “What is this ‘lobster’ of which you speak?”

    The reform rabbi: “What’s a brokhe?”

    1. EXACTLY! And it was the spiritual revival — or whatever they call it, return to tradition some might say — that drove me out! Much easier for an atheist to get along at temple without all that Goddy stuff messing it up.

    2. In my family, this was the joke about the assimilated Jews asking for a brokhe for their Christmas tree.

  12. A Jew gets shipwrecked on an desert island. Years later he is rescued by a passing ship. The captain is amazed to see he’s built an entire settlement for himself and asks for a tour. The Jew agrees, he shows him his house, the pub, the market, the synagogue and so fourth. The captain is very impressed. As the the tour continues the captain sees a second synagogue, and asks “why do you have another synagogue?”, the Jew responds “Oh, that’s the synagogue I don’t go to”.

    1. Reminds me of a joke from the old USSR.

      One woman in line says to another “Is this the line for the store that’s out of bread?”

      The other woman answers, “No, this is the line for the store that’s out of potatoes. The store that’s out of bread is across the street.”

        1. Probably as much a commentary on the Jewish desire to kwetch.

          There was an old, Jewish man on the train the other day. We had one of out first days of real Summer, so it was pretty hot.

          The poor guy kept going “Oy, I am thirsty. Oy, I am thirsty. Oy vey, am I ever thirsty.”

          Well, his jammering annoyed me, so I offered him a drink of water from my bottle. He accepted, luckily. So of course I assumed that now I could have some quiet to read my book.

          No sooner had he handed back the bottle, before he resumed his litany “Oy, I was thirsty. Oy, I was thirsty. Oy, was I ever thirsty.”

          –o–

          Needless to say, I didn’t give him any more water.
          Unfortunately that meant the old sod came down with a heatstroke, so we had to stop and rush him to the hospital.

          Everyone assumed I knew him, so somehow I got to ride along in the ambulance.

          Well, the nurses got some liquids in him, and he stabilised no problem. After a bit I was let in to him (next of kin they thought).

          Trying to make polite conversation, I asked “So how are you, old man?”

          “I cannae kvetch.”

          “How’s the food.”

          “I cannae kvetch.”

          “Do you like the nurses? Are they treating you well?”

          “I cannae kvetch.”

          “So you’re feeling well?”

          “No! It’s horrible!”

          “What? But you just said that all was good?”

          “Exactly! I cannae kvetch!”

        1. Oh dear. Engineers.

          A student found a frog and picked it up and the frog said “Kiss me!”

          And the student said “no”.

          And the frog said “kiss me and I’ll turn into a beautiful princess”

          And the student said “no”.

          And the frog said “Kiss me and I’ll turn into a beautiful princess and give you anything you want”.

          And the student said “I’m an engineering student, I don’t have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that’s cool”.

          ****

          Three engineers and three accountants are going to a conference by train. The accountants are surprised to see only one of the engineers buy a ticket – ‘You’ll be in trouble’. But as the conductor approaches, the three engineers cram into the toilet, the conductor knocks on the door, “Tickets please”, the door opens a crack and a hand comes out holding a ticket which the conductor takes and goes on his way. The accountants watch this with interest.

          So on the trip back, the accountants buy just one ticket, the engineers don’t buy any. As the conductor approaches, the engineers cram into one toilet, the accountants cram into the next one. Immediately one of the engineers ducks out of the toilet, knocks on the next door and says “Tickets please!”.

          ****

          (Sorry they’re not Jewish jokes, trouble with all the Jewish jokes I know is, like all the other ethnic jokes I know, they’re in bad taste).

  13. One day, as God was enumerating the religious laws to Moses, he mentioned, “You must not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.”

    “Let me see if I understand, Lord,” said Moses. “You mean, we cannot cook meat together with dairy products.”

    God said, “No, Moses. I said you must not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.”

    “Oh, I get it,” said Moses. “We are not allowed to eat the flesh of an animal at the same meal with milk, cheese, or yogurt.”

    God sighed. “Moses, I’ll say it one more time. You must not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.”

    “Ah, now I think I know what you mean,” said Moses. “We need to keep two completely different sets of cookware and utensils, one for meat and one for dairy, so that these two foods never come into contact with each other.”

    God smacked His head and said, “Moses, do whatever the hell you want.”

  14. Mordecai gets hit by a car, whilst waiting for the ambulance, concerned bystanders ask “are you comfortable?” .
    “I make a living” comes the reply.

  15. Here’s one:

    A famous Rabbi is granted an audience with the Pope. As the two men talk, the subject of the difference in their beliefs comes up.

    The Rabbi says, “Your Eminence, we are both like blind men, searching in a darkened room, for a black cat that isn’t there. The only difference is that you’ve found him.”

  16. A corporate executive, a rabbi, and an engineer are playing golf, but they are held up a slow-playing foursome ahead of them. The course ranger explains that the golfers in the foursome are all blind. “That’s unfortunate” says the executive, “perhaps my company can help build a special golf course for them”. “That’s sad” says the rabbi, “I’ll take up a special collection for them”. The engineer says “Why can’t they play at night?”

  17. Paraphrased from Dan Ariely’s Book, the Honest Truth About Dishonesty:

    A Jew goes to his rabbi and says, Rabbi, someone stole my bike and I think it was someone from the congregation. The rabbi, being wise, advises him to sit at the front so when they recite the 10 commandments he can turn around and see who seems embarrassed when they get to “Thou shalt not kill.” Afterward, the rabbi asked if his advice helped. “Worked like a charm! When We got to “Thou shalt not commit adultery” I remembered where I left my bike!

      1. It makes more sense with Christians. The Jews have over a hundred commandments. The Christians have pared it down to ten, and they completely ignore the one about the Sabbath.

    1. Did you mean steal and not kill there, or is there another layer to the joke I’m not getting?

  18. Here’s a long one. This might be my favorite joke of all time—but I can’t tell it! The bits in italics are meant to be told in Yiddish, and though I understand Yiddish, I can’t properly speak it.

    Moskowitz was very proud of his knowledge of Yiddish and would boast that he could give the English word for any conceivable English one. He came a cropper, though, when asked to give the Yiddish word for ‘disappointed’. He went into a virtual decline because he did not know how to say ‘disappointed’ in Yiddish.

    Finally, his friend Finkelstein said, “Listen, I have an old aunt who speaks only Yiddish. Why not ask her?”

    Moskowitz said, “Dolt! If she knows only Yiddish how can I get her to understand the English word I want her to translate?”

    “Well,” said Finkelstein, “why not speak to her in Yiddish and maneuver her into using the Yiddish word for ‘disappointed’?”

    Moskowitz snapped his fingers and said in great glee, “The very thing!”

    He, Finkelstein, and a crowd of curious friends therefore invaded the old lady’s room. Sitting there, white-haired and wrinkled, she looked up in surprise and some alarm at the mass intrusion.

    Moskowitz said soothingly, “Grandmother, be not afraid. We wish to ask a few questions. Nothing more. Grandmother, tell me. Suppose and old friend of yours, whom you had not seen for years, came to town. You are sure she will come to visit, but she doesn’t. Tell me, grandmother, how would you feel?”

    The old lady bridled and said, “If she doesn’t come, she can go to the devil.”

    Moskowitz took a deep breath and tried again, “Tell me, grandmother, suppose you had a lottery ticket which won first prize—millions of dollars—and at the last moment you discovered that the ticket had accidentally been thrown out with the trash. Tell me then, how would you feel?”

    The old lady shook her feeble fist and said, “I would be furious, and if I could find out who had done so stupid a thing—”

    But by now, Moskowitz was himself furious. He turned on Finkelstein and said, “For heaven’s sake, can’t you think of something that would really disappoint her? What does she want more than anything else in the world?”

    Finkelstein said, “I have it! Listen, she has eleven grandchildren and every single one of them is a girl. More than anything else, she wants a grandson.”

    “Aha,” said Moskowitz. “Perfect!”

    He turned to the old lady and began confidently, “Grandmother, suppose you discovered your youngest daughter was pregnant. You wait eagerly for her to give birth and then find out it is once again a girl and that you have a twelfth granddaughter! Tell me, how would you feel?”

    This time there was no mistaking the old lady’s feeling. She covered her face with her withered hands and rocked back and forth in distress. “Oh, oh, oh,” she moaned in anguish, “I would be so disappointed.”

  19. One summer in Stockholm when I was a post-doc there, I offered some blåbärs soppa (blueberry soup – great stuff!) to the lab’s annual summer-resident researcher from the University of Aberdeen. He demurred (which was odd since he’d introduced me to it a couple years before when I was newly-arrived; I didn’t know it at the time but he was en route to becoming pathologically fastidious), saying, “You know, there’s been some correlation between carrageenans (the seaweed-based thickening agent) and colitis.” I hadn’t heard that, but I had heard that there was an increased incidence of colitis in those of the Jewish persuasion. To which he instantly replied, “Ha! Wouldn’t it be something if pork were an antidote!”

  20. A rabbi and a priest buy a joint lottery ticket and win. They both buy new cars. As a matter of ecumenical goodwill they decide to bless each other’s new vehicles.
    The priest goes to the rabbi’s new car and sprinkles it with holy water.
    The rabbi goes to the priest’s new car, pulls out a large pair of pliers, and cuts off the end of the tailpipe.

  21. I love this one, but I can’t do it from memory:

    About a century or two ago, the Pope decided that all the Jews had to leave Rome. Naturally there was a big uproar from the Jewish community.

    So the Pope made a deal. He would have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community. If the Jew won, the Jews could stay. If the Pope won, the Jews would leave.

    The Jews realized that they had no choice. They looked around for a champion who could defend their faith, but no one wanted to volunteer.

    It was too risky. So they finally picked as their representative an old man named Moishe who spent his life sweeping up after people. Being old and poor, he had less to lose, so he agreed. He asked only for one addition to the debate.

    Not being used to saying very much as he cleaned up around the settlement, he asked that neither side be allowed to talk. The Pope agreed.

    The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the Pope sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger.

    The Pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.

    The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple.

    The Pope stood up and said, “I give up. This man is too good. The Jews can stay.”

    An hour later, the cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what happened. The Pope said: “First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions.

    “Then I waved my finger around me to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground, showing that God was also right here with us.

    “I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?”

    Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe, amazed that this old, almost feeble-minded man had done what all their scholars had insisted was impossible! “What happened?” they asked.

    “Well,” said Moishe, “First he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I told him that not one of us was leaving.

    “Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here.”

    “And then?” asked a woman. “I don’t know,” said Moishe. “He took out his lunch and I took out mine.”

    1. And

      A Jewish man went to the races for the first time.

      Not knowing a thing about horse racing, he went to the paddock to take a look. He saw a rabbi blessing one of the horses.

      He wrote down the number and placed a $2 bet. Sure enough, the horse won and the man won $20. He went down to the paddock again and the rabbi was blessing another horse.

      He wrote down the number, bet his $20 and again the horse won, earning $100. This went on, race after race, until the Jewish man had won $5,000.

      Just before the last race, he watched the rabbi bless another horse. He bet the whole $5,000, but this time the horse came in dead last!

      Surprised, he ran down and yelled to the rabbi, “Why did every horse you bless win except the last one? He came in dead last!”

      The rabbi replied, “That’s the problem with you non-religious Jews: You don’t know the difference between a bracha and a kaddish!”

    2. There is a very similar (bit longer) Indian legend about the great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa. The legend speaks of a very learned princess called Vidyottama (lit. “She who is the best in learning” in Sanskrit), who has vowed marry only someone who manages to defeat her in a debate. All the great pundits of the land one-by-one turn out to be no match for her intellect, so they arrange for a foolish shepherd called Kalidasa to debate her, under the pretext that Kalidasa is a great sage who has taken the vow of silence, and so can only talk using signs.

      Vidyottama agrees, and here is an exchange of signs, which the pundits interpret in a way that she has to acknowledge herself defeated, and she then marries Kalidasa. She quickly finds out, though, what a dunce Kalidasa is, and is throws him out of her palace.

      Kalidasa, who has since grown to genuinely love the princess, and goes on a mission to become worthy of his erudite wife. He returns having become a famous poet, and she asks him the famous question “asti kashchit vaagvisheShaH (अस्ति कश्चित् वाग्विशेषः)?” (lit: “What special knowledge have you gained?”), and he responds in time by writing three of the most famous plays of Sanskrit literature, each starting with the three words of her question.

        1. Unfortunately, the joke ends in the middle of the story when the erudite Vidyottama is forced to marry the shepherd based on innovative interpretation of the signs. The rest of the story is more about a the tragic hero’s journey to become a playwright. I can try to remember and post the actual sign language exchange if you would be interested; it was quite different from the ‘pope and the sweeper’ one, but was quite funny nonetheless.

  22. Three old Jewish grandmothers are having lunch together, chatting about their families.

    “My son loves me so much,” says the first grandmother, “he just bought me a brand new Cadillac. Can you imagine?”

    “That’s nothing,” says the second grandmother. “My son just booked me a three-week cruise to the Bahamas. That’s how much he loves me.”

    “Love,” sniffs the third grandmother. “I’ll tell you about love. You know my son, the doctor? The one with the lovely wife and the three beautiful children? Wonderful family. No man could be more devoted. But when he goes to that expensive Park Avenue psychiatrist, three times a week, $350 an hour, who do you think he talks about? Them? No. Me. That’s love.”

    1. Then there was the one about the Jewish mother who’s son fell into East River:

      “Help! Help! My son, the doctor is drowning!”

  23. An old one, but a pretty good one:

    GREAT DEBATE
    Long ago, in medieval times, the Jewish community in Rome was being pressured to either convert to Catholicism or leave Rome. They begged for a chance to defend themselves and their faith, so the city arranged a debate between the Pope and Moishe, the leading rabbi. It was agreed beforehand that the debate would be held in silence so neither would risk letting loose
    a word the other might consider blasphemous. The Pope went first, he held out his hand and showed three fingers.
    Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger.
    Then the Pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head.
    Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.
    Finally, the Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine.
    Moishe pulled out an apple.
    At that, the Pope stood up and said, “I give up. This man is too good. The Jews in Rome can stay.”
    An hour later, the cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what happened. The Pope said: “First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my fingers around my head to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us, the very ground of our being. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God in the form of Jesus, a man, absolved us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of the sin of the very first man, Adam. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?”
    Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe. “What happened?” they asked. “Well,” said Moishe, “First he held up three fingers telling me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I held up one finger to tell him that not one of us was leaving. Then he waved his hands around his head telling me this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I pointed to the ground to let him know we were staying right here.” “And then?” asked a woman. “I don’t know,” said Moishe. “He took out his lunch and I took out mine.”

    1. Sorry about duplication. Earlier posting of same joke was not there when I submitted. Accordingly will compensate for gaffe with fresh submission:

      A Rabbi goes to to a barbershop. After his hair cut, he starts to pay, but the
      barber says, “Oh no, Rabbi, I don’t charge the clergy for haircuts.” The next
      morning the barber found a loaf of Jewish rye bread on his doorstep.
      Then a priest visits the barbershop, and again as he begins to pay, the barber
      says, “No thanks, I don’t charge the clergy for haircuts.” And the next morningthere is a bottle of wine on his doorstep. A Baptist preacher visits this barber, and again the barber refuses payment, saying, “No, I don’t charge the clergy for haircuts.” And the next morning 15 Baptist preachers are on his doorstep to get their haircuts!

  24. A Texan invited the head of a Jewish trade delegation out to his large ranch. When they arrived, the Jew said, “You seem to have much property here.” The Texan puffed up his chest and said, “Friend, I can get in my car in the morning, drive all day and not be to the other side of my ranch by nightfall.” The Jew looked at him and nodded. “I had a car like that once.”

    1. There’s a similar story about the emigré Dane who returned to the country of his fathers.

      Having received that put down, he stopped by a green grocers and picked up a watermelon:

      “Back home in Texas our apples are at least twice this size!”

      “Stop fondling my grapes, son.”

  25. A priest and rabbi on a plane debated theology, each trying to convince the other.
    Then the plane crashed, and only they survived.
    The priest saw the rabbi jesturing as if crossing himself.
    “I won you over”, says the priest.
    “No,” says the rabbi, and making the same jesture again, recites “spectacles, testicles, wallet, and pen — just checking!”

    1. I heard this one as the rabbi visited the pope, and when leaving St. Peter’s, he was seen to cross himself. His congregation was shocked and asked him if he had converted. “No, just checking: spectacles, testicles, vallet and vatch.”

  26. 1940 …. German armies are up against the Channel and can see the White Cliffs …. but they knew that they couldn’t invade because of the Royal Navy …

    Hitler desperate for help , hears that the Chief Rabbi of Berlin knows where the Rod that Moses used to part the Red Sea is.

    The Rabbi is dragged in front of Hitler who screams at the Rabbi “Where is the Rod?”

    The Rabbi refuses to say and Hitler gets more insistent saying that he will stop all the anti-semitic attacks on the Jewish people.

    The Rabbi accepts this deal, smiles and tells Hitler where the Rod is …

    “In the British Museum”

  27. This one’s older than dirt and cornier than high-fructose syrup, but always used to make me chuckle:

    A rabbi once asked his old friend, a priest, “Could you ever be promoted within your Church?”
    The priest says, thoughtfully, “Well, I could become a bishop.”
    The rabbi persists, “And after that?”
    With a pause for consideration, the priest replies, “Maybe I could be a cardinal, even.”
    “And then?”
    After thinking for some time, the priest responds, “Someday I may even rise to be the Pope.”
    But the rabbi is still not satisfied. “And then?”
    With an air of incredulity, the priest cries, “What more could I become? God Himself?”
    The rabbi says quietly, “One of our boys made it.”

  28. What did the waiter ask the group of dining Jewish mothers?

    “Pardon me ladies, but is ANYTHING all right?”

  29. I never interpreted this as being anti-Semitic but YMMV. I always thought of it as a statement about business men.

    Two men are sitting on the beach. The first says, “I’m here on the insurance money I got when my factory burned down.”

    The second says. “That’s funny. I’m here on the insurance money I got when my factory was washed away in a flood.”

    The first says. “How do you start a flood?”

    1. I’ve never seen that joke presented in a context where race was important, only as a joke about insurance fraud.

  30. A Jewish matriarch is walking along the seafront with her young grandson when a freak wave whisks the boy up and out to sea.
    Panic-stricken, she cries out ‘Lord, I am a old woman humbling myself before you, I beseech you, return my grandson to me and I will do anything, anything, please, bring him back!’ Immediately, another wave rolls in and the child lands next to the woman, completely unharmed.
    The woman looks at the child and then back up to heaven and says, ‘He had a hat…’

  31. A priest, a preacher and a Rabbi walked into their favorite bar, where they would get together two or three times a week for drinks and to talk shop. On this particular afternoon, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn’t really all that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear. One thing led to another and they decided to do an experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it.

    Seven days later, they’re all together to discuss the experience.

    Father Flannery, who had his arm in a sling, is on crutches, and has various bandages, goes first.
    “Well,” he says, “I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle a lamb. The bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation.”

    Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory he claimed, ” WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don’t sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from God’s HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So I quick DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praising Jesus.”

    They both looked down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IV’s and monitors running in and out of him. He was in bad shape.

    The rabbi looks up and says, “Looking back on it, circumcision may not have been the best way to start.”

  32. “and don’t forget to tip the waitress!”

    The US custom of having a standard (and LARGE) tip never ceases to amaze me (and annoy me when I’m there).

    Why not just pay them properly and put it on the bill?

    1. I don’t think there’s an answer that would satisfy you. US tipping customs are what they are, for whatever random historical reasons. It’s not within your power to change them.

      All you can change is how you respond, and what your hosts think of you as a result. That would suggest that toleration might be a better choice than annoyance.

    2. I agree, it’s a stupid custom.

      However, there’s no way to change it without a serious, country-wide effort and not tipping just hurts people who are probably barely scraping by as it is.

    3. I think the confusion of the US traveler in the UK is worse, not wanting to appear a cheapskate at a restaurant. It takes a while to figure out that leaving money at the table is not the thing to do.

      Don’t get me started on the practice of offering a round to the bartender. 😉

    4. I’m an Englishman living in the States. I got used to the expected level of tipping fairly quickly (it’s like driving on the right; if you value your life, do it), but felt grumpy about it. Then, after ordering a sandwich in a coffee shop, I wondered to my companion if I’d left enough in the tip jar. She (an ex-waitress) said “don’t worry, she’s on minimum wage”. Since I was utterly baffled by this, she explained that the lady behind the counter had to be paid minimum wage, but waitrons don’t have to be, because of their expected income in tips. So the answer to “why not pay them properly?” is “because it’s not required by law”.

      Since I’m commenting in this thread, I suppose I’d better include a joke.

      What’s the difference between Jews, Episcopalians, and Baptists?

      Jews don’t recognize the divinity of Jesus, Episcopalians don’t recognize the authority of the Pope, and Baptists don’t recognize one another in the liquor store.

    5. If you want a serious answer, it’s a way that American restaurants distribute the risk of a risky business. By paying waitstaff minimum wage, restaurant owners are able to maintain full staffing when business is poor, which keeps them in a position to take advantage of improvement in their market. Do understand that, when you say, Why not just pay them properly, you likely mean less than what they’re paid (wage plus tips) when business is good. Just accept that you are an important source of their income. Personally (I’m Pennsylvanian), I leave 20% without a moment’s anxiety.

      1. Horse manure. Waitstaff are, in many cases, allowed to be payed below minimum wage because tips are considered part of their earnings. Just because you leave 20% doesn’t mean everyone does- plenty of people don’t tip at all, or tip much less. Simply including a flat tip value as part of the cost of food and beverages and paying the waitstaff a higher amount wouldn’t cost the restaurants anything, claiming otherwise is not born out in reality any more than the claims that attempts to raise minimum wages will result in mass-firings and trickle down economics is a valid strategy.

        1. Actually, if the server’s wage plus tips divided by the hours worked that day comes out to less than the governing minimum wage, the employer is (generally) required to make up the difference.

          And good waiters at busy upscale restaurants make pretty decent money, too. The kitchen staff, on the other hand….

          Cheers,

          b&

        2. 1. Standard spelling is “paid” and “borne”. And hyphens and dashes are not the same thing.

          2. The commenting software allows you to indicate, through the “reply” button, to whom you are replying. Or you could just indicate that manually. It is, at best, odd that you have done neither. It is unclear to what claim you are responding, and what exactly your counter-claim is.

    6. The point of a tip is that if the service is unsatisfactory, one can reduce or eliminate the tip. You should appreciate that even more as a tourist; if you are dining in your home town, you can simply go to another place if you’re unsatisfied.

      1. Makes sense, but I personally have been chased down the street in California by an irate waitress threatening loudly to “call the cops”. My crime: I tipped her 5% after poor service and an incorrect (over) bill. The incident was somewhat embarrassing, but I have also had excellent service in the US, which has been properly rewarded.

        BTW on a holiday to New Zealand, I was warned by locals never to tip, as it is considered an insult. I always got good cheerful service everywhere there.

  33. A priest, a minister, and a rabbi are at a table discussing when life begins.

    The minister says that life begins at birth. The priest says that it begins at conception.

    The rabbi leans back in his chair and says “You’re both wrong. Life begins at 40 when the kids move out and take the dog with them.”

    1. Forty? Your kids move out when you’re forty? Mine clearly haven’t read the manual! I’ll be lucky if they’re all gone by the time I’m sixty. I hear the average for leaving home these days is 28, oy vey.

  34. An elderly travelling rabbi was well known for his wisdom and quick wit. When he would come into a town, all the people would crowd around, throwing their most tangled ethical quandaries at him, just for the spectacle of seeing him cut through them with ease.

    One day, when travelling to a town he had never visited, the rabbi’s valet, Moishe, said to him, “Oh, wise rabbi, you are so respected and admired by all the communities we enter. Just once, I would like to feel that adulation. Just once, to feel that honor! Please, rabbi, would you consent to switch clothes with me, that I might know something more than the life of a humble valet?”

    The rabbi was moved by his sincerity, and after offering warnings of the dangers of misrepresentation, he relented, and switched outfits with the man. They entered the town, and all the time the rabbi called Moishe “rabbi”, and acted as a proper valet would. But perhaps Moishe had angered God with his hubris, for the very first question he was asked was from a clearly distraught townsman:

    “Oh, rabbi! I don’t know what to do, and I cannot see a path forward! Please, help me! My elder son went away to war, and we received word that he had died. Being an honorable man, my younger boy married his sister-in-law, as is written, even though he had to break his true love’s heart to do so! Now, my elder son has returned, for the report we received was false, but none of us dare break the sacred vows that were made on my daughter-in-law’s second wedding! What are we to do?”

    The valet quietly processed this tale of woe. He plucked at his beard. He squinted his eyes. Finally, he spoke:

    “Why, you call THIS a problem? This is no problem at all! Why, this is so simple, I will allow my humble valet to answer it for me!”

  35. An old man in a Jewish home for the aged is seemingly moaning in his sleep. Concerned, a nurse rushes over, and asks “Mr. Goldberg! Mr Goldberg? Are you OK? Are you comfortable?” Mr. Goldberg turns around, looks up at her, and says “Let’s just say I make a good living.”

  36. And my fave of all time.

    The Cow From Minsk

    The only cow in a small town in Poland stopped giving milk. The people did some research and found that they could buy a cow from Moscow for 2,000 rubles, or one from Minsk for 1,000 rubles. Being frugal, they bought the cow from Minsk.

    The cow was wonderful. It produced lots of milk all the time, and the people were amazed and very happy. They decided to acquire a bull to mate with the cow and produce more cows like it. Then they would never have to worry about the milk supply again.

    They bought a bull and put it in the pasture with their beloved cow. However, whenever the bull came close to the cow, the cow would move away. No matter what approach the bull tried, the cow would move away from the bull and he could not succeed in his quest.

    The people were very upset and decided to ask their wise rabbi, what to do. They told the rabbi what was happening. “Whenever the bull approaches our cow, she moves away. If he approaches from the back, she moves forward. When he approaches her from the front, she backs off. An approach from the side and she just walks away to the other side.”

    The rabbi thought about this for a minute and says, “I have but one question: Did you buy this cow from Minsk?”

    The people were dumbfounded, since they had never mentioned where they had gotten the cow. “You are truly a wise rabbi,” they said. “How? How did you know we got the cow from Minsk?”

    The rabbi answered sadly, “My wife is from Minsk.”

  37. And one last one, but really worth it.

    =====

    A woman took her son to the beach one day. Suddenly a huge wave came out of nowhere, and when it had retreated, the son was gone, swept out to sea.

    The mother turned her eyes toward the heavens and shrieked, “God, dear God, why would you take my only son from me? I donate to the Bnai Brith, I go to temple every week, I’ve been a good Jew my whole life! Please, please return him, this is all I ask of you, please…”

    Just then another huge wave crashed on the beach, and there stood the little boy.

    The mother looked again to heaven, and said:

    “Um… He was wearing a hat.”

  38. A Jewish mother is running down the beach, screaming “Help! My son, the doctor, is drowning!”.

  39. One from the Soviet era, my favourite ever:

    In the early ’60s, the new Ilyushin Il-62, the pride of Soviet civil aviation, suffers inexplicable crashes. The wings come loose at the joints, and the more the Soviet engineers reinforce the joints, the sooner fuselage and wings part company. The Kremlin is fuming. A crisis meeting is convened. All the experts are clueless. The most senior official, a veteran engineer, decides: “Clearly, a desperate case. Get Lev Mandelbaum.”
    Lev who? “Lev Moisseievich Mandelbaum. Physicist, cleverest bloke I’ve ever known. Worked with Landau in Kharkov. Helped us in ’39 with the German cipher codes. For that, we slammed him in the Lubyanka. Helped us in ’43 with the airframe of the Il-2 Sturmovik. For that, we sent him to the Kolyma gulag for ten years. Even from there, he helped Pomeranchuk and Migdal with their bremsstrahlung problem. Now, since he’s the only certifiably atheistic Jew they could find, they’ve made him a rabbi in Birobidzhan.” [Birobidzhan was the Autonomous Jewish Region in the Soviet Far East, near Khabarovsk.]
    Lev Mandelbaum is summoned to Moscow. He examines the surviving Ilyushin planes, he examines the wrecks, he makes a few seat-of-the-pants calculations. Then he declares: “Comrades, I’ve got a solution. It’s counterintuitive, but it works. Guaranteed. Perforate the joints between wings and fuselage.”
    “You mean, punch holes in the joints?” “Perforate them, all right. Lots of holes, aligned, at small, regular intervals.”
    “But it’ll weaken the structure!”, the engineers protest.
    “I told you, it is counterintuitive. Just try it. Upon my responsibility. If it fails, I’ll bear the consequences.”
    So they perforate the wing joints of the prototype. Miracle! The joints survive all stress tests. They perforate the wing joints of all production Il-62: mo more crashes, no more hull losses.

    Congratulations all around. The Ilyushin chief engineer asks Lev Mandelbaum: “Lev Moisseievich, how did you figure it out?”
    “Easy,” says Lev Mandelbaum, “I’ve had solid 5-sigma experimental evidence from toilet paper:
    it never tears along the perforation, never ever, not even on Shabbes!

    –The standard version ends here. For connoisseurs, there is a coda:

    Intervenes a KGB officer, professionally suspicious. “Wait a second, comrade Mandelbaum: Shabbes or no Shabbes, how did you manage to get hold of toilet paper in the first place?”
    “Clever man!” says Lev Mandelbaum, “That was the real miracle!”

  40. (I read the original of this on the web somewhere, probably years ago.)

    Schmuel has worked hard all his life, building up a good business and dealing fairly and kindly with all. He is respected and loved by all in his home town, by Jew and Gentile alike. He’s been happily married for many years, and been blessed with good children, and many fair grandchildren. At last, at a very great age, he dies and goes to heaven.

    On his first day in heaven, he is honored by the offer of lunch with God himself. God takes him up to the top of a green hill for a picnic, and offers Schmuel bread and cheese. It is of course good, but Schmuel is surprised at such simple fare. God breaks the bread and cheese and passes some to him. Out of the corner of his eye, Schmuel sees a fiery rift in the valley below, and realises that it looks down into Hell. Down there, a sumptuous meal is in progress, with the sinners tucking into roast meats and vegetables, apparently having a riotous time.

    After the simple lunch, God says that he’s enjoyed Schmuel’s company very much, and that they must do this again tomorrow. So, on the next day, Schmuel attends lunch once more, and is astonished to find that God has saved the left-over bread and cheese from the first day. He peeks down into Hell, where an enticing barbecue is apparently in progress. Schmuel’s mouth is watering. But he says nothing to God, who again invites him to lunch on the following day.

    On the third day, Schmuel can stand it no longer. The inhabitants of Hell can be seen to be having a magnificent feast, and God has once more offered him only bread and cheese. “God”, says Schmuel, “it’s not that I’m ungrateful to be here, and this bread and cheese is excellent, but could’t we have had a more elaborate, dare I say, more heavenly lunch?” “Schmuel”, replies God, “I am astonished by you. You are telling me that for two it is worth the trouble to cook?!”

  41. My favourite – but nothing to do with food.

    Do you know the definition of the yiddish word ‘Chutspa’? It means the nerve, the bare faced cheek, sheer audacity.
    Example: A young guy is having endless problems at work, they tell him that every little problem is his fault, and he has to work over to fix it. He hates the job but it’s all he has. Life sucks. Then he goes home to his mom and dad and faces the very same thing. It’s all his fault, nag, nag, nag. Well today, he snaps! He takes the shotgun from the wall he shoots them both dead. Someone calls the cops, and when he gets to court, he pleads with the judge for leniency on the grounds that he’s AN ORPHAN! That man has Chutspa!

    1. A ‘chutzpah’ one with food:
      One day a businessman came out of his office and noticed a little Jewish lady, dressed in tattered clothes, selling pretzels. Without a word he handed her 25 cents, but when she reached for a pretzel, he held up his hand, shook his head and walked away. Every day was the same: he looked at her without a word, gave her 25 cents, and walked away. After this had gone on for about 3 months, he again came up to her, gave her 25 cents. The woman looked up at him and said, “They’re 35 cents now.”

  42. A catholic, an Episcopalian, and a jew have died, and are waiting in the (seemingly interminable) line to enter Hell. To pass the time, they talk about what they did to end up here.

    “I’m afraid I secretly ate bacon whenever I could”, admitted the jew.

    “In my pride and conceit, I always ate red meat during lent”, confessed the catholic.

    They both turned to look at the Episcopalian, who hung his head in shame.

    “I used the wrong fork.”

  43. A Rabbi walks into a bar, with a frog on his shoulder. The bartender looks up and says, “where on earth did you get that?”

    The frog says “In Brooklyn! They’ve got hundreds of em!”

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