The Jewish Federation Connecting with Community presents "Exploring Jewish Humor" with Yiddish scholar, Dick Macht, PhD.
This three part series begins as Macht explores the world of Hershele Ostropolier, a "shoichet" in the town of Ostropoler, and the Wise Men of Chelm. One of the poorest of the poor, he earned his livelihood by making fun of the Jewish community and Rabbis. He was a great Jewish clown and his clever witticisms, and satirical remarks have survived today. Chelm in Poland was the legendary Jewish town of fools and innocents, "nebechs, shlimazls and shemiels."
Session 2 (Monday, July 1): Isaac Bashevis Singer
Singer is known for his writings delighting in Jewish religious customs, yet filled with humor and psychological skepticism. When asked in a synagogue where he was giving a lecture, "Mr. Singer, are you a vegetarian for health reasons?", his reply was 'Yes, for the health of the chicken."
The final session (Monday, July 8): Sholom Aleichem
Considered the father of modern Yiddish literature, Sholom Aleichem was a cultural hero of Eastern European Jews, who wrote about virtues and short comings with humor. Once seen talking to himself, a friend remarked, "Sholom, don't you realize you're talking to yourself?" Sholom replied, "And what if I do? I've finally found a clever person to talk to and you have to butt in."
This free program is part of the Federation’s Connecting With Community Series and will be followed by a kosher hot lunch. Lunch is a $2 suggested donation for adults over 60 years of age or $7 for all others. Advance reservations are required for lunch and can be made by calling (413) 442-2200 before 9 a.m. on the day of the program.