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The Jewish Joke

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Imprint: Profile Books
Pages: 192
Subject: Reference, Humour & Gift

The Jewish Joke

An essay with examples (less essay, more examples)

Devorah Baum

Heard the one about the Rabbi and the cow from Minsk? Look no further than this witty compendium, a fascinating and revealing celebration of the great Jewish Joke

Hardback(Preorder only)
9781781255230 (Published 26 Oct 2017)

About the book

The Jewish joke is as old as Abraham, and like the Jews themselves it has wandered over the world, learned countless new languages, worked with a range of different materials, been performed in front of some pretty hostile crowds, but still retained its own distinctive identity. So what is it that animates the Jewish joke? Why are Jews so often thought of as 'funny'? And how old can a joke get?

The Jewish Joke is a brilliant - and very funny - riff on Jewish jokes, about what marks them apart from other jokes, why they are important to Jewish identity and how they work. Ranging from self-deprecation to anti-Semitism, politics to sex, it looks at the past of Jewish joking and asks whether the Jewish joke has a future. With jokes from Woody Allen, Lena Dunham and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as Freud and Marx (Groucho mostly), this is both a compendium and a commentary, light-hearted and deeply insightful.

About the author

Devorah Baum is the author of the forthcoming Feeling Jewish (a book for just about anyone) (Yale, 2017) and co-director of the documentary film The New Man. She is Lecturer in English Literature and Critical Theory at the University of Southampton and affiliate of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations.


This book is funny, clever and, at times, heartbreaking. In other words, Jewish.

- David Baddiel

A Jew and a non-Jew read Devorah Baum's The Jewish Joke. They both found it hilarious and thought-provoking. Because it is.

- David Schneider

Additional Information

Imprint: Profile Books
Pages: 192
Subject: Reference, Humour & Gift

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