“Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People”–funny Jewish humor

Fogel, Bryan and Wolfson, Sam. “Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People”, Warner Books, 2006.

Funny Jewish Humor

Amos Lassen

One of the great traits of the Jewish people is our ability to laugh at ourselves “Jewtopia” gives us just that outlet. The book is somewhat based on authors Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson’s play which they created in 2003. They look at Jewish life and at themselves and have great fun laughing. The jokes are over the top and totally irreverent but that seems to be what makes them so funny. In the nine chapters in the book, you get a look at everything Jewish in a way that you have not looked at the Jewish religion before. I had a hard time turning the pages because I was laughing so hard. The first two chapters of the book deal with Jewish history in a very unhistorical way. If what us written in the book is, indeed, the history of the Jewish people than I should have paid more attention as a kid. The historical survey contains maps and insets and vocabulary as well as valuable little tidbits that are not taught at Sunday school.

Chapter 3 is a guide to the Jewish holidays and I guess I have been celebrating them wrong all of these years. In fact there are some new holidays that I never knew about such as Blachahbarchooeschai Day. I also learned that the things that I thought we were begging forgiveness for on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, were all wrong. There is a whole new list of things to atone for like telling a homeless guy that I had no cash right after I had just withdrawn money from the ATM about 20 feet away. An entire new explanation of the Seder plate used on Passover further enlightened me as did the section on Christmas vs. Chanukah.

Chapter 4 enlightens on the subject of food. There is a list of things to do in order to keep kosher like not eating fruit with mites and not drinking wine that has been touched by a non-Jew. There are also some interesting rules for eating such things as bagels and smoked fish.

In chapter 5 we have the Jewish guide to life—“from bar mitzvah to bowels” and that seems to be pretty inclusive just as is chapter six which deals with travel: “planes, trains and diarrhea”. Chapter 7 looks at the stereotypes within the Jewish religion with a great deal of emphasis on the Jewish nose which is something that really needs no extra emphasis. We are all certainly aware of Jewish conspiracies and this is the subject of chapter 8, subtitled “Do Jews Control the World?” (Notice please the question mark).

We finally get to the last chapter with our sides hurting from laughter and are presented with the final exam, “How Good a Jew Are You?” I am proud to say I passed. Throughout the book there are eight phone conversations with Jewish mothers which are sure to give you new insight into the Jewish religion.

I especially love the note in the travel section which stated that if you are tired of living with Jews then you should move to Arkansas. I can identify with that.

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