Watch: Are Jews really funny?

Arutz Sheva visits the new exhibition on Jewish humor at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People.

Yoni Kempinski,

Let There Be Laughter exhibit at Beit Hatfusot
Let There Be Laughter exhibit at Beit Hatfusot
Yoni Kempinski

Arutz Sheva visited Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People, which is currently holding an exhibition entitled “Let There Be Laughter - Jewish Humor Around the World”

The exhibition deals with the questions of what makes Jews so funny? And how did “The People of the Book” turn out to be superstar writers, producers and comedians? The museum takes a lighthearted look at the origins of Jewish humor and the major contributions of Jews to the rise of a global industry.

“It’s totally true” that Jews are funny in a different way than the rest of the world, says Asaf Galay, co-curator of the new exhibition. “I think that this great exhibit convinces the visitors that there is something unique in Jewish humor.”

The exhibition looks at Jewish humor from the Bible until our times and looks at Jewish humor from many countries.

The common denominator between Seinfeld, Borat and the Marx Brothers is that “all of them have the same kind of roots – the archetype of this funny guy who doesn’t know what is happening. He’s a little bit naïve and he’s laughing about what he sees.”

Humor, explains Galay, was a way for Jews in the Diaspora to deal with the challenges they faced.

“It was a psychological way to deal with these difficulties of living in the Diaspora,” he notes, adding that Israeli humor is a bit different than classical Jewish humor.

“A lot of people critique the Israeli humor for being different than the traditional Jewish humor, saying that when we become a state and we become strong, we cannot laugh about ourselves, but that’s not true. We can still find a lot of Israeli comedians who laugh about their Jewish mother and their tradition at home.”

The exhibition, concludes Galay, teaches us “that Jewish humor is something that is part of our unity as a Jewish people, as a real common ground that we can talk about, that we can argue over, and that we can take to the future.”




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