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In over 20 years of writing Jewish humor, I think I’ve heard every single Jewish joke every told, written, and repeated in books, online, from records (those round vinyl things), and from comedians. I’ve even made up a few (hundred) myself.

On such JJ (Jewish Joke) overload, you can imagine how long it takes to choose between thousand I’ve heard and used. Yet, among the tens of thousands, there are some that still make me slap my good knee (a hard find these days).

So for you, dear readers, I bring you these special jokes. The criteria?

They are quintessentially Jewish

You can tell them over and over, and they’re still classics. There’s a reason.

A terrific joke is like that girl with the curl. When they’re good they’re very very good, showcasing our unique culture, spirit, wit, special brand of sarcasm – and yes, sometimes narishkeit.



A devout nun dies and goes to heaven. Saint Peter asks her if she has any wishes he might fulfill.

She humbly replies she would like an audience with the Holy Mother Mary. Peter agrees. Sitting in a plain chair, is a middle-aged woman in the garb of the first century, knitting.

The nun sits reverently at Mary’s feet and finally gets up the nerve to ask: “Reverend Mother, you were chosen from all women for such a special honor. Can you give me an inkling of what it felt like when the Lord Jesus was born?”

With a distant look in her eyes, Mary sighs: “Vell….Ich hob takkeh gevolt a maydel.” (“Well, I was really hoping for a girl.”)


Four rabbis engage in theological arguments, and it’s always three against one. Finally, the odd rabbi out appealed to a higher authority.

“God!” he cries. “I know I’m right! Please, a sign to prove it to them!” Suddenly, from a clear day, it snows. “See? A sign!”

“Snow in winter is unusual?” reply the others.

The odd rabbi looks up: “Please, God, a bigger sign!” A huge icicle brings a tree tumbling. “See? A sign!”

“A sign of nature!” they insist, again making it three to one.

Just as the rabbi was about to beg an even bigger sign, the sky blackened and a booming voice intoned: “HEEEEEEEE’S RIIIIIIIGHT!” The rabbi, hands on hips, says, “Well?!”

The others shrug, “OK, so now it’s three to two.”


More our children are using teeny mysterious gizmos to “talk” in their code: Texting. Here’s a leg up for us!

Lesson 1: “Theirs” –The P’s

Here are a few text codes we BJPs should wise up to.

PAW/PRW – Parents are watching; PIR — Parents in room; POS – Parents over Shoulder;    PAL – Parents are listening; NP — Nosy parents; MOS – Mom over shoulder; KPC — Keeping parents clueless; CD9 — parents are around; P911 – Parent alert.

Lesson 2:  Texts WE can use when they think we’re not there:

AIR:                ALREADY IN ROOM. 2 BAD.


I C U:              I SEE YOU

IHT!:               I HEARD THAT



WEL:               WE ARE LISTENING


Morris found his wife, Minnie, crying.

“You’re having an affair mit dat chippy in your office. Vhy, Morris? Haven’t I made you heppy?”

“In every way — except maybe — you don’t moan ven ve make love.”

“If I moaned you’d stop mit the chippy?  Alright. For you, Morris, I’ll moan!”

That night they kiss. Minnie asks, “Now, Morris? Should I moan now?”

“No not yet.”

Morris hugs her.  “Now?”

“I’ll tell you ven”

Finally, as they start to make love, Morris yellsd “Now, Minnie, moan! MOAN!”

“Oy! Vat a day I had today!”


A pious rabbi dies and goes to heaven. On his first day he’s served borscht.  On the second, also borscht. Peering over to those “on the other side,” he notices they were being served sumptuous roast chickens, brisket, blintzes. Finally he requested to see Golde, the head baleboosteh* angel.

“May I ask a question?” he says humbly.

“Of course, Rabbi.”

“Why is it, here in heaven, I’m given borscht, and for those “down there” you prepare a feast?”

She sighs, “Between you and me … it doesn’t pay to cook for two.”




A tour bus with 30 Hadassah Ladies turn over and all are dispatched to heaven.  On their arrival, the admitting angel can’t let them in, as the computers are down.  So God intervenes. Alas, He asks Satan to provide housing until the error was corrected.  So the ladies go down to their temporary quarters.  Soon after, God receives an urgent telephone call from Satan telling Him to take the women off his hands.

“What’s the problem?” asks God.

Satan replies, “Those Hadassah Ladies are ruining my whole set-up.  Only two hours and already they raised $100,000 for an air conditioning system!”


Seymour Lipsky shlepped alone to scale the sheerest face of Mount Carmel when suddenly a ledge gave way. Seymour fell 150 feet, managing, by a miracle, to grab onto a branch. He swung, yelling, “Help!  Help!”

A great voice intoned, “My son, do you have faith in Me?”

“Yes! Yes!”

“Do you trust Me without reservation?”

“Oh, yes, Lord!”

“Then let go of that branch!”

A pause; then says Lipsky, “Excuse me, but — is there anyone else up there I can talk to?”



A Jewish Mother and her four-year-old are walking along the beach when suddenly, a gigantic wave rolls upon the shore, sweeping the little girl out to sea.

“Oh, God” laments the mother, her face toward heaven. “This is my only baby. She’s the love  of my life. Please God!  Bring her back to me and I’ll go to synagogue every day!”

Suddenly, another gigantic wave rolled upon the beach and deposits the girl back on the sand, safe and sound.

The mother looks up and says, “Listen … she had on a hat …”


Batman: “Ok, it’s a nice car, Brucie. But the insurance alone will break you.”

Goldilocks: “I’ve got a bill for a broken chair from the Bear family. You know anything about this, Goldie?!”

Little Miss Muffet: “If you don’t get off your tuffet and clean your room, we’ll all drop dead from the spiders!”

Superman:  “Clarkala, your father and I have discussed it, and yes! You can have a cell phone. Now will you quit with all those phone booths?”

Mary: “OK, so the fakakta lamb followed you to school … but how did he get a better grade than you?”


After leaving Brooklyn and shlepping on planes and donkeys, Mrs. Bloom arrives in India at the ashram of the guru, Baba Ganish.

“I gotta see him,” she tells an assistant.

“Nobody may see the Great Guru.”

“Mistah — I gotta see him!” she insists, but he’s adamant.

So she sits at the doorstep until he reluctantly agrees.

“You may say no more than three words.”

“OK, three words.”

Mrs. Bloom is led down a marble hall, where a young man is on a mat chanting, “Om chanti.”

Stepping in front of him, she yells, “Come home, Sheld’n!”



Dora, an elderly bubbe is sitting at home knitting when her phone rings. “Hello,” she says.

A breathy male voice replies. “I can tell from your voice you’d love for me to come to your house, take off your clothes, throw you onto your bed and make mad passionate love to you.”

“Excuse me, mistah,” says the bubbe, but all this you got from one ‘hello?’”


Tim and Lyle, walking down Main Street with Moshe, their Jewish boss, spy an oil lamp. With a rub, out pops a genie.

“You get one wish a piece,” says the genie.

Lyle excitedly shouts. “I want to be on a yacht in Bermuda!” Poof. He disappears.

Tim exclaims: “Make mine Hawaii –with beauty queens!” Poof, he disappears.

Moshe, the boss, looks around and calmly says: “For my wish …  I want those shmegeggies  back in the office right after lunch!”


Five Jewish men are playing poker when Meyer loses $1,500 on a single hand, stands up, clutches his chest and drops dead.

They looks around and ask, “Now, who is going to tell the wife?”

They draw straws. Shmukler, always a loser, picks the short one. They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don’t make a bad situation worse.

Shmukler shleps to Meyer’s apartment, knocks on the door, and the wife answers. He

declares “Your husband just lost $1,500, and is afraid to come home.”


Shmukler says, “Done!”


A Jewish granny is strolling in the park at dusk. All of a sudden a strange man walking by opens his raincoat, and flashes her.

Unruffled, she takes a look, shakes her head, and remarks, “This you call a lining?”


God’s a bissel worn out. So he talks to St. Peter.

“Pete, I could use a vacation. Oy, but where?”

“How about Jupiter?” offers St. Peter. “It’s nice this time of the year.”

“That gravity?! With my arthritis!”

St. Peter reflects. “Well, how about Mercury?”

“The heat!” says God. “I’ll shvitz!”

“Wait. Got it!” St. Peter says. “How about Earth for your vacation?”

“Oy gevalt!” screams God.  “Two thousand years ago I went there, had a little thing

with a nice Jewish girl, and they’re still talking about it!”

SO, NU?? 

Myrna and David have been dating for five years, yet not once did David bring up the subject of marriage. Finally, Myrna’s mama sat her down.

“Darling, I think you’ve waited long enough. The next time you’re out, give him a little hint, OK Mamala?”

Before Shabbat, David takes Myrna to their favorite Kosher Chinese Restaurant. As he reads the menu, he casually askes her, “So Myrna, how do you want your rice? White or fried?”

Without hesitating, Myrna lookes up at him, and replies, “Thrown.”



The Yiddish curse is a prophecy (“May you …).  Older ones involved evils of the time.

Today, many younger Jews have lost the art. (How many know from Ukrainian regiments

or outhouses? )  So, I’ve written new Jewish Curses for today. Use them wisely!

May you chat online, and find the perfect mate who not only listens, but repeats

everything you say … and may you discover he’s a socially sophisticated cockatoo.

May the men in your family be blessed with luxurious hair well into their eighties, and

May you be the only one to inherent great-zayde Yossel’s recessive gene for male pattern

baldness which kicks in the day after your Bar Mitzvah!


When Izydor Epstein from Poland applies for an American driver’s license he was asked to read the eye chart. The clerk points to the first line with the letters “P O W Z Y N S K E Y.”

“Now sir,” says the clerk. “Can you read this?”

“Read it?” replies Izydor. “The man used to be my next-door neighbor!”


The Italian says, I’m tired and thirsty. I must have wine.

The Scotsman says, I’m tired and thirsty. I must have Scotch.

The Russian says, I’m tired and thirsty. I must have Vodka.

The Jew says, I’m tired and thirsty. I must have diabetes.


Morty is on his deathbed. His wife, Pearl, is by his side, holding his fragile hand, as tears run down her face. He looks up and his pale lips begin to move slightly.

“Darling …”

“Shhh, Morty. Don’t talk.”

“Pearl,” he continues … “I have a confession to make to you.”

“Sha. Everything’s all right, go to sleep now.”

“No. I must die in peace.  Pearl, I slept with your sister, and your best friend.”

Pearl musters a pained smile. “I knew, darling … who do you think gave you the poison?”


What Jews may lack in fists, we make for in pisks (mouths). The Jewish curse is

delivered with a juicy, literate, malediction that no mere obscene word could possibly

convey. Like caviar, it must be savored , as the whole point is not to swear, but to …


May an oak grow in your left ear and the acorns burst your bellybutton.

May the lice in your shirt marry the bedbugs in your mattress and may their offspring set

up residence in your underwear.

May your blood turn to whiskey, so that 100 bedbugs get drunk on it and dance the

mazurka in your belly button.


Irving, a furrier, couldn’t sleep. He was growing thin and haggard. His partner, Mendel said: “So count sheep.”

“Good idea,” says Irving.  Tonight I’ll count!”

The next morning, he looks even worse.”

“Nu?” asked Mendel, “Did you count?”

“Did I count! All the way to 5,000 sheep. Bupkes! So then, I sheared them. Still I was wide awake.  So then I made up 5,000 coats.”

“So nu … what happened?”

“I was in a panic worrying: Where am I gonna get 5,000 linings?!”


Once again, Pharaoh breaks his promise to Moses, refusing to release the Jews from bondage. His brother, Aaron, discusses the problem with his wife.

“That Pharaoh! He should only burn up!” he spits.

“Aaron, we are all children of God, descended from Adam and Eve,” reproves his wife. “That make us all family – even Pharaoh.”

“Yeah?” says Moses. “Then Pharaoh must come from your side of the family!”


In shul, Sheld’n tells his mother: “Mama, finally, I’ve found my bashert.* Just for fun, I’m going to bring over three women and you guess which is “the one.” Mama agrees.

The next day he brings three beauties who sit on the sofa and chat with Mama over a little cake.

After they leave, he challenges, “OK, Mama. Guess which one I’m going to marry?”

“The von in the middle mit the red hair,” she replies instantly.

“Right!  But … how did you know?” asks Sheld’n, amazed.

“Simple. Her, I don’t like.”


*meant to be, as in marriage



1.   I Was One of the Chosen People (’Til She Chose Somebody Else)

2.   Stand By Your Mensch*

3.   I Balanced Your Books But You’re Breaking My Heart

4.   When She Said ‘Sholom*’ I Knew She Meant ‘Goodbye.’

5.   Mamas Don’t Let Your Ungrateful Sons Grow Up to be Cowboys (When They Could Take

Over the Hardware Store that Your Zayde* Broke His Back to Start Which They’re Turning Their Backs On Now)


*hello, goodbye, peace




A rabbi who was ill in the hospital received a large vase of flowers along with the following note:

“The congregation wishes you a speedy and complete recovery — by a vote of 212 to 74!”


Esther, a Yiddishe Mama, was on her way to Bloomingdale’s on a snowy winter day, when she heard music coming from close by. On the corner, she saw a busker playing a violin. So she joined the small crowd listening to the music. Suddenly, a flasher enters the crowd, opens his coat and bares all.

Esther marches right over to the busker and says: “Listen, mamala … how much would you charge for playing, ‘Button Up Your Overcoat?’”


The Rabbi answered his phone.

“Hello, is this Rabbi Schwartz?”

“It is.”

“This is the IRS.  Can you help us?”

“I can.”

“Do you know Sol Rabinowitz?”

“I do.”

“Is he a member of your congregation?”

“He is”

“Did he donate $10,000?”

“He will.”


Irwin and Murray celebrate selling their raincoat business by going on safari in Africa. One night in the jungle, they’re frozen in their tracks by an ominous, low roar.

“Murray …” quakes Irwin.

“I heard …”

“Sha! …  Look behind me … tell me what you see. A lion? A tiger? A leopard?”

“I should know?” moans Murray.  “What am I? A furrier?”


Eli and Bella are celebrating their golden wedding anniversary.The local Jewish newspaper is  interviewing them about their successful marriage.

“It started on our honeymoon,”explains Eli. We went down the Grand Canyon on mules, when Bella’s mule slipped. She looked at him and quietly said. ‘That’s once.’ The mule slipped again.Bella looked him in the eyes and said, ‘That’s twice.’ When he stumbled a third time, Bella took out a gun and shot the mule dead. When I yelled at her, she looked at me and quietly said, ‘That’s once.’”


YeshivaUniversity decides to create a crew team. Unfortunately, they lose race after race. Every day, they practice for hours and hours but always come in dead last. Finally they send Yankel to spy on the Harvard team.

Yankel shleps off to Cambridge and hides in the bushes off the Charles River from where he secretly watches the Harvard team practice. After two days, he returns, satisfied.

“I figured out how they do it,” says Yankel to his eager teammates. “They have eight fellows rowing and only one fellow screaming!”



A priest, a minister and a rabbi are asked: “What would you like people to say about you after you die?”

The priest says: “That I helped my flock understand the absolute love that God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have for them as Catholics.”

The minister says, “That I spread the love of Christ and a faith everlasting.”

Finally, it’s the rabbi’s turn. Without pausing, he answers, “As for me, I’d like them to say, ‘Look. He’s breathing!’”


Three Jewish women in Miami are bragging about their devoted sons.

Mrs. Cohen says, “Mine son is so devoted, he bought me a top of the line A-1 refrigerator.

Mrs. Applebaum counters: Mine son bought me a cruise around the world. Foist-class.”

Mrs. Levy says: “Vell, mine is more devoted. On mine boithday, 300 people he flew in from Brooklyn — and catered!”

Mrs. Fine sniffs, unimpressed:  “You vant to hear devoted? Three times a week my son goes to a psychiatrist.  A $120 an hour he pays him.  And what does he talk about the whole time?  Me.”


Sidney Shmendelson couldn’t believe God sent him Esther, such a perfect wife.

He asked God,  “Why did you make Esther so kind-hearted?”

God says,  “So you could love her, my son.”

“And so good-looking?”

“So you could love her, my son.”

“And such a cook?”

“So you could love her, my son.”

“The only thing, God,” he says, “why with those gifts did you make her so stupid?”

God sighs, “So she could love you, my son.”


A priest, a preacher and a rabbi meet regularly. All agree that preaching isn’t that hard. A  challenge would be to preach to a bear. So they go into the woods, find a bear, preach, and attempt to convert it.  Afterwards, they compare notes.

Father Flannery, arm in a sling, says, “I read to my bear from the Catechism. Well, that bear was tough. I sprinkled him with holy water, and Sunday he’s taking his first communion.”

Reverend Jones, in a wheelchair says, “I read to the bear from God’s Holy Word! But he wrestled me near a creek. I baptized him. We spent the day praising Jesus.”

They both look at the rabbi in a full body cast. “Oy. Looking back, circumcision may not have been the best way to start.”