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Humor from Jewish folklore p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to give a few samples from out of print and sometimes forgotten books. Here are a few shorter gags from A Treasury of Jewish Folklore. It’s a 740 page collection of all sorts of stories, collected by the author, Nathan Ausubel. 

Some of these gags have been recycled in different forms through the years in everything from comics to sketch comedy. These stories and gags often feature twisted logic.  

The author, Nathan Ausubel (1898-1986), was born in Galicia, and he and his family immigrated to Brooklyn in 1902. These gags are from Part Three of the book, called The Human Comedy. It was originally published in 1948. These samples are from a 1960 printing by Crown Publishers, New York. It’s well worth finding a copy. 

The Umbrella

Two sages [ironic term for fools] of Chelm went out for a walk. One carried an umbrella, the other didn’t. Suddenly, it began to rain.

“Open your umbrella, quick!” suggested the one without an umbrella.

“It won’t help,” answered the other.

“What do you mean, it won’t help? It will protect us from the rain.”

“It’s no use, the umbrella is as full of holes as a sieve.”

“Then why did you take it along in the first place?”

“I didn’t think it would rain.”

Why Noodles are Noodles

Once, someone asked Motke Chabad, the wag, “Tell me, Motke, you’re a smart fellow – why do they call noodles ‘noodles’?”

Motke answered without hesitation, “What a question to ask! They’re long like noodles, aren’t they? They’re soft like noodles, aren’t they? And they taste like noodles, don’t they? So why shouldn’t they be called noodles?”

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