Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jewish Humor

A patron recently checked out a number of books relating to Jewish humor, for a paper that he planned to write on the topic. When I checked the books back in from the book drop, a few of them caught my attention.

One, titled The Jokes of Sigmund Freud, by Elliott Oring, analyzes Freud's use of humor in his writings. Apparently, as the book discusses, Freud used humor to support some of his ideas in his works. Turns out that he told some pretty good jokes.

Also of interest was Shtick Shift, by Simcha Weinstein (also author of Up, Up, and Oy Vey, about Jews and comic books), which talks about Jewish comedians and the changes that have undergone Jewish comedy in the 21st century from previous times.

I also took a look at A. Stanley Kramer's World's Best Jewish Humor, which, as it promises, provides a compendium of Jewish jokes in various categories: one-liners, Rabbi jokes, Chelm, shadchens, NY, Israel, and others.

Television's Changing Image of American Jews (by Neal Gabler, Frank Rich, and Joyce Antler) deals with the obvious--images of Friends, Seinfeld, and the Nanny illustrate the cover--and includes photographs from the Jews in Prime Time Television Conference, an event about which I had never heard.

Finally, for a Leo Baeck Institute memorial lecture (45) Ruth Wisse presented "Some Serious Thoughts about Jewish Humor," which discusses the general phenomenon of Jewish humor and the unique nature that it can take. Wisse points out the ability of Jews to turn even suffering into ironic humor, as evidenced by Broadway's The Producers--"Springtime for Hitler and Germany..." Wisse too makes mention of Freud's use of humor, and brings jokes by various classics such as Saul Bellow, Isaac Bashevis Singer (from his work titled Gimpel the Fool), and Shalom Aleichem. One self-reflective joke, brought by humorist Royte Pomerantsn: "when you tell a Jew a joke, he says, 'I've heard it before. And I can tell it better'."

This all should make for a very interesting paper. My thanks to the student who checked out all of these books.

JTS Professors - Bibliographies of their writings

Patrons often have queries that require access to bibliographies of the writings of JTS professors. Here is a list of such bibliographies for six of our most noted professors. As you can see, some of the bibliographies are incomplete because they were written during their subject’s lifetime. We ask you to join the conversation by suggesting more comprehensive bibliographies or listing works that were published after the years covered in the given bibliographies. Thank you.
Prof. Louis Finkelstein (1895-1991)

Visotzky, Burton L.; Oppenheim, Micha Falk.
A bibliography of the writings of Louis Finkelstein
New York : Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1977.
Z8297.4 .J48 1977 (REF, CIR)
[only covers through 1974]

Hamelsdorf, Ora.
The writings of Louis Finkelstein, 1975-1985 : a supplement to A bibliography of the writings of Louis Finkelstein
[Typescript – prepared for the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, 1985]
Oversize Z8297.4 .J48 1977 Suppl (REF, CIR)
[only covers 1975-1985]

Prof. Louis Ginzberg (1873-1953)

Cohen, Boaz, 1899-1968.
Louis Ginzberg ; jubilee volume on the occasion of his seventieth birthday [English section]
New York : The American Academy for Jewish Research, 1945.
BM42.A2 G5 (REF, CIR)
[only covers through 1945]

Prof. Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972)

Rothschild, Fritz A.
Between God and man : an interpretation of Judaism from the writings of Abraham Joshua Heschel
New York : Free Press Paperbacks, 1997.
BM561 .H45 1997 (CIR)
p.275 -298

Prof. Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881-1983)

Cohen, Gerson D. ; Newman, Roberta
The American Judaism of Mordecai M. Kaplan
New York : New York University Press, c1990.
BM755.K289 A84 1990 (CIR)

Prof. Saul Lieberman (1898 -1983)

Preschel, Tovia ; Friedman, Shamma.
Sefer ha-ziḳaron le-Rabi Shaʾul Liberman - Saul Lieberman Memorial Volume
Nyu Yorḳ : Bet ha-sefarim le-rabanim be-Ameriḳah, 1993.
BM42.A2. L562 1993 (REF, CIR)
p. [1]-28

Prof. Solomon Schechter (1849?-1915)

Oko, Adolph S., 1883-1944.
Solomon Schechter : a bibliography
Cambridge [Eng.] : The University Press, 1938.
Z8789.3 .O42 (REF,CIR, SRR)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Passover Cookbooks

The JTS Library has a wonderful collection of cookbooks devoted to kosher for Passover recipes. An easy way to get an overview is to do a search by subject in the Aleph online catalog beginning with the words "Passover cookery." One can also peruse the shelves under the classification number "TX739" to see the books and decide which to borrow as all Passover cookbooks are circulating copies. The collection includes American Jewish classics such as The Manischewitz Passover Cookbook and The New York Times Passover Cookbook and, from Israel, The Jerusalem Post Taste of Passover Cookbook and Kasher le-Fesah/Passover Gourmet. Several are for those that follow special diets - The Vegetarian Pesach Cookbook and No Cholesterol Passover Recipes. The winner for the most intriguing title of all is The When You Live in Hawaii, You Get Very Creative During Passover Cookbook.

And for those who would like even more recipes, note that almost all kosher cookbooks have sections devoted to kosher for Passover recipes. General kosher cookbooks can be accessed in Aleph by the subject "Jewish cookery"; they are shelved under the classification number, TX724.

Hag Pesah Sameah, Happy Passover, Rita Lifton