The Lighter Side – January 2024



During a service at an old synagogue in Eastern Europe, when a particular prayer was said, half the congregants stood up and half remained sitting. The half that was seated started yelling at those standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the ones sitting to stand up.

The new rabbi didn’t know what to do. His congregation suggested that he consult a housebound 98-year-old man who was one of the original founders of their shul. The rabbi hoped the elderly man would be able to tell him what the actual tradition was, so he went to the nursing home with a representative of each faction of the congregation.

The one whose followers stood during the prayer asked the old man, “Is the tradition to stand during this prayer?”

The old man answered, “No, that is not the tradition.”

The one whose followers sat said, “Then the tradition is to sit!”

The old man answered, “No, that is not the tradition.”

Then the rabbi said to the old man, “But the congregants fight all the time, yelling at each other about whether they should sit or stand.”

The old man interrupted, exclaiming, “THAT is the tradition!”

Alex H.

Fire Drill

At a training session at a new fire station in the North of Israel, the team was assembled around the fire station’s lunch table.

Captain Hadari, the training officer, was discussing the behavior of fire: “Let’s say you pull up to an apartment building and notice puffs of smoke coming from the eaves, blackened out windows, and little or no visible flame. What does this tell you?” he asked.

Expecting to hear that the apartment building is in a possible back draft situation, a condition very dangerous to fire fighters, Itzik pipes up from the back and says, “You got the right place!”

Norman T.

The Office Schlemiel

It’s Oy Veh Ltd.’s 10th anniversary and the Jewish Press has decided to publish an article on the company and how it has managed to survive the recession. So one of the Jewish Press’s reporters is sent out to interview the proprietor, Sidney Offenbach.

“Mr. Offenbach,” says the reporter, “I’d like to start by asking you to describe your employees, what they do, and how much each earns.”

“No problem,” says Sidney. “In total, there are only two employees. First of all there’s my office clerk. He’s been with me for five years now and I couldn’t do without him. He works a full eight-hour day for five days a week and for that I pay him $75,000 per year. I also provide him with a free lunch consisting of a corned beef sandwich and a can of Coke. Oh, and I also let him use my small one-bedroom apartment for free.”

“And then there’s the office schlemiel,” continues Sidney. “He’s been with Oy Veh Ltd. ever since it opened for business 10 years ago. He works 12 hour days six days a week and probably handles 80 percent of all the work. In total, he takes home around $20,000 per year, but he has to pay for his own accommodation. And that’s not all. Sometimes he takes care of my mother-in-law if my wife is out with her friend.”

“Thank you Mr. Offenbach,” says the Jewish Press reporter, “that’s very interesting. If it’s alright with you, I’d like to talk to this person, the one you call the office schlemiel. Can you take me to him please?”

“I don’t need to,” replies Sidney, “you’re looking at him right now.”

Louie A.

The Nose Knows

Mrs. Goldman walked into Ralph’s pharmacy asking for a particular nasal spray. “You know, that brand is very addictive,” Ralph warned her. “If it’s used for a prolonged period of time, your congestion can come back worse than before, prompting even further use.”

“That’s ridiculous,” scoffed the Mrs. Goldman. “I’ve been using it every day for years!”

Rena C.

The Penny Trick

Sam had just finished tucking his kids into bed one evening when he heard sobbing coming from three-year-old David’s room. Rushing to his side, Sam found him crying hysterically. David had accidentally swallowed a penny and was scared of the consequences. No amount of talking could calm him down.

Desperate to calm him, Sam palmed a penny that he happened to have in his pocket and pretended to pull it from David’s ear. David was delighted. In a flash, he snatched it from his father’s hand, swallowed it and demanded cheerfully, “Daddy, do it again!”

Marvin S.