"Jews & Humor"

Omaha Jewish Community Center and Creighton University
October 25-26, 2009

Our sincere thanks to the following for making this event possible:

The Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization at Creighton University and the Norman & Bernice Harris Center for Judaic Studies at University of Nebraska-Lincoln 


The Kripke Center for the Study of Religion and Society at Creighton University and the Jewish Federation of Omaha.

Generous support is also provided by:
The Ike and Roz Friedman Foundation
The Riekes Family
The Creighton College of Arts and Sciences
Creighton University Committee on Lecture, Films, and Concerts
The Gary Javitch Family Foundation
The Center for Jewish Education
The Henry Monsky Lodge of B'nai B'rith
The Dr. Bruce S. Bloom Memorial Endowment
And others

SUNDAY, October 25, 2009
10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

All activities take place at the Omaha Jewish Community Center, 333 South 132nd Street


10:30 – 11:55

Session I

10:30 – 11:10

Theodore Albrecht, Kent State University
“'They Ain't Makin' Jews like Jesus Anymore': The Musical Humor of Kinky Friedman and His Texas Jewboys in Historical and Geographical Perspective”

11:15 – 11:55

Joanna Sliwa, Clark University
“The Creation of Polish Public Perception of Jews Through Jewish Humor”

12:00 – 1:00


1:05 – 3:15


1:05 – 1:45

David Brodsky, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
"'Why Did the Widow Have a Goat in Her Bed?'  Midrash and the Making of Jewish Humor"

1:50 – 2:30

Eliezer Diamond, Jewish Theological Seminary
“You Had to Be There: A Preliminary Taxonomy of Narrative Humor in Rabbinic Literature”

2:35 – 3:15

Peter Haas, Case Western Reserve University
“Massechet Purim”

3:15 – 3:35


3:35 – 5:00


3:35 – 4:15

Leonard Helfgott, Western Washington University
"Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Karl: Immigrant Humor and the Depression"

4:20 – 5:00

Michael Rubinoff, Arizona State University
“Nuances and Subtleties in Jewish Film Humor”



Evening Program at the Omaha Jewish Community Center, 333 South 132nd Street Theatre

7:30 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.

7:30- 8:45


Welcome Remarks:

Fr. John F. Schlegel, President, Creighton University
Steve Riekes, The Jewish Federation of Omaha
Leonard J. Greenspoon, Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization


Joyce Antler,
Samuel Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture, Brandeis University

"'One Clove Away From a Pomander Ball': The Subversive Tradition of Jewish Female Humor"


MONDAY, October 26, 2009
8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

All activities take place at the Creighton University Skutt Student Center Ballroom
Visitor parking is available at the Lied Center - 24th and Cass Street




8:30 – 9:10

Charles David Isbell
"Humor in the Bible"

9:15 – 9:55


David Peterson and Joan Latchaw, University of Nebraska, Omaha
"Jewish Humor, Comedy, and Collaborative Resistance in Mel Brooks' To Be or Not To Be"

9:55 - 10:05




10:05 – 10:45


Jason Kalman, Hebrew Union College
"Heckling the Divine: Woody Allen, the Book of Job, and Jewish Theology"

10:50 – 11:30


David Gillota, University of Wisconsin, Platteville
"The New Jewish Blackface: African American Tropes in Contemporary Jewish Humor"



11:30 – 1:00

Welcome Remarks: Robert Lueger, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Creighton University

11:30 – 12:15


12:20 – 1:00


Giovanna Del Negro, Texas A&M University
"The Bad Girls of Jewish Comedy: Gender, Class, Assimiliation, and Whiteness in Post WWII America"