The tumultuous and disturbing events of the past few weeks left me feeling that I needed some laughter and lightness. In the good old days on the web (oh, about a year ago to be precise!), one could easily escape the news on the net - but nowadays it is with us virtually always.

So, mouse in hand, I wandered off looking for levity. My first stop was to do a Lycos search for "Jewish Humour". Since the Australians spell the same way we do, I was able to learn that the University of Melbourne offers a course: "Jewish Humour: From the Bible to Broadway."

The course summary does sound quite interesting! "A reading of Jewish culture by considering what has made Jews, at different points in their history, laugh. A study of humour and biblical and medieval Jewish narratives; Yiddish folklore; ... the Jews and Hollywood; ... the uses of laughter during the Holocaust."

This last topic, btw, reminded me that sometimes even on alt.revisionism, the primary posting ground of the Shoah deniers, one finds some excellent "flames" (a flame is probably best defined as a "put-down") that give cause for laughter. If I may say so, I have even received compliments on some I've contributed myself.

Returning to Lycos, I then did a search on "Jewish Humor" (much of the web does go the American way!) and discovered Jerry Cooper - a semi-retired, Californian, direct-mail pioneer who, judging by the typos, could use an editor for his bio. Cooper is offering (for only $3.00 each!) three 24-page books: "Holy Moses", "Recyled Traif" and "What's It Like Being Jewish? Besides Having Heartburn". And you can even " try 'em before you buy 'em" ()

My favourite "light spot" to return to is (believe it or not!) right here in Canada! I know it's not really "seasonal", but just like matza, " Uncle Eli's Special-for-Kids Most Fun Ever Under-the-Table Passover Haggadah" is good anytime of the year! Believe me, it is sheer delight - for young and old alike! Enjoy!

*Hilary Ostrov is a Chartered Webaholic, who lives in New Westminster, BC. When not busy "surfing the net", she is a consultant and educator who offers Internet "driving lessons", hypertext authoring and design of World Wide Web "Home Pages", and computer-related training. She can be contacted via e-mail ( or telephone (604) 525-3055

Copyright © 1995 Hilary Ostrov

This article was submitted for publication and appeared in the The Jewish Western Bulletin, Vol. LXII, No. 44


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