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Move Over, Mel Brooks

Rabbi Micah Streiffer

Last month when I saw this headline:

Israel’s first moon mission blasts off from Florida

It made me think of this classic movie scene:

You can understand why, right??

Granted, certain key elements of my childhood identity were formed by Mel Brooks movies, so it seems only reasonable to filter the real world through the lens of History of the World, Spaceballs, and Young Frankenstein.

(By the way, if you have not yet seen Mel Brooks’s epic History of the World, Part 1, including the “Jews in Space” epilogue, my rabbinic advice is that you run, not walk, to correct that grievous error.)

One of the great contributions that the Jewish people have made to society is our humour. Mel Brooks himself has written about how humour is a great coping mechanism, a response to our sometimes-tragic history. The 2013 Pew Study found that a sense of humour continues to be an important element of Jewish identity for Jews in North America. (Slightly below intellectual curiosity, and statistically even with caring about Israel!)

What is it about the world that makes us Jews think it’s so funny? I believe it is our sense of optimism. The sense that world can be a good place – that there is always the capacity to decrease the suffering around us, and that maybe being able to laugh is the first step.


There will be plenty of laughing at our Purim Spiel on Wednesday, March 20, humourWe don’t have to blast into space to find great 6pm. With a theme of “Shushan Rhapsody,” we’ll be pairing great humour with amazing music, based on the songs of the classic rock band Queen. The spiel is followed by our Purim carnival, with fun for all ages (and even a separate “hideaway” for adults)! I look forward to seeing you all there.


Rabbi Micah Streiffer

Tue, August 9 2022 12 Av 5782