Nine Questions that Jews Ask

Here's one in an occasional series of books that should have been written.

You may or may not be familiar with that important work: The Nine Questions People Ask about Judaism (Talushkin and Prager 1986), a seminal work that covers complex philosophical questions ranging from can one doubt God's existence and still be a good Jew to why do we need organised religion?

All well and good, but I have in mind a companion volume, entitled: Nine Questions that Jews Ask. The philosophical questions are important, sure, but there are more practical day-to-day questions that are the fuel of everyday suburban Jewish life. And, without further ado, here they are:

  1. We're not happy with this room/table/life, can we have an upgrade?
  2. Can you tell me where the toilet is?
  3. Are you related to the Lighting Levy's from Stanmore?
  4. This is ridiculous service/food, get me the manager immediately?
  5. How much do you think their house is worth?
  6. That's a lovely coat, tell me, did you get it in the sale at John Lewis? How much was it?
  7. Tell me, he's successful in business?
  8. You have a son? He's single? (Gender variants may be accepted)
  9. Divorced? Who gets the house?

It was tough work, sifting out the nine most meaningful questions, I can tell you. There was serious competition from the "how much does he earn" brigade, but the panel decided that wasn't a generic Jewish question, it was a professional/middle class one.

And then, transposing them into that strange translated-from-Yiddish idiom. Soon, I'll have to sit down for coffee and cake, as Jackie Mason would say.

23 September 2002

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