Vital humor

Vital humor

Regarding “Can Yom HaShoah have a lighter side?” (April 12), I think humor among Holocaust victims who were religious was very much present as a tool of resistance and survival, but that it was just less overt and more subtle. 

Religious humor does not involve sex or bathroom subjects. That notwithstanding, I’m sure humor was vital for them — probably in the guise of mocking the Nazis and humor of the corny variety. 

It’s a misconception that religious Jews are so serious that they are mostly humorless. We have lots of humor in the way of wordplays and puns. It’s also a misconception that religious Jews did not actively resist their persecution. Their spiritual resistance was significant and life-sustaining. Humor is part of spiritual resistance. It’s all about maintaining a living spirit in the face of challenge, persecution, and sometimes tragedy. 

Nechama Goodman

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