“Four men are walking in the desert. The German says, ‘I’m tired, I’m thirsty. I must have a beer.’ The Italian says, ‘I’m tired, I’m thirsty, I must have some wine.’ And the Jew says, ‘I’m tired, I’m thirsty. I must have diabetes.’”
This old joke got a roaring response from the overflow crowd when Amy Saidman told it at SpeakeasyDC’s production of My So-Called Jewish Life, held Dec. 18 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington.
Seven storytellers spent 10 minutes each on stage talking about their Jewish lives. Saidman, the night’s host, kept the audience entertained between sets by soliciting Jewish-themed jokes from the audience and telling a few herself.
Layla McCay, the first performer, talked about a memorable trip with Birthright Israel where she learned about her Jewish heritage and found her b’shert, her intended, who she said was probably not someone Birthright envisioned: “I ended up marrying a nice Jewish girl,” she told the audience.
Annie Lipsitz mixed humor into a serious story about how, at 27, she was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone-marrow transplant to save her life. She said she had thought that her donor was a Jewish man, but after she contacted him, it turned out “he had Jewish friends and a Jewish sister-in-law and a Jewish boss, but he was not Jewish.”
Still, her dad, who was obsessed with Lipsitz finding a Jewish man as a donor, “thinks he was the best thing to happen to our family.”
Other performers included Nate Klass, who talked about being a Jewish boy from Long Island moving with his family to very not-Jewish Reno, Nev.; and Temple Sinai Assistant Rabbi Hannah Goldstein telling a story about flying $50,000 cash from Israel to Russia.