The Magazine

Bad for the Jews

Another unintended consequence of the 18th Amendment.

Nov 19, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 10 • By TEVI TROY
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Nevertheless, the twin perceptions of Jews as nondrinkers who partake only of sickly sweet Malaga or Concord grape wines persist. The good news is that this allows the jokes to continue, such as the one about why Jewish mothers don’t drink. (Because alcohol interferes with their suffering.) But what people joke about is often an insight into what they believe. As Christie Davies, author of Jokes and Their Relation to Society, has written: “There are very few jokes about Jewish drinking habits and an enormous number about those of the Scots.”

For those greatly interested in this relatively narrow topic, Jews and Booze is thorough and well-researched. For everyone else, insights on the subject will likely continue to derive from a standard Jewish joke book or Catskills comedy routine.

Tevi Troy, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, is a former senior White House aide and Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services.