levity, diversity, and ethnography

Mike Lieber (U28550@UICVM.BITNET)
Tue, 1 Nov 1994 08:46:08 CST

I'll hear it for this one, but I can't resist. Eve Pinsker's post and the
responses to it remind me of a story.

In a medium sized town were a Catholic church and a synagogue that had stood
across the street from each other for years. Each had about the same number of
families, but while the church's facilities continued to expand over the years,
the fortunes of the synagogue declined. The building got shabbier, and its
plumbing and electrical system were continually having to be patched. There
never seemed to be enough money to run its programs, either. Finally, in
desparate straits, the synagogue board decided on a deparate measure. They
searched the congregation for the least Jewish-looking member and found a
blond haired, blue eyed, Nordic looking man in his 50s whose parents had come
from Poland. Unfortunately, the man had a noticeable accent. He was
instructed to attend the church's functions, especially services, to sit in
the back and keep his mouth shut, and observe what he could about church fund

At the next board meeting, this man appeared to give his ethnographic report.
"Did you find out how they do it?" asked the board chair. "Yes," said the
man. "So nu?" asked the board members. "It's like this," said the man.

On Sunday, everybody comes and sits down, and they also kneel down in front
of the benches. Then the priest comes walking in with these two little kids
dressed in robes. The priest goes up to the front and does a few things,
and then he kind of sings, "I CAN BEAT ANYBODY AT DOMINOES!" and people
in the seats sing, "NO YOU CAN'T" and the two kids take baskets around
collecting bets.

Mike Lieber