We all need a laugh

By Craig Nudelman

It’s been a tough year and a half. The outbreak of Covid-19 around the world and all that came with it has made everything very grey.

Even though the government has finally started Phase two of the vaccine rollout, it seems unrealistic that their aim of five million vaccinated 60+ year-olds will happen. And then, just to be as mediocre as possible, the government aims to vaccinate 40 million people by February 2022.

I don’t have words to express how low they have set the bar.

Not only that, but Israel has just entered into another terrible conflict with Palestinians, and that is truly heartbreaking. It’s not just the loss of lives that makes me distressed, but also how this ongoing conflict continues to demonstrate blatant antisemitism in all corners of the globe. Although the conflict in Israel-Palestine is awful, the effect on Diasporic communities is just as disturbing.

But as always, the Jewish community has one thing at our disposal when it comes to tzorres. We laugh through the tough times to get ahead.

And laughter is not just a nice-to-have. Laughter and humour have many different benefits for a person’s mental, psychological and physical health. Laughter releases: dopamine, which helps the brain process emotional responses as well as enhances the experience of pleasure; endorphins, which regulate stress and pain and induce euphoria; and serotonin, which lifts moods. Dr. Cynthia Thaik, writing in the Huffington Post, says that not only does laughter lift your spirits but it also causes physiological responses in us. She states that, “A good laugh can be compared to a mild workout, as it exercises the muscles, gets the blood flowing, decreases blood pressure and stress hormones, improves sleep patterns and boosts the immune system.” Research at Johns Hopkins University Medical School “showed that humour and laughter can also improve memory and mental performance.”

And it’s not just adults who need a little lift, but children too. A little laughter can brighten a family’s day. When I hear Livi laughing hysterically because Jessie is doing a silly dance, I can’t help myself from joining in the laughter. And according to Dr Mary Gavin, writing in KidsHealth, laughter is not only a way to make a family closer. A good sense of humour can make children healthier, smarter, and more resilient to challenges that they will face later in life. According to her, humour is not part of our genetic makeup, but is a learned quality that can be developed in children.

The ability to recognise what is and is not funny is an incredible tool that can help children throughout life. It can allow them to see things from different perspectives, grasp unconventional ideas, be spontaneous, partake in more playful aspects of life, and not take themselves too seriously. It has also shown that children who have a well-developed sense of humour will be happier and more optimistic, have higher self-esteem, and will be able to navigate the tricky waters of playground politics.

The Nudelman household is not known for its austere and conservative nature. I am especially silly, revelling in word-play and puns, dad jokes and funny accents. With Gabi, I have successfully created two very silly children. It’s wonderful to hear your own daughter tell her first terrible knock-knock joke, again and again and again… It’s amazing to see our little girls having fun and enjoying life.

Jokes are so necessary in the world in which we live today. They are weapons against the harsh reality in which we live — and we need them so much today. We live in a time where there is an unprecedented amount of hate and anger, sadness and tragedy. So, I feel like it is my duty to put down some dad jokes down on paper.

You may guffaw, grunt, groan, or grimace as you feel fit.
I used to work in a shoe recycling shop. It was sole destroying.
This bouncy castle’s twice the price of last year. That’s inflation for you!
iI had a job in a calendar factory but I got sacked for taking a couple of days off.
I told my wife she drew her eyebrows on too high. She seemed surprised!
My wife told me to stop impersonating a flamingo. I had to put my foot down.
Singing in the shower is all fun and games until you get shampoo in your mouth. Then it’s a soap opera!
I am terrified of lifts. I’m going to start taking steps to avoid them.
How does a polar bear build a house? Igloos it together!
I ate a clock yesterday. It was so time consuming.
I’m reading a book on the history of glue. I can’t put it down!

If you didn’t have a little chuckle at any of these great one-liners, then here’s something to end with; one of my all-time best jokes: A Frenchman, a German, and a Jew walk into a bar. “I’m tired and thirsty,” says the Frenchman. “I must have wine.” “I’m tired and thirsty,” says the German. “I must have beer.” “I’m tired and thirsty,” says the Jew. “I must have diabetes.”.

We can’t control the big world around us, but we can control what we let into our small orbits and, to that end, I recommend letting in as much humour as possible. Can a one-liner stop wars and end pandemics? Probably not. But it can definitely ease our way through treacherous times and make life just a little bit more manageable.

Craig is a writer, learning designer, and tour guide extraordinaire. His deep bass voice has graced stages, synagogues and studios. He is an obedient husband, and father to two spectacular daughters, and is known for dad jokes and trivia.

• Published in the PDF edition of the June 2021 issue – Download here.

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