A rescue party finally finds a Jewish man who’s been shipwrecked on a deserted island for many years. They are amazed to see how industrious he’s been. He’s dug a well and constructed a complex system to bring running water to the sturdy house he’s built from reeds, wood and leaves. He has domesticated some small animals and bred them for food. He’s built a fishing raft from which he can catch nets full of fresh fish. The rescuers, however, are perplexed by two buildings, on opposite ends of the island.
“What are those?,” they ask.
“Well, this one is my synagogue.”
“And the other?”
“That’s a synagogue too, but I wouldn’t be caught dead in that one!”
There are many jokes about jews, but the above one is what has really amused me over the years. I just recalled it, when I read Jason Motlagh writing in San Francisco Chronicle. He has reported:
There were only two jews left in the war-torned Afghanistan. One was Simentov. The only other Jew in Afghanistan, Yitzhak Levin, died in 2005. The pair had lived together in a shabby synagogue on Flower Street throughout the Soviet invasion, a civil war and the fundamentalist Islamic Taliban government, but grew to hate each other. They held separate services, had vicious shouting matches neighbors could hear a block away, and when valuable Torah scrolls went missing, each blamed the other.
As the article continues, it unfortunately becomes less amusing:
They also denounced each other to the Taliban as spies for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, prompting Taliban police to beat them with rifle butts and jail them on occasion….
The feud was so intense that Afghan police suspected Simentov of murdering Levin when he died, until a post-mortem examination proved that he had died from diabetes.