Tuesday, September 22nd 2020   |

Laugh with Bob Alper – Rabbi/Stand-Up Comic (Really)

Bob Alper humor column

The Shame of Puns

By RABBI BOB ALPER

Confession can be cleansing. Cathartic. Rehabilitative. And public confession can be even more powerfully purifying.

Here’s mine: I used to make puns.

Yeah, I was a real “punster.” A fall-down, subdued giggle “punny” kind of guy. One who’d “puntificate” at every opportunity, a self-proclaimed “Puntiff.” My affliction knew no bounds.

Punning is a disease with an alarmingly high incidence among Jews, who love to toy with...

Membership Recruitment

By RABBI BOB ALPER

During one of those “touchy-feely” periods – I think it was around 1982 or so – a pathologically trendy colleague of mine used to organize pre-Shabbat experiences in which one person would role-play challah dough, while others would encircle and massage, as if preparing him or her for baking.

Caught up in one of those exercises in “living Judaism,” I guess I dampened the mood just...

The Board of Trustees

By RABBI BOB ALPER

A new congregant might have been confused.

Erev Rosh Hashanah, just prior to the beginning of services, and a fully-packed van pulled up to the synagogue’s main entrance. Its passengers alighted, coifed and costumed much like the other worshippers. Only, on the side of the van there was a sign reading “Bethlehem Baptist Church. Rev. Robert Scott Jones, Pastor.”

A visiting Christian group on Rosh Hashanah?...

The Moving Van

By RABBI BOB ALPER

Forty-eight years ago, right after ordination, my first synagogue footed the bill for our move from Cincinnati to Buffalo. Among our possessions: about a quarter ton of cinderblocks which we had acquired and used, along with stained and varnished boards, to hold our sizable library. I felt guilty making the congregation pay for this dead weight, especially as I watched the packers wrap each block in...

Tradition?

By RABBI BOB ALPER

I was a visitor in my own synagogue. The first time…and the last time…that would ever happen.

It was the end of July, 1972, and I was the newly-minted young rabbi who had landed in Buffalo just a week or two earlier, in preparation for an August 1st start as assistant rabbi at a 1,600-family congregation. Sherri and I spent those precious days in a whirlwind...