Art Exhibition at the Jewish Museum on the Dunera

I mentioned an art exhibition by a ‘second generation Dunera Boy’ in an earlier post and I went along on Sunday. I found it very affecting and bought a painting – they’re very cheap! I’m afraid the Jewish Museum gives the complete shudders every time I go. Upstairs one walks into the permanent exhibition along a timeline with sandstone bars sticking up out of the carpet as you walk, marking landmarks in Jewish history – achievements and disasters – like the massacre of Jews on the way to the crusades. The birth of Christ is one of the landmarks. And then you pass through a crucible as it were – a white enclosed gateway marked ‘the holocaust: shoah’ and into the museum proper. I’m afraid it’s rather more than I can take.

The front door into the museum is heavily barred though with polished rectangular bars which pass for an elegant if somewhat awkward front door.  I didn’t let this register in my consciousness on the way in, but on the way out I’m afraid the security guard having to press a special green button to let me out pretty much did me in. Here in happy Melbourne, all these friendly, often old and animated people simply have to be on guard against bashings and whatever any nutcase cooks up, and for a reason that none of us can really fathom.

Anyway inside a little book of Jewish sayings cheered me up. I recently bought a fun book – Plato and a Platypus walk into a bar – which is a book of philosophical jokes. I’d say about sixty or seventy percent of them are Jewish in origin. Anyway, the tiny little book of Jewish sayings in the museum began with two couplets.

How odd of God
To choose the Jews

Followed by this

Not odd of God.
Goyim annoyim.

There – that’s cheered this Jew loving Goy up. Go along to the exhibition if it sounds like your thing.

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15 years ago

Yes, the first couplet is famous.
The Ogden Nash reply isn’t quite so funny as “goyim annoy’im” but more pointed:

But not as odd
As those who choose
A Jewish God
Yet scorn the Jews.