This Israeli Sketch Really Gets at Post-October 7 Intergenerational Trauma – Kveller
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This Israeli Sketch Really Gets at Post-October 7 Intergenerational Trauma

The comedy show "The Jews Are Coming" revisited Jewish horrors from history to share a message about Jewish resilience.


via KAN11 on YouTube

“The Jews Are Coming,” an Israeli satire and comedy show known for its hilarious and poignant sketches about tales from Jewish history (think Mel Brooks’ “A History of the World: Part II” but with only real historical figures and exclusively Jewish), broke a nine year and six season tradition this week by airing a sketch that was not meant to illicit even one measly peal of laughter.

Instead, in its first sketch since October 7, the cast of the show and one special guest perfectly illustrated what October 7 felt like for many of us — a reactivation of centuries of Jewish intergenerational trauma.

In the harrowing clip, which has English subtitles, actors share their testimonies from traumatic events throughout Jewish history — the burning of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 BCE; the first crusade in 1096 Cologne; the pogrom of Kishinev in 1903; the Hebron massacre of 1929; Kristallnacht in 1938 Berlin; the Farhud massacre that decimated Baghdad’s Jewish community; and finally, October 7 in Kfar Aza, a community that lost over 100 people when Hamas attacked that day.

While every event and testimony has its specificities, each story seems to meld into the next with their similarities and sense of shock and horror, and many details echo the news reports we’ve heard about what happened on October 7. Of broken windows and broken-in homes, of people hearing their neighbors being killed, of feelings of despair and fear. If only, each characters say, they could see one more time their lost loved ones — a sister, a brother, a mother — and get one last hug.

As Jewish communities debate what we do with all of that intergenerational trauma, the message of the sketch is clear. “We need to continue and build again, because we aren’t going anywhere,” the actors say. “We’ll keep living for all those we’ve lost, for our children. We’ll be OK.”

That sketch was not the only one from the new episode meant to comfort a nation and a people in the aftermath of October 7. They return to a sketch about the Golden Calf, in which Moses derides the Jewish people for building the idol. In this new number, Moses apologizes to the Israeli people for calling them “shitheads,” and talks about how he saw the people of Israel come together to help each other, to pick up produce from abandoned fields, and how they fought for and were there for each other. “You’re a great people… you’re not shitheads, but you’re a people that has to deal with lots of shit,” he says. He calls on the people of Israel to decide if they’re “a generation of destruction or of rebuilding,” saying future generations are looking at them (and past generations too, if only because they don’t have Netflix and nothing else to watch).

“I survived Pharaoh,” he says, “you can survive this.”

You can watch more subtitled clips of “The Jews Are Coming” here.

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