On the second Thursday of every month, a group of Jewish men get together for breakfast and the agenda is about nothing. It mirrors the Seinfeld comedy series episode where Jerry Seinfeld and the Larry David alter ego, George, pitch a comedy series to NBC on the basis that this show will be different because it is a show about nothing. The head of NBC, dumbfounded, says it has to be about something. George, defending his lack of an idea, presses him: It has to be a show about nothing or they, being the creators, won’t do it.
Actually, there is something to the idea of a group about nothing. And the existence of this local group going back years proves it. Seinfeld was also successful.
Seinfeld played out a stream of Jewish humor through Jewish sensibilities, not overtly, but as though it were one long-running comedy “polylogue” (I made this word up, so don’t bother going to your dictionaries). It was stand-up, comedy club style humor without the X-rated words and without the real world intruding, done in a lightly cartoonist’s way. Not that it wasn’t based on real world events and real world ideas. It had to be about something.
The monthly Jewish men’s group has two important ground rules. Its a get-together of men who are either Jewish or like Jews and the second rule is: Thou Shalt Have No Rules. If we need a rule, we make it up, and if we disagree about any needed rule, then we simply make up two rules. Then we ignore both. We have a leader who doesn’t want to lead and a bunch of followers who want to lead but won’t. Confused? So are we and we work very hard to keep it that way.
When someone comes for the first time, we usually introduce ourselves, mainly because it gives us a chance to make it into a laugh at someone else’s expense. We seem to like that, but the rule is that if you are willing to give a zetz (in this case, a verbal punch), you have to be willing to receive one. Then we ignore that rule. We’ve been around each other for a while, and like each other, and that translates into no long-held hurt feelings to speak of. I can’t think of any.
I’m sure we have offended someone; in fact, I know we have, I just don’t know who. We really do care, as a rule.
Another rule is that we are about discussion of all things political, economic and social, but usually something having to do with being Jewish. Then we ignore that rule. But here we seem to accomplish something. This is one of the few gatherings in town where liberalism and conservatism actually have a dialogue, and the dialogue is balanced so that we can hear each other’s point-of-view. I particularly like that because I have strong opinions, but I’m not so reckless as to think I must be correct. There is always room for doubt. That is very, very Jewish. The proof of our ability to coexist is that we keep coming back.
The group is a strong supporter of the idea of a Jewish community, locally, but also internationally, so we do try to support the Jewish community through charitable works and many in the group are involved as volunteers in the Colorado community. We sometimes have people who will come and lead a discussion of some topic or give us details of their business or charitable program. We don’t mind as long as we can kibbitz.
We are reticent to publicize these meetings because we don’t want to invite people under a false impression that it is public, even though it is. We don’t have a regular meeting place for breakfast although I can’t ever remember meeting any other place than at the Egg and I Restaurant in the Basemar Shopping Center at 7:30 A.M. (again, scheduled the second Thursday of every month) for years. We have our own room in the back.
Our next scheduled breakfast is this Thursday, December 10, 2009. You can leave anytime you want, that’s the rule. Everybody uses that one.