Mel Brooks’ Top 10 Jewy Jewish scenes

A collection of Brooks’ best Jewish clips before this weeks national premier broadcast of the American Masters installment on the artist.

June 8, 2013 19:52
4 minute read.
Award-winning filmmaker Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks 370. (photo credit: Angela George)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Monday night marks the national premier broadcast of the American Masters installment on Mel Brooks. To mark the occasion, we’ve put together a collection of Brooks’ best Jewish clips.

What exactly that means is a good question. As with two others recent subjects on the PBS series — Woody Allen and Phillip Roth (hey, guys, maybe change it up a bit, before Pat Buchanan notices) —  you could make the argument that Brooks’ entire oeuvre is an extension of his very Jewish background, sensibilities, hang-ups, etc., and hence any and all of his work can be considered Jewish. Take “Young Frankenstein”: It lacks any explicitly Jewish gags, but some critics have no trouble making the case that the film is very Jewish.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Similarly, take what might just be my favorite Mel Brooks scene of all time, courtesy of “Blazing Saddles” (see below). The genius comes in his ability to highlight the racism of God-fearing white folk, while simultaneously leaving us with hope that their better angels will eventually kick in. It wouldn’t be too hard to explain this all as somehow being the product of Brooks’ Jewishness.   


But I’m going for something else here. So we’re dubbing this a list of “Jewy Jewish Scenes.” And, even with this qualifier, it should be noted that we are counting anything Nazi-related as Jewy.

You have a problem with any of this? What can I tell you. It’s good to be the editor.

Here we go:

10) Rabbi Tuckman (“Robin Hood: Men in Tights”)

As I’ve said before, Mel, you lost me with “Men in Tights.” It was painful to watch (Adena, if I never said so… sorry for suggesting that we see this one). That said… one bright spot… this moment with Rabbi Tuckman.


For a video tribute, click here. But be warned: It’s about as bad as the movie (but, thankfully, much shorter).

9) Druish Princess (“Spaceballs”)

I know, I know. But it was made in the ’80s, when we could still think this sort of thing was funny. (Sorry, the first clip cuts out before John Candy’s “funny, she doesn’t look Druish”…)



8) Moses (“History of the World Part I”)

What your rabbis never told you during all that learning over Shavuos. 


7) Jews in Space (“History of the World Part I)

Am Yisrael Chai! 


5 & 6) Yogurt & moychandizing (“Spaceballs”) and missing the boat on crosses (“2000 Year Old Man”)

Two classic takes on Jews and business/pushcartism, the latter also capturing a sense of how too often it’s not so good to be the Jews.



4) Hitler Rap (“To Be or Not to Be,” sort of)

I had trouble finding good clips on YouTube, so the trailer will have to do. 


3) The Inquisition Here We Go (“History of the World Part I”)

He does Sephardic suffering too… 


2) Yiddish-speaking Indians (“Blazing Saddles”)


You want to know the difference between Woody Allen and Mel Brooks? Woody Allen takes his neurosis, sense of outsiderness, otherness, and he bathes in it. Mel Brooks comes from the same place, but turns all that baggage on its head — and gives us Yiddish-speaking Indians. (No good version w/embed code, so click here.) 

1) Every second of “The Producers”

First, this film reminds us that Mel Brooks can create works of genius on his own, not just brilliantly spoofs of the works of others. And, more importantly, he taught us how to laugh at Hitler. 


Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys