‘They tried to kill us. They failed/We won/We survived. Let’s eat!” is often given as a short summary of every Jewish holiday. The saying has been cited in print since at least 1998, but its authorship is not known.
22 May 1998, Worcester (MA) Telegram & Gazette, “Bikel thrills audience with international feast”:
He said all Jewish festivals can be summed up in nine words: They tried to kill us we won let’s eat.
Becoming a Jewish parent:
How to explore spirituality and tradition with your children
By Daniel Gordis
The old quip that contemporary Jews summarize Jewish history and the meaning of each holiday by saying “They tried to kill us but failed; let’s eat!” isn’t so far off the mark.
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Subject: Re: Att’n: Jewish Smofcon Attendees!
Or as a rabbi once told me: “Most Jewish holidays can be described as ‘they tried to kill us, it didn’t work, let’s eat.’”
The Jew within:
Self, family, and community in America
By Steven Martin Cohen and Arnold M Eisen
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press
A recent joke that made the rounds on the Internet asks how one might best sum up the lesson taught by major Jewish holidays. The answer: “They tried to kill us. God made sure we won. Let’s eat.
17 March 2000, Jerusalem Post, pg. 13B:
They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat
by Michael Widlanski
Friday, August 11, 2000
When things are bleakest, continue fight for survival
by Rabbi Stephen Pearce
Two jokes recently making the rounds provide perspective on the secret of Jewish survival. In the first, an observer provides a summary of Jewish history in nine words: “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat!” While we may laugh at this oversimplification of Jewish resilience, there is some truth in this rather simplistic, yet sanguine, view of centuries of Jewish history.
Throughout the ages, tyrants tried to destroy the Jewish people. Not only did they not succeed, but Jews commemorated each victory with a holiday celebration and festival food.
The new Jewish experiential book
By Bernard Reisman and Joel Reisman
Jersey City, NJ: KTAV Pub. House
“They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat!”
Anonymous (nine-word summary of meaning of all Jewish holidays.)
11-24-2002, 02:40 AM
Funny Jewish Humor
Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.
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Date: 18 Apr 2003 16:48:53 GMT
Local: Fri, Apr 18 2003 11:48 am
Subject: Re: To Jewish a.f.ers
As with every Jewish holiday….they tried to kill us….we won…..let’s eat!!
Psychobiology of Personality
By Marvin Zuckerman
New York, NY: Cambridge University Press
The comedian Jackie Mason summarized most Jewish holidays: “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.”
Matzo Balls for Breakfast:
And Other Memories of Growing Up Jewish
By Alan King
New York, NY: Free Press (Simon and Schuster)
But back then Hanukkah was a minor, vaguely understood celebration. It fell into that category of Jewish holidays that could be summed up in one sentence: “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.”
JEWMONGOUS - They Tried To Kill Us (We Survived, Let’s Eat). PASSOVER SONG
seanaltman — March 10, 2008 — JEWMONGOUS feat. Sean Altman. The fractured Passover story. http://www.jewmongous.com
Jewish as a second language:
How to worry, how to interrupt, how to say the opposite of what you mean
By Molly Katz
New York, NY: Workman Pub.
Seder: A dinner we have at Passover, one of the few joyous Jewish traditions. Our non-mournful holidays all have the same theme: They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.