The DOC RI Vienna office hosted its 44th round table on Monday, 12 March, with a presentation by the former chief rabbi of Vienna (1983 – 2016,) Dr. Paul Chaim Eisenberg. about his new book Auf das Leben! Witz und Weisheit eines Oberrabbiners (To Life! The Jokes and Wisdom of a Chief Rabbi). Auf das Leben celebrates life, with humour, irony and serenity. Rabbinic wisdom and Talmudic logic are woven into countless stories, anecdotes and myths.
Dr. Eisenberg discussed the book, and his transition from being Vienna’s chief rabbi to responsibilities in other parts of Austria. Eisenberg made jokes about his own life, and spoke about Vienna’s Jewish community, as well as current political affairs. For Eisenberg, humour is very important, and a good joke is one that carries a message. It should not be evil.The rabbi reserved his harshest verdict for religious extremists.
Fundamentalists who played “policemen of God” are, in his view, “completely humourless and completely free from self-criticism”.