The Rowing Joke


As a former university rower, I read with delight about the growing popularity of the sport in Israel (“Israeli Rowers Make History,” July 3). It may even mean that the legendary joke about the Jewish rowing team (and perhaps, by extension, the Jewish people) may now have to be archived.

For posterity’s sake, here’s more or less how it went: Yeshiva University wanted to burnish its image, so, taking a lesson from the Ivy League, decided to start a rowing team. But the crew came in last, and by a mile, in its first race. So the Yeshiva coach sent a scout to watch how the other schools trained for the races. 

He came back and reported: “Coach, we have it all backwards. It’s supposed to be eight rowers and one coxswain yelling instructions, not eight coxswains and one rower!”

AJC Executive Director Manhattan,  NY