A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (12/11)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (12/11)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (12/11)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (12/11)
“What’s the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the normal alphabet?” (riddle) (12/11)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from October 05, 2015
“Jewish dropout: A boy who didn’t get his Ph.D.”

American Jewish families in the 20th century valued education. A popular joke defined a “Jewish dropout” as “a boy who didn’t get his Ph.D.” The joke has been cited in print since at least 1967.

“A Jewish fetus is not considered viable until it graduates from medical school” is a similar joke.


17 May 1967, The Evening Times (Trenton, NJ), “Grandfather Getting A.B. Degree” by Sharon Bertsch, pg. 17, col. 3:
“Maybe I’ll be a Jewish dropout. Do you know the joke? That’s someone with an M.A.”
(Morris Bressler, a Jewish grandfather completing a degree at Rutgers University.—ed.)

Google Books
The Passionate People:
What it Means to be a Jew in America

By Roger Kahn
New York, NY: Morrow
1968
Pg. 6:
So many get advanced degrees that a Jewish dropout has been defined as an M.A.

Google Books
World Jewry
Volumes 12-16
1969
Pg. 22:
According to a Jewish saying, a Jewish dropout is a boy who didn’t get his Ph.D.

Google News Archive
18 December 1979, Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville, KY), “Fortune Cookie” (AP), pg. 2, col. 1:
Then there’s the definition variety: “A Jewish dropout is a boy who didn’t get his Ph.D.”
(A Jewish fortune cookie.—ed.)

Google Books
How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household
By Blu Greenberg
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
1989
Pg. 172:
As the borscht circuit joke goes: What is a Jewish dropout? One without a Ph.D.

Google Books
The Jewish People in America
By Henry L. Feingold
Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press
1992
Pg. 155:
Going to college became virtually universal among Jewish youth, and a Jewish dropout was now defined as a person with only a bachelor’s degree.

Google Books
The New Joys of Yiddish:
Completely Updated

By Leo Rosten
New York, NY: Crown Publishers
2001
Pg. XXI:
Jewish dropout: a boy who didn’t get his Ph.D. — Anon

Twitter
nerbles
‏@nerbles
Jewish dropout: A boy who didn’t get his Ph.D.
1:15 PM - 6 Jun 2009

Twitter
Phil Vasquez
‏@tinpanalleypics
At Adam Gopnik event: “I’m the only one in my family without a PhD. That’s known as being a Jewish dropout.”
6:49 PM - 10 Feb 2012

Twitter
Maddy Tchack
‏@BabyGotTchack
“If you’re a Jewish dropout, it means you get an MA instead of a PhD” - my dsoc prof
9:26 AM - 16 Sep 2014

Twitter
Tom Chaney
‏@gs_tlc4
“Jewish dropout: a boy who didn’t get his Ph.D. —ANON” http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/7193177-jewish-dropout-a-boy-who-didn-t-get-his-ph-d-anon
1:05 PM - 28 Jul 2015

The Oregonian/OregonLive
Welcome to My World:
A retired rabbi talks teaching, translating and interpreting God’s word

By Melissa Binder | The Oregonian/OregonLive
on October 05, 2015 at 5:03 AM, updated October 05, 2015 at 5:04 AM
(...)
The old joke is: “What’s the definition of a Jewish dropout?” And the definition is: “A kid without a master’s degree.” Education is among the highest values.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Monday, October 05, 2015 • Permalink