On second thought, this is no doubt an oversimplification-- insider to outsider is a spectrum rather than a hard boundary.
Also, is "How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb?" "Don't worry, I'll just sit here in the dark" an insider joke or an outsider joke? Well, I see it as insiderish-- I'm pretty sure I've heard Jewish people tell it.
It gets on my nerves a little because my mother was Jewish, but not like that. She had an attitude* of "I get things right, you keep getting things wrong because there's something wrong with you" which was extremely wearing, but she would have changed the light bulb without making a big deal** about it.
I've heard that The Jewish Mother is actually The Eastern European Mother. Anyone know whether this even begins to make sense?
*This is a formulation which satisfies me now. It may or may not be complete and correct.
**After I wrote that, I realized that "big deal" could be "tzimmes". Assimilation is also a spectrum.
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