Schlemiel Theory is a blog dedicated to the Jewish comic character otherwise known as the schlemiel.   It reflects on real-life-schlemiels and fictional ones.   Schlemiel Theory doesn’t restrict itself to one geographical location or another or one time period or another.   As any schlemiel knows, it’s all about the journey.*

Menachem Feuer – the author of the blog – has a PhD in Comparative Literature and an MA in Philosophy.  He has written several articles, essays, and book reviews on the schlemiel, philosophy, religion, comedy, and literature. Feuer teaches Jewish Studies at the University of Waterloo and is an Editor at the popular literature, art, and culture website: Berfrois.  His academic profile is here.  Take a look at the documentary made on Feuer’s unusual Jewish-American life (with all its comical sounds and tragic furies).  It’s entitled, Shlemiel (2011). See it here.

Schlemiel Theory has been referenced by The New York Times Wordplay Blog and has been  featured in WordPress’s “Freshly Pressed” Review (note: “Freshly Pressed” is now called “Discover).   Feuer has recently (March 16, 2016) been interviewed by The Canadian Jewish News.  In the interview, Feuer discusses why he became interested in Schlemiel Theory, what it is about, and why it is relevant.  Click here for the interview.  


“Erudite and engaging, Feuer raises profound questions about Judaism, religion, philosophy, and literature in a way that is always human and vulnerable.” – Eric Linus Kaplan 

  • Eric Linus Kaplan, an Executive Producer of (and writer for) the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Previously he wrote for the Late Show with David Letterman, Futurama (for which he won an Emmy Award), and Flight of the Conchords

“In a time of recharged identitarian concerns, Menachem Feuer updates notions of what it means to be Jewish. By digging deep into the past, he situates Judaism squarely in the present. Funny, irreverent, self-reflexive and brutally smart, Schlemiel Theory is completely NOW.” – Kenneth Goldsmith

  • Kenneth Goldsmith is the author and editor of over twenty books – such as Wasting Time on the Internet (Harper Collins, 2016), Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age (Columbia University Press, 2011), Capital: New York, Capital of the Twentieth Century (Verso, 2015) and Seven American Deaths and Disasters (PowerHouse Books, 2013).   In May 2011, he was invited to read at President Obama’s “A Celebration of American Poetry” at the White House, where he also held a poetry workshop with First Lady Michelle Obama.  Goldsmith also runs UbuWeb. Founded in 1996, it is the largest site on the internet devoted to the free distribution of avant-garde materials. And, in 2013, he was named as the inaugural Poet Laureate of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

“On the intersection between Jewish philosophy and literature, Menachem Feuer is without peer.” – Zachary Braiterman 

  • Professor Zachary Braiterman (Syracuse University) author of The Shape of Revelation: Aesthetics and Modern Jewish Thought (Stanford UP) and the Blog Jewish Philosophy Place 

“The Schlemiel Theory blog is startling. The remarkable connections and overlooked parallels that it makes between areas of culture and inquiry are often profound and usually surprising. It opens up culture—both high and low, historical and contemporary—to exciting and invigorating investigation as a result of Menachem Feuer’s encyclopedic knowledge of philosophy, Jewish thought, literary and cultural theory, and culture both high and low. From Walter Benjamin to Adam Sandler, Philip Roth and Millennials, from Franz Kafka to Groucho Marx, Nietzsche, Maimonides and Bernie Sanders, this blog inspires and excites.” – Gary Barwin

  • Gary Barwin, author of Yiddish For Pirates (2016, Random House) and Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted (Penguin, 2021)

“…a brainy, stylish and fascinating blogsite.”

  • New Star Books 

“For a goldmine of writing on the schlemiel, go to Feuer’s rich blog”

  • Counterpunch

“…they say there’s a blog about everything…”

  • John Updike Society

If you’d like to contact Menachem Feuer and Schlemiel Theory, feel free to send him an email: mmfeuer@uwaterloo.ca **

*Note that all of the essays and ideas discussed on this blog by the author, Menachem Feuer, cannot be used without his permission or acknowledgment as many of them are a part of existing and future book projects.  Moreover, in terms of content, it is important to note that Schlemiel Theory also addresses topics and themes in Jewish philosophy, literature, film, media, and pop culture that may not seem to be directly related to the schlemiel but are.  Since the schlemiel dwells in these realms, its important to know how they deal with comedy and create (and have created) a diverse set of contexts for the schlemiel.  Besides doing direct research and writing on the schlemiel, this is also one of the tasks of this blog.

** From time to time, Schlemiel Theory publishes guest posts from notable comedians, scholars, writers, poets, and filmmakers who are – to so speak – on the schlemiel-scene.   Feel free to contact Schlemiel Theory if you’d be interested in proposing one.

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  1. Pingback: Idiocy Imagination Mysticism (Elliot Wolfson, A Dream Interpreted Within a Dream) | jewish philosophy place

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