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Episode 18: Mah Jongg Tov

We join the Mah Jongg Tov Mah Jongg Club for an evening of laughs, nostalgia, and the sounds of Mah Jongg … an ancient Chinese table game that’s embedded in Jewish culture. Mah Jongg is tactile, competitive, and social. Long played in China, Mah Jongg fever struck America in the 1920s. The general population lost interest during the Great Depression, but Jewish women have held on to the game for nearly a century. For years Mah Jongg has been stereotyped as an old lady’s game, but today, it’s having a renaissance among Jewish women of all ages.

Released November 21, 2017
  • A Mah Jongg game of the Mah Jongg Tov Club in progress. Left to right: Leora, Barb, Marilyn.

  • The Mah Jongg Tov Club hard at play. Pictured (l. to r.): Lynn, Leora, Marilyn.

  • Mah Jongg table, with tiles and cards

  • Different Mah Jongg sets used by the Mah Jongg Tov Mah Jongg Club. At right: Barb Jaffe's Mah Jongg sets, including sets from the 1920s, '40s and '50s that relatives have passed on to her.

  • Photo from the National Photo Company, captioned: "Warm weather Mah-Jong, photo snapped at Wordman Park Pool." Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

  • The Mah Jongg Tov Club
  • The Mah Jongg Tov Club
  • Mah Jongg Game in Progress
  • New and Vintage Mah Jongg Tiles
  • Mah Jongg Game in Swimming Pool (1924)
  • Mah Jongg Tiles from the 1920s

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Episode 18: Mah Jongg Tov." (Viewed on December 8, 2019) <https://jwa.org/podcasts/canwetalk/episode-18-mah-jongg-tov-mah-jongg-club>.

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