Jewish Trivia Quiz

from RASHI, RAMBAM and RAMALAMADINGDONG: A Quizbook of Jewish Trivia Facts & Fun by New Orleans native Mark Zimmerman

Wonder Woman

The movie Wonder Woman, starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, premiered this weekend to mostly rave reviews and the biggest opening ever for a female director, Patty Jenkins. Gadot, who previously won the Miss Israel contest, starred in the Fast & Furious movie franchise, and worked as a model and product spokeswoman, has found herself in the middle of some controversy as a result of her casting. Which of the following is true?

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman by FaceMePLS  is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A. When it was announced that Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman, some complained that she was not buxom enough for the role. An Israeli news station interviewed her, and the reporter posed the question, “Wonder Woman has curves, will you be getting those...what about your breasts?”

BIn October, 2016, Gal Gadot and Lynda Carter jointly announced that Wonder Woman, a character whom both have portrayed, was the new United Nations Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls (other United Nations honorary ambassadors have included Tinker Bell and one of the Angry Birds). However, protests arose, including a petition which said that “A large-breasted white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee-high boots” is not an appropriate representative of gender equality. As a result, the United Nations fired Wonder Woman.

CA number of guests on the Fox News show Your World With Neil Cavuto criticized the costume design for Gadot’s Wonder Woman because the colors are not as prominently red, white and blue as they are in the comics and previous Wonder Woman movies and TV shows. Said media personality Mike Gunzelman, “I think the Hollywood aspect, we see this time and time again, it’s cool to hit America these days.” And commentator Dion Baia said, “Gal Gadot is a part of the Jewish Hollywood liberal, Obama-loving, America-hating, Israel-bashing, quinoa-eating, Soros-funded, Saul Alinsky-idolizing movie star elites who you would expect to take the God Bless America out of Wonder Woman. But boy, is she hot!”

DThere have been complaints on social media that there are no persons of color in the movie Wonder Woman. Matthew Mueller, a writer for comicbook.com, disavowed that criticism, noting that “Gal Gadot is not actually Caucasian, but is in fact Israeli.”

EWhen a trailer for the Wonder Woman movie was released in March, one brief scene showed Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, with her arms raised high as she lifts and hurls a car down the street. Many viewers posted on Twitter and other social media that Gadot’s armpits were a lighter tone than the rest of her skin, implying that her armpit hair had been shaved, digitally bleached, or in some other way altered. Said one tweeter, “Why is an Amazon with no previous contact with humankind shaven?” And HuffPost United Kingdom blogger Kirsty Baines wrote, “Although I am thrilled that a gorgeous, fierce, strong and independent woman is taking the lead on our screens, in my opinion the Photoshopped armpit saga has pushed feminism a couple of steps backward rather than forward.”

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Shavuot & Dairy

It is traditional to eat dairy products, such as cheesecake and blintzes, on Shavuot. Many reasons have been cited for this custom, including which of the following?

Cheesecake

Cheesecake by Susanne Nilsson  is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

AIn the Hebrew tradition of Gematria, where the numerical value of words is considered for interpretation, chalav, meaning milk, has a value of 40, which corresponds with the number of days Moses remained on Mt. Sinai when receiving the Torah.

B. Shavuot is referenced in the Torah portion Pinchas, in Chapter 28, verse 26, which reads “In the day of the first fruits, when ye bring a new meal-offering unto the Lord in your feast of weeks, ye shall have a holy convocation.” In Hebrew, this sentence includes the phrase “Chadasha L'Hashem V’Shavuoteichem.” The first letters of those words–Chet, Lamed, Vetspell chalav, the Hebrew word for milk.

CWhen Moses led the Jewish people out of Egypt and through the desert to the Promised Land, the people referred to him as Moshe ha-Yisraeli, ha-Levi, v’ha-melech. In English, this means Moses, the Israelite, the Levite, the King. Because the first letters of these words are M-I-L-K, the custom developed of serving dairy food on Shavuot, commemorating Moses’s journey to the top of Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments.

DThe connection of dairy foods to Shavuot was actually a marketing creation. Tnuva, the Israeli dairy cooperative, was started in 1926 when kibbutz leaders came together to find ways to work jointly to produce and sell their products. As part of that effort, in the early 1930’s they published recipes for cheesecake and blintzes under the heading “Tnuva, the dairy cooperative from the land flowing with milk and honey, wishes you a Chag Shavuot Sameach.”

E. When baby Moses was rescued from the river by Pharaoh’s daughter, he needed to be fed. Moses refused to suckle from the Egyptian wet nurses that Pharaoh’s daughter hired. Only when the Hebrew slave Yocheved, who was actually Moses’s mother, was chosen for that task, would he nurse. Eating dairy on Shavuot commemorates Moses’s holding out for his own mother’s milk.

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The Western Wall

President Trump arrived in Israel today, and is scheduled to visit the Western Wall on Tuesday. Controversy has swirled around this visit, as Trump is not scheduled to be accompanied by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he visits the Wall. American diplomat David Berns said to Israeli officials inquiring about the possibility of Bibi joining Trump, “What are you talking about? It’s none of your business. It’s not even part of your responsibility. It’s not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.” The Western Wall has often been the site of bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies, including those of celebrities. Which of the following held their bar or bat mitzvah at the Western Wall?

The Western Wall

Western Wall by Chris Yunker is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A. Florida Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera had his bar mitzvah at the Western Wall in 2016, at the age of 42. Lopez-Cantera, whose official bio lists his religion as Catholic, had recently announced that he is in fact Jewish, saying, “My father came from Cuba but he married a nice Jewish girl in Miami.”

B. In an interview following a sketch he did with Andy Samberg on Saturday Night Live, singer Michael Bolton said, “I’ve been kicked out of every class. Andy and I were talking about that. Neither one of us had our Bar Mitzvah because we couldn’t take Hebrew school seriously.” However, when Bolton, age 62, made a trip to Israel in 2015, he spontaneously decided to make a bar mitzvah at the Wall after meeting Rabbi Shmuli Weiss, who helped Bolton don tefillin for the first time.

CSinger Paula Abdul held her bat mitzvah at the Western Wall in 2013, at the age of 51. She was wrapped in a tallit, and the ceremony lasted almost three hours, featuring a lot of klezmer music. Upon her arrival in Israel for the ceremony, she met with then-President Shimon Peres, who told her he was jealous because “he’d already had his bar mitzvah, but that she had not celebrated her bat mitzvah, so she had something to look forward to.”

DActor Jeremy Piven celebrated his bar mitzvah when he was 13, though he says he was not a good student. “It was hard for me to learn Hebrew. I actually had to rap my haftorah portion.” In 2016, Piven celebrated his second bar mitzvah on a balcony overlooking the Western Wall. After the ceremony he sang “Siman tov u’mazal tov” with NBA players Omri Casspi and Amar’e Stoudemire.

EIvanka Trump celebrated her bat mitzvah at the Western Wall at the age of 28, after she converted to Judaism and married Jared Kushner in 2009. After the ceremony, her father was overheard talking to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, who is the Rabbi of the Western Wall. Trump reportedly said to the Rabbi, “I’m gonna be in the market for a big wall. Your wall is so bigly huge. What do you think? Could we make a deal?”

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G. I. Joe

Stan Weston, a licensing agent who was Jewish, passed away last week. Besides representing such people as Soupy Sales and the Kingston Trio, as well as the Dr. Kildare television show, Weston was the creator of G. I. Joe. Elliott Handler, a founder of Mattel (and also Jewish) taught Weston that “you’ve got to sell them the razor,” referencing the successful Mattel Barbie Doll, whose clothing and accessories were the key to the financial success of the product. With that advice, in 1963 Weston came up with the concept of a toy soldier for boys, including uniforms, weapons, and other paraphernalia, which he pitched to Donald Levine, a Hasbro executive (Levine was also Jewish, as were Herman, Hillel and Henry Hassenfeld, who founded the Hassenfeld Brothers company which became Hasbro). Hasbro bought the concept from Weston for a one-time payment of $100,000 and marketed it as G. I. Joe, one of the most successful products in toy history, selling more than 400,000,000 action figures, as well as being featured in Mavel Comics, television shows, movies, and video games. Which of the following G. I. Joe action figures was Jewish?

by @alexandriapasse "G.I Joe Who remembers this?" via @InstaReposts by Alexandria K Passe is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

A. Sci-Fi was the code name of G. I. Joe Seymour P. Fine, an electrical engineer whose role in numerous G. I. Joe cartoons was the design of advanced weaponry. In one episode, Fine travels to Israel where he works with Shin Bet operatives on the development of a handgun-sized laser weapon which is later used to stop an assault on the White House by members of the enemy Cobra Command. 

B. In a Marvel comic book,  a G. I. Joe named Lance J. Steinberg was on a mission to fight Nazis. He tells the other G. I. Joes on the mission, Roadblock, Recondo, and Dial-Tone, that he is spooked by Nazis, ever since his grandmother freaked out when she saw him watching Hogan’s Heroes with the “funny Nazis.”

CG. I. Joe Doc, whose real name was Isaac Davidson, was a member of the G. I. Joe medical team. Because he was a medic, he was not allowed to carry a weapon, in order to comply with the Geneva Convention. In one episode, he saved three other G. I. Joes by throwing a well-aimed snowball. In another, he convinced military authorities fighting against a Cobra operation in the Gulf of Mexico to use conventional, rather than nuclear weapons.

DA G. I. Joe known as Clutch was an infantry figure with a specialty in transportation. In one G. I. Joe Marvel Comics adventure, he and two other G. I. Joe characters are sent to track down a Nazi war criminal who is hiding in Brazil, where they meet up with an Israeli Mossad team on the same mission.

EG. I. Joe was prepared for release in Israel, with such characters as Uzi Ari, Samson, David Ha-Gadol, and Moshe D, a one-eyed soldier. The characters were produced and packaged under the name Tzahal Joe (Tzahal being the Hebrew acronym for Israel Defense Forces) and had been shipped to stores for sale. However, in an interview on Israeli television, the head of marketing who was promoting the new toys inadvertently referred to the product line by the code name that had been used internally–G. I. Shmo–and the resulting outcry led the product to be pulled from the shelves.

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Judah P. Benjamin

New Orleans is in the process of removing four memorials that are tied to the Civil War and the city’s past connections to slavery, including a statue of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America. This follows other southern city and state actions, such as the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse in 2015. One of the key figures of the Confederacy was Judah P. Benjamin, a Sephardic Jew who served as a Louisiana senator before serving in President Davis’ cabinet, first as Attorney General, and later as Secretary of War and Secretary of State. Which of the following is true about Judah P. Benjamin?

Judah P. Benjamin

twcw_jpbenjaminis in the public domain.

A. Judah P. Benjamin has been dubbed “the brains of the Confederacy,” “the Little Jew from New Orleans,” “the dapper Jew,” and the “Confederate Kissinger.”

B. In 1860, while still representing Louisiana, Benjamin addressed the United States Senate in defense of the right of Southern states to secede, concluding his remarks saying “An enslaved and servile race you can never make of us—never! never!” Senator Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio responded, criticizing Senator Benjamin for his pro-slavery speech, referring to Benjamin as “an Israelite with Egyptian principles.”

C. At age 14, Benjamin entered Yale University; however, he did not graduate as he was expelled for “ungentlemanly conduct.” It’s not known what his misdeeds were, though there were rumors of gambling, carousing, or theft.

D. Benjamin’s bris was performed by his paternal grandfather, after whom he was named.

E. The Temptations Gentleman’s Club on Bourbon Street in New Orleans received numerous requests for tours from attendees at the 2010 Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly meeting in that city. The Assembly delegates said they were interested in the “Jewish aspect” of the building, telling the proprietor that it had been the home of Judah P. Benjamin.

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Spanish Armada

President Trump recently said that “We’re sending an armada” towards the Korean peninsula as a warning to the North Korean government following their recent missile testing. In fact, the so-called armada of American warships was heading in the opposite direction. The word “armada” is most often associated with the Spanish Armada that sailed against England in the late 16th century, with a goal of overthrowing Queen Elizabeth I. The attack was a failure, with the loss of more than 8000 men and more than half the Spanish fleet destroyed. What was the Jewish connection to the failed attack by the Spanish Armada against England in 1588?

Spanish Armada

vroom_battle_with_spanish_armada_1601

A. Spain launched the Armada against England in response to England’s interference in the Spanish Netherlands, an area now comprising much of Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as parts of France and Germany. Recognizing that Spain was likely to attempt a military intervention, England began a program of military expansion which was largely financed by the Rothschild banking interests in London, led by Nathan Mayer von Rothschild, the third son of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, founder of the banking empire. It was because of this ship building program that England was able to defeat the Spanish fleet.

B. Hector Nuñez was a crypto-Jew, a Jew who publicly professed to follow the Christian faith to avoid persecution from the Portuguese Inquisition.  He eventually fled Portugal, arriving in England in 1546, where he went on to become a successful merchant, trading in wine, raisins, and other goods. Through his business and family contacts he was able to learn information about the Spanish Armada preparations to launch their assault, which he passed on to the English, giving them forewarning of the Armada’s position and plan of attack. This spying effort was instrumental in enabling England to successfully ward off the invasion.

CIt is commonly known that the journeys of Christopher Columbus to the New World were largely funded as a result of the seizure of jewels and other properties from the Jews who were expelled from Spain during the Inquisition under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. In fact, the wealth stolen from the Jews was also used to pay for the building of the fleet which became the Spanish Armada.

D. The early maps used by sailors in the Middle Ages were known as Portolan charts, which were based on compass points and distance estimates provided by ship captains. The first Portolan charts were created in the 13th century in Italy, with later maps created in Spain and Portugal in the 15th and 16th centuries. The charts used by the Spanish Armada when they sailed from Spain into the English Channel were created by Juan Oliva and hand-drawn on vellum. Oliva was a member of a prominent Jewish family of chart-makers in Catalonia.

E. In a situation that was strangely similar to President Trump’s “wrong-way” armada of last week, the Spanish Armada’s attack on England failed based on their “wrong-way” journey. In this case, the navigator for the Spanish Armada was a crypto-Jew named Diego Zevi. The Spanish Armada was approaching the English coast for their surprise assault when Zevi, having just closed his siddur after completing his secret morning davening, inadvertently looked at his map book from right to left instead of left to right. As a result, he gave the Armada commander backwards directions, leading the ships to turn left instead of right, enabling the British fleet to sneak up on them from behind and defeat them.

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Kosher Giraffes

Millions of people worldwide have live-streamed April the Giraffe over the last few months awaiting the birth of her calf, which finally came this past Saturday. While rabbinic tradition says that an animal in the Bible called the “zemer” was a giraffe, this is not believed to be accurate. In fact, giraffes are not native to the Middle East. Which of the following is true regarding giraffes and kashrut?

Giraffes

Baby Giraffe by StormSignal is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

AGiraffes are kosher; one way that the rabbis determined this is by confirming that giraffe milk forms curds, as required by Jewish law.

BGiraffes are not kosher, based on the fact they while they have split hooves, they do not chew their cud.

CGiraffes are not kosher, because even though they chew their cud and have split hooves, their extremely long necks render it impossible for Jewish ritual slaughterers to determine the correct spot to cut the trachea and esophagus, as required in Jewish law.

DGiraffes are not kosher, based on the fact that while they chew their cud, and their hooves are separated, there is a spongy layer of tissue in-between the toes that has led the rabbis to decide that the hooves are not truly split.

E. While giraffes would be considered kosher, as they chew their cud and have split hooves, the rabbis have decided that the giraffe is an exception to this rule, based on the story of the golden calf. In response to the Israelites creating this false idol, in Exodus Chapter 32 Verses 9-10 it says “The Lord further said to Moses, ‘I see that this is a stiffnecked people. Now, let Me be, that My anger may blaze forth against them and that I may destroy them’.” Given God’s anger at the stiffnecked Israelites, the rabbis decided that eating a stiffnecked animal would further anger God and should therefore be forbidden.

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Passover Customs

Passover is a holiday filled with customs, from the dipping of greens in salt water to the chanting of the Four Questions by the youngest child. Some customs are unique to specific Jewish communities around the world. Which of the following is a real Passover seder tradition?

Seder plate

Seder Plate by Rebecca Siegel is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A. The Dardasht Jewish community from Iran has a custom wherein the cup of Elijah is passed around and shared by all guests at the end of the seder, just before chanting “Next Year in Jerusalem.” The custom developed following a great drought which affected the community in the 1600’s, leaving many families starving. The rabbis determined that it would be wasteful to leave over any wine, so they decided the wine could be shared, with the assembled reciting the Shechecheyanu prayer at that moment, thanking God for sustaining them and allowing them to live to celebrate together.

B. There has been a Jewish community in Gibraltar since the late 1300’s, when Gibraltar was under Muslim rule. After Gibraltar fell under the rule of the Christian kings of Spain, the Jews were expelled as part of the Inquisition. In the 1700s, Gibraltar became part of the British empire, and over time a Jewish community returned, in particular from Morocco. Jews in Gibraltar have a custom wherein they prepare charoset, the symbol of the mortar used in the building of pyramids, in the Sephardic style with dates, nuts, apples and cinnamon, but also with the additional ingredient of real brick dust.

CIn the 1920s, a large number of Eastern European Ashkenazic Jews moved to Mexico following the restrictive immigration laws that were enacted in the United States at that time. The community concentrated in the Mexico City neighborhoods of Condesa and Roma, and over time the Jews interacted with and adopted aspects of the culture of the dominant community. One aspect of this is the charoset served at seders by these Mexican Jews. Rather than an apple and nut based charoset like Ashkenazic Jews make, or the Sephardic style with dried dates, apricots and other fruits, the Mexican Jews make charoset that is a variation on guacamole, to which they add pecans, a nut which is native to Mexico.

DMany Sephardic communities have a custom wherein they whip each other with scallions during the singing of Dayenu, mimicking the lashes of the Egyptian slave masters. In Turkey, it is traditional for seder attendees to eat strong maror, causing them to cry, and then to wipe their tears on the scallions before eating them, rather than dipping in salt water.

E. There are a number of unusual traditions at the seders in Mar A Lago. Most notably, in a reenactment of the exodus from Egypt, any seder attendees who are not American citizens are gathered together while the American attendees yell “Lock them up.” Then the non-citizens are sent out to the golf course, where they must first walk through a water trap, symbolizing the crossing of the Red Sea, after which they run through sand traps, symbolizing the Jews in the desert. The evening ends as the citizens place notes in a symbolic Western Wall, with the non-citizens huddled on the other side of the wall unable to return to the seder.

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Trump Passover

Despite Donald Trump often mentioning that he has a Jewish daughter, there is no indication that the tradition of a White House seder will continue under Trump. Trump has made the news in the past over a Passover controversy tied to the Trump brand. Which of the following is true?

Trump Orange Head

#TheBigOrangeHead in profile by DonkeyHotey is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A. “Success by Trump” is a Trump-branded collection including eau de toilette, after shave and deodorant. The eau de toilette is described thusly on the product’s website: “The scent is an inspiring blend of fresh juniper and iced red currant, brushed with hints of coriander. As it evolves, the mix of frozen ginger, fresh bamboo leaves and geranium emerge taking center stage, while a masculine combination of rich vetiver, tonka bean, birchwood and musk create a powerful presence throughout wear.” Israeli model and actress Gal Gadot appeared in a television ad for this product just before Passover in 2015. An outcry arose from the Orthodox community, as vetiver, one of the ingredients, is an essential oil derived from corn, which is not kosher for Passover. Gadot apologized and donated her fee for the ad shoot to a charity providing Passover meals to needy families.

B. Michael Sophocles was a candidate on the British edition of Donald Trump’s television show, The Apprentice. In 2008, the series’ fourth season, Sophocles, who is Jewish, played up his religious background, including stories about his first business endeavor in high school when he bought large boxes of Shabbat candles and resold them in pairs of two to Jewish girls at his school. He also told the producers of the show that he could not appear on one episode as it fell on the first night of Passover. However, pictures were posted of him on Facebook showing him drinking with friends at a bar on seder night, leading him to be told by the British host, Lord Alan Sugar (who is himself Jewish), “You’re fired, and you’re a shanda for the goyim.”

C. Trump Vodka ceased production in 2011, with one exception–it continued to be sold in Israel, though a saleswoman in one Israeli liquor store said, “I don’t recommend it. It has a pungent flavor.” In fact, it is popular in Israel, but only for a couple of weeks each year, as the vodka is made from potatoes rather than grain, making it kosher for Passover. However, in 2016, Badatz Igud Rabbonim, a kosher certification organization, issued a warning about the 2013 batch of Trump Vodka (many bottles of which are still on the shelves of Israeli liquor stores), as they were apparently produced with products that were not kosher for Passover even though they have a Passover certification label.

DIn 2016, the Trump Organization offered Passover golf packages at all of its golf courses in America and around the world. Participants received passes for golf daily throughout the holiday, and on the first two days of Passover, a seder was offered at the clubhouse. However, representatives from the United Arab Emirates government contacted the Trump Organization and demanded the cancellation of the seders at the two clubs in Dubai– Trump International Golf Club Dubai and Trump World Golf Club Dubai. The Emirates, which walks a fine line between its financial and cultural ties to the West and its position as a Middle Eastern Muslim country, felt that these seders would endanger their relations with more conservative Arab countries. The Trump Organization canceled the seders at these two locations, which led to criticism from the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, among others.

E. In recent years, a new tradition has developed at some seders, wherein an orange is placed on the seder plate as a symbol of inclusiveness for those who may have felt marginalized at the Passover seder (women, the LGBT community, and others). In 2016, Donald Trump went with daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared to a seder at their friends’ home where an orange was placed on the table. When the host made reference to this orange as a symbol for excluded minorities, Trump took offense, left the seder, and later tweeted, “Seder host losers! Wrong to embarrass guest with orange on table. I am tan, not orange. Shame on you, fake Jews. #makesedersgreatagain.”

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Ireland

With St. Patrick’s Day having just been celebrated, we are reminded of the long history of Jews in Ireland, going back as far as 1079, as noted in the Annals of Inisfallen (a chronicle of Irish medieval history): “Five Jews came from over sea with gifts to Toirdelbach [king of Munster], and they were sent back again over sea.” What significant event for Jews took place in the Irish city of Limerick?

St. Patrick's Day

College of DuPage Officials, Revelers Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Elmhurst 2017 127 by COD Newsroom is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

AThe first synagogue in Ireland was established in Limerick in 1747, founded by Sephardic Jews who came to Ireland from Portugal. The synagogue, Congregation Anshe Sephardim, closed in 1848 after many congregants died during the Great Famine, while others fled to the larger cities of Dublin and Cork seeking food or jobs.

BIn 1888 Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, also known as Isaac Herzog, was born in Limerick to Polish Jewish immigrants who had fled the pogroms. Herzog studied with his father who was a rabbi, and proved to be a Jewish scholar, mastering Talmud while still young. He eventually attended the Sorbonne and the University of London, before returning to Ireland, where he became the first Chief Rabbi of Ireland, from 1921 until 1936. His son, Chaim Herzog, became president of Israel, and his grandson, Isaac Herzog, is a current member of the Israeli Knesset and a leader of the Zionist Union electoral list.

C. The Guinness brewery was established in Limerick in 1759, started by a German-Jewish immigrant, Arthur Guinness, whose original name was Arthur Ginsberg. Ginsberg, who was from Germany, had worked at the Hofbräu Brewery in Munich before moving to Limerick. He began making beer, but was unsuccessful because the Irish-Catholic tavern owners would not buy from a Jew. He changed his name to Guinness, eventually leading the company to become one of the most successful beer brands in the world.

D. In 1904, Father John Creagh of the Redemptorist Order in Limerick gave some anti-Semitic sermons which led to a boycott of the small Jewish community there, as well as assaults against some of the city’s Jews. Many of the Jewish families left Limerick and moved to Cork. The first Jewish Lord Mayor of Cork, Gerald Goldberg, was from a family who had fled the Limerick boycott.

EWhen Irish novelist James Joyce, who was Catholic, was growing up in Limerick, Ireland, he was best friends with a Jewish boy who lived next door named Leopold Bloomberg. They used to hang out almost every day after school doing all the silly things that little boys used to do. One day James said to Leo, “Listen to the poem I made up.”

A young Rabbi was teaching in cork,
And he told the kids–take out a fork.
When you’re here in this cheder
You must eat your potater
With some brisket, and never with pork.

When Joyce later gained fame as the writer of Ulysses, he honored his childhood friend by naming the protagonist Leopold Bloom. One day a reporter from the Times of London was interviewing Joyce about his youth, and Joyce recited the poem he had written for his childhood Limerick friend. The silly verse became known as Joyce’s Limerick poem, and eventually that phrase was applied to all poems that followed the same meter and rhyme scheme.

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