Thursday, August 11th 2022   |

Jewish Trivia Quiz

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

The Academy Awards

The Academy Awards ceremony took place this past weekend. Among the Jewish nominees were actor Andrew Garfield, film editors Myron Kerstein & Andrew Weisblum, documentary filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt, director Stephen Spielberg, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, who was nominated for her adapted screenplay, The Lost Daughter. Garfield played Jonathan Larson, the Jewish playwright, composer and lyricist, in the movie Tick Tick Boom, directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film tells the story of Larson, best known for writing the musical Rent, which had its first off-Broadway preview on the day Larson tragically died as a result of an aortic dissection. A scene in Tick Tick Boom takes place in a diner where actors Howard McGillin (who starred in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway) and Chuck Cooper (a Tony winner in The Life) place a food order with Larson, who is working as a waiter. What is the dialog of that scene?

Academy Award statuette

Academy Award Winner bDavidlohr Bueso is licensed under CC BY 2.0

AMcGillin’s character asks Larson, “Do you have any of those wonderful Jewish crepes?”, to which Cooper’s character interjects, saying “It’s blintzes, dear. They call them blintzes.”

B. McGillin’s character asks Larson, “Do you have any of those wonderful rugeluhs?”, to which Cooper’s character interjects, saying “It’s rugelach, dear. They call it rugelach. With a CHHHHH.”

C. McGillin’s character asks Larson, “Do you have any of those wonderful Jewish rolls?”, to which Cooper’s character interjects, saying “It’s bagels, dear. They call them bagels.”

D. McGillin’s character asks Larson, “Do you have that any of that wonderful Jewish bread?”, to which Cooper’s character interjects, saying “It’s challah, dear. They call it challah bread.”

E. McGillin’s character asks Larson, “Do you have any of that wonderful Jewish bread?”, to which Cooper’s character interjects, saying “It’s holly, dear. They call it holly bread.”

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Roman Abramovich

The United States and other countries have placed sanctions on a number of Russian oligarchs, who are seen as major financial and political supporters of Vladimir Putin. Among the oligarchs is Roman Abramovich, the multi-billionaire owner of the Chelsea Football Club, one of the United Kingdom’s top soccer teams. Abramovich is Jewish and also holds Israeli citizenship. Just weeks ago he made a $3 million donation to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum. On February 6, Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan, as well as Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau and many other Israeli leaders, sent a letter to the United States Ambassador to Israel asking that Abramovich not be sanctioned because of “his contribution to the Jewish people.” But on March 10, Yad Vashem issued a statement saying, “In light of recent developments, Yad Vashem has decided to suspend the strategic partnership with Mr. Roman Abramovich.” Many of the oligarchs have put some of their money into superyachts, which in some cases have been seized as part of sanctions. Both of Abramovich’s superyachts are currently cruising with no clear destination, hoping to avoid seizure. What are the names of Abramovich’s two superyachts (each of which is worth at least $600 million)?

Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich

Abramovich Chukotka.jpg bMarina Lystseva is licensed under GNU Free Documentation License

AAndromeda and Cygnus.

BSolaris and Eclipse.

CExodus and Deuteronomy.

DBeluga and Balalaika.

EMinnow and Jenny.

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Airbnb

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Airbnb users have booked rooms in Ukraine with a value of more than $2 million. This represents more than 60,000 nights of rental of Ukrainian houses, apartments and guest rooms. Yet none of the renters will be staying in those dwellings. In fact, these rentals are a way that people all over the world are funneling donations to Ukrainians who in normal times would be renting out their properties. And to assist in this effort Airbnb is waiving all guest and host fees for these unusual rentals. One renter shared the online conversation she had with her Ukrainian “host,” who wrote, “The world is not without good people. Now I have tears in my eyes and I cry with happiness in the first of these terrible days. Thank you very much. I will be happy to hug you when we meet in peacetime.” Airbnb was involved in a different action in 2018, leading to criticism by some in the Jewish world. What was the incident that led to criticism of the corporation?

Toronto Airbnb office

AirbnbToronto5.jpg bRaysonho is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal

AAirbnb was criticized when it was learned that property renters in some Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, were allowed to refuse rentals to Jews. The renters stated that since Israel did not have diplomatic relations with their governments, they should be allowed to make that choice. But the company was criticized for letting these renters violate the company’s terms of agreement, which forbid any religious discrimination. Airbnb officials apologized for their error, but did confirm that renters in these countries could refuse Israelis as opposed to Jews.

B. Airbnb banned the rental of Jewish-owned properties in the West Bank, but not properties owned by Palestinians. A company statement read, “Many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced.” Yet there were no such restrictions in other areas of occupied or disputed land, such as in Russian-occupied Ukraine.

C. Airbnb allowed Orthodox Jews to charge triple the standard cleaning fee, which property owners said was to re-kosher their kitchens after guests departed, as they could not be sure the renters followed the rules of kashrut. But this charge violated the normal terms of agreement between renters and the corporation, which limits the amount that can be charged for cleaning. A company official stated that “we erred in viewing this type of cleaning as within the bounds of our 5-step enhanced cleaning process and we will refund any customers who were charged these extra fees.”

D. Following a period of heightened tension between Israelis and the Palestinians in Gaza, Airbnb temporarily allowed Israeli Jews not to rent to Israeli Arabs and vice versa. While the company claimed that it was being sensitive to the current political situation, many Israeli Arabs and Jews protested that the decision fed into prejudices, rather than lowering tension. And there was no similar policy in other areas of religious conflct, such as rentals between Hindus and Muslims in India.

EAirbnb was criticized by leaders of a number of synagogues in New York City when it was learned that synagogue members had rented out their valuable High Holiday seats through the company’s website. One listing read, “Comfortable rental for 4. Prime location within walking distance of the bima. Central air and heat, street parking, wifi, smoke alarms  dedicated prayerspace and security camera on premises.” Many synagogues were not aware of these rentals until after services ended, when cleaning crews showed up and began wiping down specific pews and prayer books where the renters had sat during services.

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The Supreme Court

President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has weighed in on many cases over the years which have directly affected the Jewish community, including Greece v. Galloway (which upheld the right of governments to open public meetings with a religious prayer) and Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb (wherein the Court ruled that a synagogue that was desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti could sue the perpetrator for “racially discriminatory interference with property rights.” A lower court had ruled that this so-called “white-on-white” crime was not a form of racial discrimination). In 1954, police in Springfield, Massachusetts, arrested Howard Chernock, owner of the Crown Kosher Super Market, following purchases made by the police at the store on three Sundays in violation of the state’s Blue Laws. The Blue Laws, first enacted in 1653, stated that “whoever, on the Lord’s day, keeps open his shop, warehouse or workhouse, or does any manner of labor, business or work, except those of necessity or charity, shall be punished by a fine of fifty dollars.” The Massachusetts law did allow the market to open on Sunday, but only until 10:00am. Chernock was fined, but in response Chernock and some of his customers sued Raymond P. Gallagher, the Springfield police chief, claiming that the law violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment (basically, that it violated their religious rights). The District Court ruled in Chernock’s favor, and Chief Gallagher appealed the case to the Supreme Court. What was the result of that appeal, in the case of Gallagher v. Crown Kosher Super Market of Massachusetts?

Official portrait of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Official portrait of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson bH2rty is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

AThe Supreme Court upheld the District Court ruling in a 6-3 decision, noting that though the State might legally be able to require a day of no commercial operations, the Blue Laws clearly were based on the Christian view of Sunday as the Lord’s day of rest rather than a non-religious view of the best interests of the State.

BThe Supreme Court refused to hear the case. While the Court does not announce why it chooses not to take up any particular case, it was speculated that the Court saw absolutely no flaw in the ruling of the District Court, so left their ruling in place that the Blue Laws were unconstitutional.

CThe Supreme Court overturned the District Court ruling, stating in a 7-2 decision that, despite the original religious basis for the Blue Laws, these restrictions no longer had religious intent, and therefore the state had a right to declare a commercial day of rest.

DThe Supreme Court decided against Chernock and his customers, noting that since the Massachusetts law allowed him to operate until 10:00am, it was not valid to claim that there was a religious preference given to Christian theology. As a result, many states whose Blue Laws allowed no opening hours on Sunday changed their laws to allow very limited operating hours, but this ultimately led to hours being extended more and more, eventually leading to the revocation of most Blue Laws.

EThe nine member Supreme Court ruled 8-2 to uphold the Blue Laws, with the seven non-Jewish justices (Earl Warren, Hugo Black, Stanley Forman Reed, William O. Douglas, Robert H. Jackson, Harold Hitz Burton, and Tom C. Clark) all voting in favor, while the two Jewish members of the court (Felix Frankfurter and Arthur Goldberg), voted 1 in favor, 2 against, upholding the classic model of “2 Jews, 3 opinions.”

Click here for the answer.

The Supreme Court

President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has weighed in on many cases over the years which have directly affected the Jewish community, including Greece v. Galloway (which upheld the right of governments to open public meetings with a religious prayer) and Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb (wherein the Court ruled that a synagogue that was desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti could sue the perpetrator for “racially discriminatory interference with property rights.” A lower court had ruled that this so-called “white-on-white” crime was not a form of racial discrimination). In 1954, police in Springfield, Massachusetts, arrested Howard Chernock, owner of the Crown Kosher Super Market, following purchases made by the police at the store on three Sundays in violation of the state’s Blue Laws. The Blue Laws, first enacted in 1653, stated that “whoever, on the Lord’s day, keeps open his shop, warehouse or workhouse, or does any manner of labor, business or work, except those of necessity or charity, shall be punished by a fine of fifty dollars.” The Massachusetts law did allow the market to open on Sunday, but only until 10:00am. Chernock was fined, but in response Chernock and some of his customers sued Raymond P. Gallagher, the Springfield police chief, claiming that the law violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment (basically, that it violated their religious rights). The District Court ruled in Chernock’s favor, and Chief Gallagher appealed the case to the Supreme Court. What was the result of that appeal, in the case of Gallagher v. Crown Kosher Super Market of Massachusetts?

Official portrait of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Official portrait of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson bH2rty is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

AThe Supreme Court upheld the District Court ruling in a 6-3 decision, noting that though the State might legally be able to require a day of no commercial operations, the Blue Laws clearly were based on the Christian view of Sunday as the Lord’s day of rest rather than a non-religious view of the best interests of the State.

BThe Supreme Court refused to hear the case. While the Court does not announce why it chooses not to take up any particular case, it was speculated that the Court saw absolutely no flaw in the ruling of the District Court, so left their ruling in place that the Blue Laws were unconstitutional.

CThe Supreme Court overturned the District Court ruling, stating in a 7-2 decision that, despite the original religious basis for the Blue Laws, these restrictions no longer had religious intent, and therefore the state had a right to declare a commercial day of rest.

DThe Supreme Court decided against Chernock and his customers, noting that since the Massachusetts law allowed him to operate until 10:00am, it was not valid to claim that there was a religious preference given to Christian theology. As a result, many states whose Blue Laws allowed no opening hours on Sunday changed their laws to allow very limited operating hours, but this ultimately led to hours being extended more and more, eventually leading to the revocation of most Blue Laws.

EThe nine member Supreme Court ruled 8-2 to uphold the Blue Laws, with the seven non-Jewish justices (Earl Warren, Hugo Black, Stanley Forman Reed, William O. Douglas, Robert H. Jackson, Harold Hitz Burton, and Tom C. Clark) all voting in favor, while the two Jewish members of the court (Felix Frankfurter and Arthur Goldberg), voted 1 in favor, 2 against, upholding the classic model of “2 Jews, 3 opinions.”

Click here for the answer.

The Supreme Court

President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has weighed in on many cases over the years which have directly affected the Jewish community, including Greece v. Galloway (which upheld the right of governments to open public meetings with a religious prayer) and Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb (wherein the Court ruled that a synagogue that was desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti could sue the perpetrator for “racially discriminatory interference with property rights.” A lower court had ruled that this so-called “white-on-white” crime was not a form of racial discrimination). In 1954, police in Springfield, Massachusetts, arrested Howard Chernock, owner of the Crown Kosher Super Market, following purchases made by the police at the store on three Sundays in violation of the state’s Blue Laws. The Blue Laws, first enacted in 1653, stated that “whoever, on the Lord’s day, keeps open his shop, warehouse or workhouse, or does any manner of labor, business or work, except those of necessity or charity, shall be punished by a fine of fifty dollars.” The Massachusetts law did allow the market to open on Sunday, but only until 10:00am. Chernock was fined, but in response Chernock and some of his customers sued Raymond P. Gallagher, the Springfield police chief, claiming that the law violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment (basically, that it violated their religious rights). The District Court ruled in Chernock’s favor, and Chief Gallagher appealed the case to the Supreme Court. What was the result of that appeal, in the case of Gallagher v. Crown Kosher Super Market of Massachusetts?

Official portrait of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Official portrait of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson bH2rty is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

AThe Supreme Court upheld the District Court ruling in a 6-3 decision, noting that though the State might legally be able to require a day of no commercial operations, the Blue Laws clearly were based on the Christian view of Sunday as the Lord’s day of rest rather than a non-religious view of the best interests of the State.

BThe Supreme Court refused to hear the case. While the Court does not announce why it chooses not to take up any particular case, it was speculated that the Court saw absolutely no flaw in the ruling of the District Court, so left their ruling in place that the Blue Laws were unconstitutional.

CThe Supreme Court overturned the District Court ruling, stating in a 7-2 decision that, despite the original religious basis for the Blue Laws, these restrictions no longer had religious intent, and therefore the state had a right to declare a commercial day of rest.

DThe Supreme Court decided against Chernock and his customers, noting that since the Massachusetts law allowed him to operate until 10:00am, it was not valid to claim that there was a religious preference given to Christian theology. As a result, many states whose Blue Laws allowed no opening hours on Sunday changed their laws to allow very limited operating hours, but this ultimately led to hours being extended more and more, eventually leading to the revocation of most Blue Laws.

EThe nine member Supreme Court ruled 8-2 to uphold the Blue Laws, with the seven non-Jewish justices (Earl Warren, Hugo Black, Stanley Forman Reed, William O. Douglas, Robert H. Jackson, Harold Hitz Burton, and Tom C. Clark) all voting in favor, while the two Jewish members of the court (Felix Frankfurter and Arthur Goldberg), voted 1 in favor, 2 against, upholding the classic model of “2 Jews, 3 opinions.”

Click here for the answer.

President’s Day

As we celebrate President’s Day we are reminded of how our country’s presidents, starting with George Washington, have had things to say about the Jews. In 1790, Washington wrote a letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island saying, “May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.” Other presidents have offered praise about the Jews. Warren G. Harding wrote, “One of the marvels of humanity’s story has been the strength and persistence of the Jewish faith and its continuing influence and power of the Jewish people.” Calvin Coolidge spoke at the dedication of the Jewish Community Center building in Washington DC, saying “The Jewish faith is predominantly the faith of liberty.” And John Adams wrote, “I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize man than any other nation.” On the other hand, Richard Nixon said, “The Jews are born spies,” and “Most Jews are disloyal.” Which of the following was NOT said by Donald Trump?

George Washington

George Washington by Rembrandt Peale is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A“There’s people in this country that are Jewish and no longer love Israel.”

B. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”

C“If you want to vote Democrat, you are being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel.” 

D. “The evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country.”

E“Jesus Christ couldn’t please them [Jews] when he was here on earth, so how could anyone expect that I would have any luck?”

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Montreal Bagels

Canada has been dealing with a growing truckers’ protest over the last few weeks, which began in response to a vaccine mandate for drivers entering from the United States. The truckers have been disrupting traffic across the country by parking their rigs on major streets and blocking large intersections, as well as shutting down the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit. This has resulted in major disruption to the automobile manufacturing industry. Canadian police are now trying to disperse the protesters. The first group of Jews arrived in Canada in 1760, comprising fur traders, merchants and soldiers. The population slowly grew, especially after 1832 when Jews gained full rights as British subjects. It is estimated that there are roughly 350,000 Jews in Canada today, with the largest concentration in Toronto. One of the most significant contributions of Canada’s Jews is the Montreal bagel, which is very different from the classic New York bagel. Montreal bagels include sour dough, tend to be smaller than New York bagels, and have a larger hole. Most importantly, they are boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked. What is one unusual situation where Montreal bagels made an appearance?

St-Viateur Bagel by Julia Manzerova is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

AAstronauts on the International Space Station are allowed to make a “wish list” of food or other items they want to take with them on their extended journey to space. Canadian astronaut Greg Chamitoff chose to bring 18 sesame seed Montreal bagels with him for his 6-month stay on the International Space Station in 2008. It is not known if he also brought cream cheese.

B. Expo 67 was the World’s Fair held in Montreal in 1967, with 62 nations participating in what is still considered one of the most successful world’s fairs ever. The event included a long list of famous entertainers, such as the Supremes, Petula Clark, Thelonious Monk, and the Grateful Dead. Noteworthy visitors to the fair included Queen Elizabeth II, Lyndon B. Johnson, Princess Grace of Monaco, Haile Selassie, Charles de Gaulle, and Marlene Dietrich. Organizers of Expo 67 created gift bags that were handed out to performers, celebrities, politicians and other noted guests. Among the items in the gift bag were bottles of maple syrup, hockey pucks emblazoned with the logo of the Montreal Canadiens, an honorary Royal Canadian Mounted Police badge, and a Montreal bagel.

C. Jewish Canadian rapper Drake held a “Re-Bar Mitzvah” in 2017, which included his participation in Shabbat services followed by a huge celebration attended by celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx and Odell Beckham Jr. During the service, Drake was called to the Torah for an aliyah, after which he was pelted, not with candy as is traditional, but by mini-Montreal bagels that had been distributed to the guests.

D. Queen Elizabeth last visited Canada in 2010. On that trip, Charles Bronfman, the businessman and philanthopist, arranged a visit by the Queen to the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Canada’s oldest Jewish house of worship, which was established in 1768. At that visit the Queen met with leaders of the Toronto Jewish community and enjoyed a lunch of Montreal bagels with cream cheese and lox.

EUJA Federation of Greater Toronto sponsors an annual Jewish Day School Hockey tournament, but instead of using a hockey puck, which could be very dangerous for young children, the games are played using Montreal bagels. Seeded bagels, however, are not allowed.

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Jewish Music at the Olympics

Jason Brown is a Jewish figure skater who will be representing the United States at the Beijing Olympic Games. He has won numerous events in the past, including 9 medals at Grand Prix international events, the 2015 United States National Championship, and a bronze medal in a team event at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In 2019 Brown began using the music from Schindler’s List as the accompaniment for his routines. Explained Brown, “I have really loved tapping into the heart and soul of the piece.” He will be presenting a free skate routine to this music later this week. Jewish music has been used before at the Olympics, most notably by Jewish American Aly Raisman, who performed her gold medal winning gymnastics floor exercise to Hava Nagila at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Raisman dedicated her medal to the 11 Israeli Olympians who were killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. A more controversial use of Jewish music took place at the Rio Olympics in 2016, when an athlete competed to a klezmer song, Kol Ha’Olam Kulo. The melody to Kol Ha’Olam Kulo was written by Rabbi Baruch Chait utilizing words by Reb Nachman, the founder of the Breslover Hasidic movement. Why did Rabbi Chait object to the use of that song at the Olympics?

Figure skater Jason Brown

Jason Brown during the gala at the Internationaux de France de Patinage 2018 by Rama is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

ARabbi Chait objected when the song was used to accompany Japanese gymnast Sae Miyakawa during her floor routine. Rabbi Chait stated that her routine was “not very modest.”

B. Rabbi Chait objected when the song was used to accompany Turkish gymnast Tutya Yılmaz during her floor routine. Rabbi Chait stated that the music “is not appropriate for a Muslim athlete.”

C. Rabbi Chait objected when the song was used to accompany Japanese gymnast Sae Miyakawa during her floor routine. Rabbi Chait stated that the music “is a matter of sanctity that cannot be used for just anything.”

D. Rabbi Chait objected when the song was used to accompany Israeli rhythmic gymnast Neta Rivkin during her floor routine. Rabbi Chait stated that “a woman should not be performing to the music of our Rebbe in a public place. Only a man is allowed to do that.”

ERabbi Chait objected when the song was used to accompany Japanese gymnast Sae Miyakawa during her floor routine. Rabbi Chait stated that her routine was “not very modest” and the music “is a matter of sanctity that cannot be used for just anything” and, by the way, he should have been paid royalties.

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Bombogenesis

The East Coast was hit with up to 2-1/2 feet of snow as part of a “bombogenesis” snowstorm. A bombogenesis is a storm that intensifies rapidly, yielding blizzard-like conditions. In simple terms, bombogenesis describes a storm bursting into existence like a bomb! The term evokes the Jewish reference to Genesis as the heavens and earth burst into existence on the first day. There is another place where there are Jewish references in regard to the weather. The United States has had an offficial system of naming hurricanes since 1953, and more recently major winter storms have been given unofficial names by The Weather Channel. A similar system has been developed under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization, with countries in close proximity sharing name lists. To this end, last year Israel joined together with Greece and Cyprus to form the East Mediterranean Storm Naming Group, and each country contributed some of the names on the alphabetical list. Greece and Cyprus added such names as Athina, Nikias, and Vion. What are two of the names Israel contributed to the list of potentially devastating Mediterranean weather systems?

Lightning storm over Israel

The thunder and lightning bRon Almog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

AZe’ev and Aryeh.

BBalaam and Ramses.

CIrit and Raphael.

DMoshe and Yehoshua.

EOy, It’s So Hot I’m Shvitzing Like A Pig and Bubele, Put On Your Sweater Before You Catch Your Death Of Cold.

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