Wednesday, June 16th 2021   |

Jewish Trivia Quiz

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

The Rothschilds

Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene continued to make headlines for her racist, demeaning, anti-Semitic, conspiratorial and other despicable and bizarre comments and social media posts. It was revealed that in 2018 she had posted on Facebook that the “Vice Chairman of Rothschild Inc, international investment banking firm” may have used “space solar generators” to cause a huge wildfire across California. The invoking of the Rothschild family in conspiracy theories is a classic anti-Semitic trope, generally referencing the great wealth and international scope of the Rothschild banking family and the supposed use of their money and power for world domination. The Rothschild family banking history began with Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744–1812) who established his banking business in the 1760s in Frankfort. Through his five sons the business spread across Europe and eventually around the world with many separate branches active in banking and finance, philanthropy, the arts, Zionism, winemaking, and more. When Carl von Rothschild, founder of the Naples branch of the family, met with Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 to lend £400,000 (approximately $48 million in today’s currency) to the Holy See, what happened that shocked observers?

Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Mayer_Amschel_Rothschild_-_The_Jewish_Encyclopedia_1907.png  by Unknown author via Wikimedia Commons is in the public domain.

AThe meeting took place on a Sunday morning, when the Pope would normally be holding mass and greeting people in St. Peter’s Square. But the Pope delayed these events because of the importance of finalizing the loan.

B. When Carl von Rothschild met Pope Gregory XVI, he was not required to kiss the Pope’s feet, as was the rule for all others meeting the pontiff.

CPope Gregory XVI arranged for kosher food to be served, prepared by members of the local Roman Jewish community.

DCarl von Rothschild was led on a tour of the Vatican, including the Sistine Chapel, by Pope Gregory XVI. This was a huge breach of protocol, wherein tours were always led by lower Vatican officials and never by the Pope himself.

EWhen Rothschild and the Pope met in December 1832 to finalize the loan, the Pope showed Rothschild an oil lamp menorah that had been gifted to Pope Clement VII by the Jewish community of Rome in 1531. Rothschild, noting that their meeting was taking place on the last day of Chanukkah, immediately proceeded to light the menorah via a laser blast from outer space.

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Larry King, z”l

Larry King died last week at the age of 87, a month after being hospitalized with COVID-19. King, who was born Lawrence Zeiger to Jewish immigrants from Belarus, had a more than six decade career in television, radio, and digitial media, conducting thousands of interviews with actors, presidents, sports figures, world leaders, and so many others. Early in his career, what gaffe did King commit during an interview?

Larry King

Starmus2017_LarryKing_Trondheim Spektrum by NTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

AKing’s first broadcasting job was at a radio station in Miami Beach. He did interviews with local people, discussing their daily lives. For one show, he invited on a Black man who was a member of the station’s cleaning crew. The broadcast was cut off almost immediately, as King had no idea that in Miami in 1957 it was not acceptable to interview a Black man on a white radio station.

B. In the mid-1960’s, King interviewed the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Trying to be funny, Larry King asked, “Is it true that we’re related?” Dr. King responded, “Well, sir, many of my people are related to your people. Do you really want to discuss why that is?”

CKing’s first celebrity interview was with singer Bobby Darin. King asked him about his recording of Roses Are Red (My Love), which was in fact a Bobby Vinton song.

D. In the late 1950’s King moved to Miami Beach where he got a job at WAHR radio. One of his first interview guests was the president of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana. At one point in the interview King said, “I’m pretty new to Miami. Can you recommend a place to get tacos,” not realizing that tacos are not part of traditional Cuban cuisine.

EWhen King was 23 years, old, he interviewed a Catholic priest and asked him how many children he had.

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Maskless Chassidim

A few hundred Chassidic Jews crowded in front of the Satmar Meats & Takeout in Brooklyn last Friday afternoon, and eventually the police were called. Most of the Chassidim were not wearing masks and did not socially distance. Why did they all gather at that location?

Chassidic Jews

D38A077715636 by Chabad Lubavitch is licensed under CC BY 2.0 and was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic

A. The Chassidim were protesting Governor Cuomo and his attempt to enforce stricter public health rules which many in the Chassidic community believe interfere with their religious rights.

BThey were celebrating the birth of a baby boy in an apartment above the butcher. The boy is the grandson of the Grand Rebbe of the Satmar community, Aaron Teitelbaum.

C. The Chassidim were members of the Bobover sect of Chassidim, and they were protesting the opening of a Satmar butcher shop in their neighborhood.

D.  They were lining up for COVID vaccines that were being given out on a first-come, first-served basis at the Hatzolah of Boro Park health clinic located upstairs from the butcher.

EThe Chassidim were watching a raccoon that was stuck in the window grate above the kosher butcher until the police removed it.

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Elon Musk

Entrepreneur Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, just became the richest person in the world, with a net worth of $195 billion, surpassing Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Musk responded to that news with a simple six word statement, “How strange, well, back to work.” Musk, who is often mistakenly thought to be Jewish, visited Israel in 2018, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dining in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market, and pouring himself a flaming absinthe in a Jerusalem bar. Musk also went to Masada and posted a selfie from there on Instagram, with what pithy caption?

Elon Musk

Elon Musk by Daniel Oberhaus is licensed under CC BY 2.0

AI have been to the mountaintop.

BLive free or die.

C. I could easily make that cable car solar powered.

DIn God we trust.

EFreedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.

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Ted Cruz

In the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump were hostile rivals, with Trump claiming falsely that Cruz’s father was connected with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Trump also attacked Cruz’s wife, and in particular, insulted her looks. In response, Ted Cruz said that Trump was a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral,” and a “serial philanderer.” Yet Cruz went on to become a Trump supporter, and he is now leading an effort by a dozen Republican senators to have Congress overturn the democratic election of President-Elect Joe Biden based on completely false and irrational claims of voter fraud. This, despite numerous court cases on the matter, none of which have been successful. During Ted Cruz’s 2016 campaign, he went with Rabbi Zev Reichman (the director of the Mechina Program at Yeshiva University) to a fundraising event. What did Cruz do that impressed Rabbi Reichman?

Senator Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

ACruz arrived late because he wanted to finish his bacon sandwich before getting into the rabbi’s car.

BCruz showed up already wearing a yarmulke.

CCruz greeted the rabbi by saying “Shalom Aleichem.”

DCruz offered the rabbi a cookie from a bag he was carrying, but first showed him the kosher certification on the package.

ECruz made his wife sit alone in the back seat of the rabbi’s car, telling her it was the women’s section.

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Naftali Bennett

The collapse of Israel’s government last week means that for the fourth time in two years, Israel will be holding elections. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be facing opposition from the political right, including Gideon Saar and Naftali Bennett, both of whom served as ministers in his previous governments. Bennett, a wealthy software entrepreneur, entered the political world in 2006, serving as Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff. In 2011 he co-founded the My Israel party, and in 2013 he led the Jewish Home party, which won 12 seats in the Knesset election. Bennett went on to serve as Minister of the Economy and Minister of Education, among other posts. While Naftali Bennett has advocated for gay rights in Israel, he opposes gay marriage. What did he say in a television interview about gay marriage?

Naftali Bennett

Israel Bilat by U.S. Secretary of Defense is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A“Judaism doesn’t recognize gay marriage, just as we don’t recognize milk and meat together as kosher.”

B. “Judaism doesn’t recognize gay marriage, as it clearly states in Leviticus, ‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, the two of them have done an abhorrent thing; they shall be put to death–their bloodguilt is upon them.’ ”

C“Judaism doesn’t recognize gay marriage, just as we don’t recognize masks and social distancing as kosher.”

D. “Judaism doesn’t recognize gay marriage. The 5th commandment states, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother.’ This means that children shall have a mother and a father, not two mothers or two fathers.”

E“Judaism doesn’t recognize gay marriage, just as we don’t recognize Bibi and Gantz together as kosher.”

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COVID-19 Vaccination

COVID-19 vaccinations developed by Pfizer and Moderna have now been approved, and shots have already begun to be administered to healthcare workers and others. Vice President Mike Pence received the vaccine last week in a televised event, and President-Elect Joe Biden is getting his vaccine today. There is controversy within some segments of the ultra-Orthodox community, where many have opposed other efforts to control the virus, including mask wearing and restrictions on the number of attendees at religious services, weddings, etc. And there is a history of opposition to other vaccines such as the flu vaccine within some Orthodox communities. This includes a group of Jewish mothers who have claimed that vaccines cause autism, epilepsy, and anaphylaxis, and that pediatricians cover up the dangers for their personal financial benefit. Since 2014, they have published an anti-vaccination magazine with what name?

COVID-19 vaccination

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are administered at Naval Health Clinic Hawaii by Official U.S. Navy Page is licensed under CC BY 2.0

AOLIVES, an acronym for Orthodox Ladies Ignore Vaccination's Evil Schemes.

BMANGO, an acronym for Mothers Against Non-believing Governmental Organizations.

CORANGE, an acronym for Our Rabbis Acclaim–No to Government Edicts.

DPEACH, an acronym for Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health.

EUGLI FRUIT, an acronym for Unbelivably Gullible Lunatics Intent on Fomenting Ridiculous Untrue Idiotic Theories.

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Chanukkiah

There are many rules and traditions regarding the Chanukkiah, or Chanukkah menorah. For example, candles are placed in the Chanukkiah from right to left, but they are lit from left to right (lighting the newest candle first). Also, the candles are supposed to be in a straight line, not in a semicircle, and the height of each candle should be the same (NOTE: That makes RASHI, RAMBAM and RAMALAMADINGDONG'S moose menorah a non-kosher menorah. But still a very cool Chanukkiah!). What is the maximum height a Chanukkiah can be, and why?

Moose Menorah

A36 feet, representing the 36 righteous people, or Lamed-Vavniks.

B18 feet, which represents Chai, the word for life, that numerically is the equivalent of 18.

CThere is no maximum height for a Chanukkiah.

D40 feet, representing the number of years the Israelites wandered through the desert.

E32 feet, because the Chanukkiah is supposed to be seen, and that’s about the highest that most people see when they look up.

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White House Chanukkah

President Trump will be hosting an in-person Chanukkah party at the White House this coming Wednesday. Many of the Jewish leaders who were invited have declined to attend because of the COVID risk. Some, however, plan to be there, including ZOA president Mort Klein, who explained the motivation of those attending, “They want to see important people and they want to be seen.” At the 2015 White House Chanukkah party, President Barack Obama addressed the attendees, including Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, and compared the Chanukkah story to what movie?

White House Hanukkah Reception 2019

White House Hanukkah Reception 2019 is in the public domain

ASaid President Obama, “All of us come together along with Jews around the world to celebrate a band of Maccabees who inspire us even today. They remind me of another scrappy gang of fighters, the Dirty Dozen. Right? Their job was to wipe out an entire band of Nazi officers, and they had no military training at all. The were just tough, and committed to a cause. I mean, couldn’t you see Judah Maccabee played by Lee Marvin?”

BSaid President Obama, “All of us come together along with Jews around the world to celebrate a band of Maccabees who inspire us even today. They were the original Inglourious Basterds. They stood up to the oppressors, and showed that with faith, you can achieve victory against the greatest of odds.”

CSaid President Obama, “All of us come together along with Jews around the world to celebrate a band of Maccabees who inspire us even today. Makes me think of Rocky. Now here’s a guy who doesn’t even belong in the fight. There is no way this dude is going to defeat the world champion, Apollo Creed. Right? So here you have Judah Maccabee, the Rocky of his day, going up against King Antiochus, definitely an Apollo Creed kind’a guy. But Judah fools everyone by winning. And when it’s all over, Judah Maccabee, exhausted, stands in the Temple and yells, ‘Yo, Adonai!’ ”

DSaid President Obama, “All of us come together along with Jews around the world to celebrate a band of Maccabees who inspire us even today. They were outnumbered, out armed yet proved freedom can prevail over tyranny, hope can triumph over despair, light can prevail over darkness. That sounds like a description of the new Star Wars movie but this one happened a little earlier.”

ESaid President Obama, “All of us come together along with Jews around the world to celebrate a band of Maccabees who inspire us even today. And think about those Maccabees. You know who they remind me of? The Deltas, from Animal House. Am I right? Judah Maccabee is definitely Blutarsky. His brothers, John, Simon, Eleazar, and Jonathan–they’re Otter, Boon, Pinto and Flounder. And then there’s Antiochus. Now he is Dean Vernon Wormer, for sure. You know, the guy who wants to get rid of the Deltas. He’s the Dean, so you figure he’s gonna win. But those toga-wearing Deltas, or in this case, the toga-wearing Maccabees ruled the day. And just like Bluto inspried his men by saying ‘Over? Did you say over?? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!’, I'm pretty sure that Judah Maccabee said, ‘Oil? Did you say oil?? The oil doesn't stop burning until we decide it is! Was it over when the Russians bombed Tzeitel’s wedding? Hell, no!’ ”

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Diego Maradona, RIP

Renowned Argentinian football (soccer) star Diego Armando Maradona died of a heart attack last week at the age of 60. Maradona is generally considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time, and is particularly remembered for a goal he scored against England in the 1986 World Cup Quarterfinals that has been dubbed “The Hand of God” goal. He played in four World Cups, leading Argentina to victory over West Germany in 1986, and he was jointly awarded the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award along with Pele. What was Diego Maradona’s connection to Jews and/or Israel?

Diego Maradona

Maradona by diego vaz is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

A. Maradona’s ancestors were Jews from Toledo, Spain, who converted to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition. He only learned of his Jewish background in 1990 during a trip to Israel where the Argentinian soccer team defeated Israel in a match at Ramat Gan stadium. During the visit, Maradona visited the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora (now Beit Hatfutsot: The Museum of the Jewish People) where genealogists showed him records documenting his family background.

B. Maradona first visited Israel in 1986 when he contributed two goals to Argentina’s victory against Israel. He returned in 1990, again leading his team to victory, and in both of those years Argentina went on to play in the World Cup Finals. According to  Israeli sports reporter Uri Levy, Maradona considered his trips to Israel to be good luck charms. Levy stated that Maradona “...turned his visits to Israel into something superstitious. He said that every visit to Israel … will bring us a World Cup (victory).” Said Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu in response to Maradona’s passing, “On behalf of all Israeli citizens, I express my deepest condolences for the death of my dear friend.”

C. In 2014, following Israel’s incursion into the Gaza Strip, Maradona criticized Israel, saying “What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is shameful.” He continued to be supportive of the Palestinian cause, later saying, “In my heart, I am Palestinian.” Said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in response to Maradona’s passing, “He was a milestone in world sports, and a loving friend to Palestine and its people.”

DMaradona retired from competitive football in 1994 after failing a drug test at the World Cup Games. After retirement, he worked as a soccer coach and team executive, as well as playing in exhibition matches to raise money for charity. In 1999, Maradona played in a competition in Israel which featured handicapped Israeli and Palestinian players, raising money to send athletes to the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

EThe soccer player’s birth name was Diego Armando, and he was the child of Jews whose ancestors had fled Spain during the Inquisition rather than convert. He was a standout soccer player from a young age, and in high school he played for the local Jewish soccer club, Fútbol Judíos Argentinos. At that time his outstanding playing earned him the nickname from his teammates of “Mr. God,” which in Hebrew is “Mar Adonai.” He later adapted the nickname as Maradona, and in 1981 he legally changed his name to Diego Armando Maradona.

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