Friday, September 30th 2022   |

Jewish Trivia Quiz

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

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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Jon Stewart

It was just announced that Jon Stewart will be the recipient of the 2022 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The award program will take place at the Kennedy Center on April 24, and will later be broadcast on television. Stewart joins a distinguished list of past recipients, including Richard Pryor, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin, Bill Murray, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Bill Cosby (whose prize was later rescinded). Stewart, born Jonathan Leibowitz, was raised in a Conservative Jewish family, but is not religious. He often makes Jewish references in his comedy, including his response to learning that he is this year’s Mark Twain recipient: “I am truly honored to receive this award. I have long admired and been influenced by the work of Mark Twain, or, as he was known by his given name, Samuel Leibowitz.” Not everyone is a fan of Stewart, however. What has Donald Trump tweeted about the comedian?

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart at Stand Up For Heroes bslgckgc is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A. “Jon Stewart doesn’t like how I eat pizza. Like I care. You know what, Jon Stewart? Wait til you see how I eat a corned beef sandwich. With mayo on white bread! What do you think of that, you self-hating little Jew?”

B. “I have more Jews in my family than he does. My daughter’s Jewish. My son-in-law’s Jewish. I didn’t ask for that, but I got it. Oy. You know what? I don’t mind. I like Jews. Except of course, Jon Stewart. Nothing likable about that Jew.”

C. “Everything was just fine in the Middle East until Jon Stewart and his socialist minions took power.”

D. “If Jon Stewart is so above it all & legit, why did he change his name from Jonathan Leibowitz? He should be proud of his heritage!”

E. “There are only two things that this country needs to do. Stop the Steal and Stop the Stewart.”

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Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in political trouble, as he once again was caught violating governmental COVID restrictions. Since the pandemic began, there have been numerous incidents where the Prime Minister and his staff were found to have been partying at his official residence. Among the latest revelations are that Johnson and his staff have held weekly “wine-time Fridays” throughout the pandemic, including right before the funeral of Prince Philip. Johnson has apologized for the incidents, dubbed Partygate, which are now part of an official investigation, but he has so far refused calls for his resignation. What did Prime Minister Johnson do recently that got negative reaction in the Jewish community?

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson by BackBoris2012 Campaign Team is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

APrime Minister Johnson was invited to speak on a Friday night at London’s historic Central Synagogue. As Johnson spoke from the bima following services, his cellphone rang, which he proceeded to answer mid-speech. Congregants were stunned to hear him say into the phone, “I can’t speak now. I’m talking to the Jews.”

BAt a Chanukkah celebration sponsored by the Conservative Friends for Israel organization, Boris Johnson was presented a menorah, which he proceeded to wave in the air like a trophy, causing pieces of the menorah to go flying.

CPhotos were published last month in the tabloid newspaper The Daily Mirror showing Johnson and some friends and aides seated without masks at a table which was covered with wine bottles, dreidels and money. This Dreidelgate scandal has led to calls within the Jewish community for his resignation, especially since it was reported that Johnson took the entire pot after spinning a shin, claiming that COVID dreidel rules were the opposite of the regular rules of the game.

D. Johnson recently visited the Chassidic neighborhood of Stamford Hill in London. As he was walking through the area, he came upon a crowd of Chassidic men surrounding a young child sitting in a chair. The 3-year-old boy was about to get his first haircut at the upsherin ceremony, but Johnson yelled out, “Don’t do it. Look at me. I have pride in my long hair. Let that boy be like me, a bloody proud Englishman!”

EEd Miliband was the Leader of the Labour Party from 2010-2015. Miliband, son of Polish Jewish immigrants, was often at odds with Boris Johnson, who served as Mayor of London during that time. A tape recently emerged of Johnson speaking to his political advisors about Miliband in 2014, where he said, “I don’t like that shmegegge. I want to launch a campaign to get rid of him, but what shall I call it? By George–I think I’ve got it. Shmeg-exit! That’s what I’ll call it.”

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Eric Adams

Former policeman and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was recently installed as the new mayor of New York City. The inauguration traditionally takes place at noon on New Year’s Day. But because New Year’s Day was on a Saturday, Adams had rescheduled the ceremony to New Year’s night after the end of Shabbat to enable Jewish supporters to attend. Ultimately, however, Omicron led the city to cancel the large indoor ceremony, and Adams proceeded with a small outdoor event in Times Square on Friday night, New Year’s Eve, thus undoing Adams’s effort to accommodate the Jewish community. What else has Eric Adams done in his career to strengthen his ties to New York’s Jewish community?

New York City Mayor Eric Adams

Eastern Pkwy-Brooklyn Now ADA Accessible Museum bMetropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York is licensed under CC BY 2.0

AFollowing the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, then Brooklyn Borough President Adams announced that he would carry a gun whenever he visited a synagogue.

B. On the Sunday morning following his inauguration, Adams celebrated by visiting the Barney Greengrass deli, where he ordered the restaurant’s signature dish, Nova Scotia salmon scrambled with eggs and onion.

CDuring the Crown Heights riot of 1991, Eric Adams was a New York City policeman. He joined with Jewish members of the New York City Police Department to call for calm, and he expressly criticized Al Sharpton and other black leaders for their involvement in violent anti-Jewish marches through Crown Heights.

DLast month Mayor-elect Adams honored the Grand Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson by visiting the Chabad house in the Ghanian capital of Accra.

EFollowing his diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes in 2016, Adams adopted a plant-based diet and began to advocate for vegan and plant-based nutrition. As part of that effort he led the New York City Council to pass a resolution titled “Ban the Baloney,” calling on schools to stop serving processed meats. After being contacted by leaders of New York’s Orthodox community, he added a clause that still forbid Orthodox Day Schools from serving cold cuts, but allowed mothers to send sandwiches from home for their children, in what Adams called the “Mommies Send Salamis” rule.

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