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The 2015 Jewish news quiz

 

(JTA) — Bernie Sanders, Jenna Jameson, criminal rabbis: Just how much do you know about the Jews and their goings-on in 2015? JTA has compiled 20 questions to test your knowledge of what went on in the Jewish world during the year that was.

 

1. Which U.S. Jewish religious denomination made which landmark decision this year?

a. The Reconstructionist movement allowed intermarried Jews to be ordained as rabbis.

b. The Renewal movement said it would rename itself in the wake of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi’s 2014 death.

c. The Conservative movement allowed so-called patrilineal Jews to read from the Torah.

d. The Satmar rebbe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said followers should not sport hipster-style beards.

 

2. Which celebrity-in-Israel news did NOT happen this year?

a. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian and husband rapper Kanye West baptized their daughter in Jerusalem’s Old City.

b. While atop a camel during his Israel visit, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman said, “Riding these horses here in Israel is a little different.”

c. On a visit to Tel Aviv, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters said, “You know, this place isn’t actually that bad.”

d. Singer Mariah Carey visited her boyfriend’s Israeli spiritual adviser to get his blessing to marry.

 

3. Which statement did Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., make during the presidential campaign?

a. “Last week I bought my second pair of underwear.”

b. “It’s true, Hillary probably uses more conditioner than I do.”

c. “I spent a year on an Israeli kibbutz in the Galilee, but I’m not sure that particular community still exists.”

d. “What do I think of Donald Trump? Do I have to talk about his hair?”

 

4. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court decided on the case of Menachem Zivotofsky. What was at issue?

a. Whether Orthodox Jews in the U.S. Navy had the right to keep their beards

b. Whether U.S. citizens injured in terrorist attacks in the West Bank could sue the Palestinian Authority

c. Whether U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem could list Israel as their country of birth

d. Whether Jews in solitary confinement in federal prisons are entitled to glatt kosher food

 

5. This summer, an iconic kosher brand ran a provocative ad campaign that was later pulled. Was it … ?

a. A Manischewitz campaign featuring scantily clad women pouring the sweet libation over their glistening bodies that ran with the tagline: “Yes, it’s sweet.”

b. An Osem campaign showing terrorists making the company’s famed soup nuts by assembling a huge yellow “nut” and then blowing it up

c. A Hebrew National campaign suggesting consumers grill up their hot dogs alongside bacon and clams

d. A Ben’s Deli billboard campaign suggesting the company’s signature pastrami sandwich was certified gluten-free

 

6. Why was American Jewish reggae star Matisyahu disinvited from a Spanish music festival?

a. For rebuffing a request that he not wear a yarmulke while onstage

b. For rebuffing a demand that he endorse Palestinian statehood

c. Because organizers learned he had performed in the West Bank

d. Because Chabad in Spain declared him persona non grata for quitting the movement

 

7. Which of the following was NOT among the findings about Jews in the Pew Research Center’s November survey on American religion?

a. Eighteen percent of Jews don’t drive on the Sabbath.

b. Eleven percent of Jews believe the Torah is the literal word of God.

c. Fifty-seven percent of Jews eat pork.

d. Thirty-nine percent of Jews experience deep feelings of spiritual peace and well-being at least once a week.

 

8. Which of the following statements was NOT made by a presidential candidate at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s forum in December?

a. “The definition [of kishka] is: ‘a beef or fowl intestine stuffed into a mixture as of flour, fat, onions and seasonings and roasted …’ and I thought, that’s the Republican campaign for the nomination!”

b. “Last night I was watching ‘Schindler’s List.’ Everybody here has seen ‘Schindler’s List.’”

c. “You want to control your own politician.”

d. “And the rabbi said: Who said big noses are a bad thing? A keen sense of smell is something to be celebrated. [laughter]”

 

9. Two Orthodox rabbis and eight others pleaded guilty in federal court this year to kidnapping and torturing men in an effort to coerce them to do what?

a. Donate money to a Brooklyn yeshiva

b. Drop a lawsuit against a prominent Orthodox rabbi accused of sexual abuse

c. Grant their estranged wives a get, or religious divorce

d. Use their cash-only kosher restaurant as a front to launder money

 

10. This year, a Spanish town was renamed from the offensive-sounding former name:

a. Elders of Zion

b. Kill Jews Town

c. Hitler’s Retreat

d. Jew Lake

 

11. What Jewish paraphernalia did Golden State Warriors guard and NBA champion Steph Curry reveal this year that he has?

a. A menorah

b. A mezuzah

c. A Hebrew tattoo

d. An Israeli-made Uzi

 

12. How did the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum offend some Jews this summer?

a. With an art installation featuring a video of naked men and women playing tag in a gas chamber

b. By being closed on Israeli Independence Day

c. By using cooling misting showers during a summertime heat wave that some visitors said reminded them of the death camp’s poison gas “showers”

d. By featuring photos so graphic that some said they actually dehumanized Nazi victims

 

13. Which of the following did Israeli hared Orthodox politicians say about Reform Jews this year?

a. They “portray Israel as Iran.”

b. They “stab Torah in the back.”

c. They’re “tearing apart the Jewish people”

d. All of the above

 

14. How did porn star Jenna Jameson NOT make Jewish news this year?

a. She converted to Judaism.

b. She got into a kosher food fight on a reality TV show.

c. She announced she’ll be a doing a reality TV show in Israel.

d. She was detained while trying to bring a Torah into the women’s section at the Western Wall.

 

15. Under a Law of Return-style bill passed in June by the Spanish legislature, what must Jews of Sephardic descent do to get Spanish citizenship?

a. Sign a notarized document forgiving King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella for expelling the Jews in 1492

b. Pass tests on the Spanish language and history

c. Travel to Spain and apply in person with pre-1492 residency documents

d. Take an oath of allegiance to the Spanish king

 

16. Which Jewish-themed film with a short title won an Oscar this year?

a. “Ida”

b. “Aya”

c. “Ima”

d. “Zuz!”

 

17. Which remark did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu NOT make in March, around the time of Israeli elections?

a. “Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls.”

b. “I think anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state and to evacuate territory is giving radical Islam a staging ground against the State of Israel.”

c. “Isaac Herzog is as suited to be prime minister of Israel as Tzipi Livni is to be queen of England.”

d. “I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution, but for that circumstances have to change.”

 

18. What did J Street do this year?

a. Elected a Muslim as president of its college arm.

b. Said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should use his speech to Congress in March to announce his resignation.

c. Reserved the Washington Convention Center for the weekend next March that AIPAC had planned to hold its conference there.

d. Welcomed Israeli Arab Knesset member Ayman Odeh to its national conference by seating him alongside a Palestinian flag.

 

19. Which of the following things did Donald Trump NOT cite in praise of his daughter, Ivanka?

a. She’s Jewish.

b. She’s a great businesswoman.

c. She makes the best matzah balls.

d. She’s so good looking, he can imagine dating her.

 

20. Which of the following is NOT a real explanation a Jewish member of Congress gave for supporting the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal?

a. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida cited her status as a Jewish mother.

b. Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida cited a Yiddish proverb, in Yiddish.

c. Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky cited a midrash about a chicken.

d. Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan cited memories of President Truman’s recognition of Israel.

 

 

 

ANSWER KEY:

  1. a
  2. c
  3. a
  4. c
  5. c
  6. b
  7. a
  8. d
  9. c
  10. b
  11. c
  12. c
  13. d
  14. d
  15. b
  16. a
  17. c
  18. a
  19. c
  20. c
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