2015 Jewish news quiz

Rabbis on stage at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College’s 2013 graduation ceremony. (Courtesy of RRC/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities)

By Uriel Heilman, JTA

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. 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


 4. 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


5. 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.


6. 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


7. 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


8. Which of the following did Israeli haredi 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


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

a. “Ida”

b. “Aya”

c. “Ima”

d. “Zuz!”


10. 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.”



1. a,  2. c,  3. c,  4. b,  5. a,  6. b,  7. c,  8. d,  9. a,  10. c