Test your 2014 Jewish news knowledge


What made headlines (in Israel, the U.S. and around the world) in 2014? Test your knowledge with JTA’s annual news quiz:

1. Palestinian officials apologized to Czech authorities after the Palestinian envoy to Prague, Jamal Al-Jamal, was killed in an explosion in his home because:

a) a cache of illegal weapons was discovered there.

b) the explosion damaged a historic Czech cemetery.


c) the ambassador’s residence was being used by Palestinian militants as a safe house.

d) Yasser Arafat’s widow, Suha, blamed the explosion on the Czech government.

2. SAR, an Orthodox Jewish high school in New York, stirred controversy in January with a new policy that:

a) required boys’ yarmulkes to be at least four inches in diameter.

b) omitted some of the racier parts of the Bible from Torah classes.

c) permitted girls to wear tefillin during morning prayer services.

d) required girls’ dance performances to take place in the dark, under ultraviolet light.

3. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, speaking at the Israeli-American Council Conference in Washington in November, surprised audience members when he:

a) called his wife, Miriam, to the stage to wish her a happy anniversary.

b) suggested that Israel need not be a democracy.

c) detailed a recent 30-minute call with President Barack Obama.

d) admitted to coloring his hair.

4. Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported what about Israeli eating habits this year?

a) Shwarma had overtaken falafel as the nation’s most popular fast food.

b) Per capita annual hummus consumption had reached a record 19.3 kilograms – more than 42 pounds.

c) The number of vegetarians and vegans had more than doubled over the previous four years.

d) The average Israeli daily caloric intake had grown by a startling 7 percent over the previous decade.

5. Which of the following did NOT occur in 2014?

a) A Jordanian teen named Yitzhak Rabin was granted Israeli citizenship and became eligible to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces.

b) The Yesha Council, the umbrella body for the West Bank settlement movement, launched a website satirizing attempts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

c) A flight carrying 20 Israeli passengers made an emergency landing in Tehran.

d) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, after being convicted of criminal charges and sentenced to prison, was caught trying to flee Israel for New York.

6. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow set the Internet abuzz in December when she:

a) shared her recipes for pistachio macaroons on her popular lifestyle website, Goop.

b) showed up at the White House Hanukkah party.

c) took her daughter, Apple, to a public candle-lighting ceremony in London’s Trafalgar Square.

d) Told ABC News that she was studying Hebrew with a private tutor.

7. California’s Rialto Unified School District came under fire this spring when it asked eighth-graders studying Anne Frank’s diary to write an essay arguing:

a) whether or not the diary actually was written by Anne or her father, Otto.

b) whether illness or Nazi brutality ultimately was responsible for Anne’s death.

c) whether the Holocaust was an actual historical event or merely a political scheme created to influence public opinion

and gain wealth.

d) whether or not Americans should shelter Mexican immigrants in America.

8. During Israel’s conflict in Gaza this summer, Europe saw a wave of anti-Semitic violence. In the United States, incidents were more a battle of commentary, slogans and demonstrations. However, there were some cases of anti-Semitic vandalism. Which of the following took place in the U.S.? 

a) an Orthodox synagogue in North Miami Beach, Fla., found a swastika and the word Hamas scrawled on the outside of the building. 

b) Pro-Palestinian graffiti was sprayed on a Chabad center in Las Vegas and on an Orthodox synagogue in Lowell, Mass. 

c) leaflets threatening the Jewish community were left on car windshield in Chicago

d) all of the above. 

9. The late Cardinal John O’Connor, who died in 2000, made news this year when it turned out that:

a) he technically was Jewish according to halachah.

b) he served a stint in the Hitler Youth.

c) he told President Bill Clinton, in 1993, that Plo Chairman Yasser Arafat could not be trusted.

d) he urged the Catholic Church to sell off its property in the Galilee.

10. Which of the following was NOT among the findings of the Anti-Defamation League’s first global anti-Semitism survey, released in May?

a) The least anti-Semitic country overall is Laos.

b) The least anti-Semitic Middle East country is Iran.

c) One of the ADL’s measures of anti-Semitism was if respondents agreed that Jews talk too much about what happened to them during the Holocaust.

d) Britain is the most anti-Semitic country in Europe.

11. Rabbi Brant Rosen made news this summer when he announced that he would be leaving his pulpit position at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Ill., after 17 years because:

a) he wanted to focus on work helping the poor.

b) his outspoken criticism of Israel had become too divisive for his congregation.

c) his support for interfaith marriage was problematic.

d) he was offered a job at Google

12. Rabbi Marc Schneier of The Hampton Synagogue announced an initiative challenging U.S. Jews to increase their commitment to Israel by:

a) making Israel their next vacation destination.

b) attending the synagogue’s annual white-tie gala, proceeds from which benefit medical equipment in Israel.

c) buying a luxury condo in a Tel Aviv suburb.

d) subscribing to an Israeli newspaper. 

13. Rabbi Jeffrey Fox, the head of Yeshivat Maharat, an Orthodox yeshiva for women in New York, made headlines this fall when he argued that:

a) women should be able to read from the Torah at the Western Wall.

b) male rabbis shouldn’t be in the mikvah room for female converts’ ritual immersions.

c) Israel should recognize conversions performed by Conservative rabbis.

d) mechitzah barriers need only be chest high.

14. In his speech in September to the U.N. General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “To say that Iran doesn’t practice terrorism is like saying …”

a) Jay Leno has a small chin.

b) Beyonce doesn’t know how to sing.

c) Kim Kardashian is shy in front of a camera.

d) Derek Jeter never played shortstop for the New York Yankees.

15. Lee Zeldin, the only Jewish Republican in the incoming Congress, defeated incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop in part by hammering away at an ethics charge. What did Bishop, whose district covers eastern Long Island, allegedly do?

a) used his clout to pay off-peak fares during peak hours on the Long Island Rail Road.

b) under the synonym Charlie Golightly, was a paid consultant to Showtime’s adultery sizzler “The Affair.”

c) helped close Entenmanns’ Long Island factory with constant demands for batches of original recipe chocolate chip cookies.

d) brokered a permit for a fireworks display at a constituent’s bar mitzvah in exchange for a $5,000 donation to his campaign.

16. Two Israeli Air Force combat pilots were sentenced to jail and 12 others were disciplined in February for using their smartphones to:

a) post selfies from the cockpit of their F-16s.

b) check their email during flight missions.

c) use their phones to store classified information.

d) check Google Earth to make sure they weren’t straying into enemy territory. 

17. New York’s Sen. Charles Schumer wants Israel to lower its tariffs on:

a) hummus

b) Bamba

c) grape juice

d) Chevrolets

18. Which of the following pejoratives were NOT reportedly exchanged between Obama and Netanyahu government officials in 2014?

a) chickensh*t

b) goyishe kopf

c) messianic

d) terrorist


1. A;  2. C;  3. B;  4. C;  5. D;  6. B;  7. C;  8. D;  9. A;  10. D;  11. B;  12. C;  13. B;  14. D;  15. D;  16. C;  17. C;  18. B.