This Week’s Jewish Trivia Quiz: Sukkot 5782


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Mark D. Zimmerman, Special to the Jewish Light

The holiday of Sukkot began last Monday night, and continues for the next two days, ending with Shemini Atzeret on Tuesday and Simchat Torah on Wednesday. The holiday commemorates the time the Israelites spent in the desert, living in flimsy portable booths, and is also a harvest festival. What athlete, actor, celebrity or other famous person was in the news this past week because of Sukkot?

A. Mayim Bialik, who is Orthodox, is currently hosting Jeopardy as they continue their search for a permanent host. Five shows are taped in one day, covering an entire week of broadcasts. Taping is usually done on a Tuesday, but because the first day of Sukkot was last Tuesday, taping was switched to Monday instead to accommodate her holiday celebration.

B. An Orthodox Jewish baseball player, pitcher Elie Kligman, was drafted by the Washington Nationals this summer. The team knew that he would not work on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, or on Jewish holidays. The pitching coach used a calendar that listed Sukkot as being last Tuesday, and though the coach knew that Jewish holidays ended at sundown, he did not realize that in Orthodox Judaism, this holiday continued on for another evening and day. Kligman had assumed they correctly knew the schedule and only learned at the last minute that he was slated to pitch on Tuesday evening. The team was able to bring in a different pitcher for that game.

C. Vice President Kamala Harris and her Jewish husband, Doug Emhoff, hosted the first ever dinner in a sukkah held at Blair House, where the Vice President and her family are living. The sukkah, built in the courtyard behind the residence, was erected under the leadership of Chabad Rabbi Levi Shemtov, who also oversaw the building of the first-ever sukkah at the White House in 2019.

D. Following the success of Saturday Night Seder, held last April to raise money to fight the COVID pandemic and co-produced by Beanie Feldstein, the actor/singer just hosted a follow up program, Saturday Night Sukkah. The broadcast, available on YouTube, Facebook, and many other online services, brought together numerous celebrities, Jewish and not, to perform and raise additional funds. Performers included Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eugene and Dan Levy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mayim Bialik, and Feldstein’s brother Jonah Hill, and the event has already raised more than $2 million.

E. NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal noted in a video that was shared on Twitter that Sukkot was his favorite Jewish holiday. Tweeted O’Neal, “You know why? Because we all go out and live in shacks.”

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