Weekly Quiz

James Corden

Last night, talk show host James Corden hosted the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Corden often performs comic sketches on his program, The Late Late Show. What Jewish-themed sketch did Corden once perform?

Comedian James Corden arrives at Number 10 Downing Street to interview Prime Minister David Cameron by Andy Thornley is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A. Corden’s most popular show segment is Carpool Karaoke, where he drives through Los Angeles with celebrities such as Stevie Wonder, Justin Bieber, and Adele, as they sing along with the music in his CD player. Corden did a special taping of Carpool Karaoke with Rabbi Nossom Steinsaltz of the West Hollywood Jewish Community Chabad which aired on the Chabad Telethon during Chanukkah, 2016. Corden and the rabbi sang niggunim, Hava Nagilah, and Adam Sandler’s The Hanukkah Song.

B. One of Corden’s regular bits on The Late Late Show is Crosswalk the Musical, where Corden and a large cast of musical theater performers put on a show in a busy Hollywood intersection, running into the middle of traffic at a red light and rushing to the sidewalk as the light changes. Corden recently performed as Tevye in a Crosswalk the Musical version of Fiddler on the Roof, alongside Seth Rogen as Golde. The taping was halted when the milk cow which Corden was leading into the intersection took off down Hollywood Blvd.

CCorden has a regular feature called Take A Break, where he enables someone to take a break from their job as Corden steps in. He recently gave some time off to the assistant rabbi at the Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles. Corden, wearing a yarmulke, assisted senior rabbi Kenneth Chasen at a bar mitzvah ceremony. After Rabbi Chasen offered the priestly blessing, Corden danced the hora on the bima with the bar mitzvah boy and his parents. He also sang the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah, with rewritten lyrics: Now, I've heard there was a secret chord/That David played, and it pleased the Lord/But you don't really care for music, do you?/But now that I’m here at your bar mitz/Let’s sing some Matisyahu hits/Jewy carpool karaoke, hallelujah.

D. As part of the show’s Take A Break feature, Corden once gave a break to a worker at the Western Kosher supermarket in Los Angeles. Corden assisted the butcher in slicing steaks from a side of beef, he worked the cash register, drove a fork life, and destroyed  his wife’s credit card with the meat slicer. He also managed to get an invitation to Shabbos dinner from a store patron.

EAs part of the Take A Break segment of the show, Corden gave a break to a mohel and showed up at the home of the family of a newborn son. Corden, who was wearing a black coat and hat and a long fake beard, was moments away from performing the circumcision, when the real mohel returned from the break just in time to stop Corden from proceeding, much to the delight of all assembled (especially the 8-day-old boy).

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James Franco

Actor James Franco has been in the headlines following his appearance at the Golden Globe Awards, where he won the Best Actor prize and wore a Time’s Up pin in support of women who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace. After the show, a number of women accused Franco of improper sexual behavior. Franco, who is Jewish, celebrated his bar mitzvah in 2015, at a ceremony, party, and Alzheimer’s fundraiser. Which of the following took place at Franco’s bar mitzvah?

ASeth Rogen, dressed as Tevye, sang a version of the song Tradition.

B. Miley Cyrus, wearing a Shalom Y’all cape, performed with a band, under the name Miley Cyrustein & The Super Jews.

CFranco read from the Torah.

DFranco underwent a fake circumcision led by Jeff Goldblum.

EFranco underwent a real circumcision led by Jeff Goldblum.

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Yair Netanyahu

Yair Netanyahu, son of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is in the news as audio tapes have emerged of the younger Netanyahu’s drunken misogynistic banter, talk of prostitutes, and comments indicating that his father was involved in corrupt financial dealings with Yair’s friend’s father, the tycoon Kobi Maimon. Yair Netanyahu has received negative publicity in the past as well, including which of the following incidents?

Benjamin Netanyahu - Caricature by DonkeyHotey is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A. Following Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election as prime minister in 2015, Yair Netanyahu missed a scheduled photo shoot where official pictures of the prime minister and his family were to be taken. A photo posted on Facebook showed Yair drinking in a nearby bar with friends at that time.

BWhen walking the family dog, Kaiya, in a local park, Yair Netanyahu was called out by a neighbor for not picking up after the dog. Netanyahu responded with an obscene gesture.

C. When Yair Netanyahu’s army unit was climbing Masada for a memorial day observance, he chose to ascend via the aerial tramway with his assigned security detail. It is reported that he said “I am Bibi’s son. I do not walk up mountains. I only ride.”

DFollowing an online post entitled Five things that you didn’t know about the heir to the throne, Yair Netanyahu, Netanyahu replied with a rant which included disparaging comments about the sons of former Israeli prime ministers Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert, and Ariel Sharon, followed by obscene emojis.

EWhen Yair was in day camp, he got in trouble for yelling Amster-Amster-Dam-Dam-Dam when other children knew that you must not say that naughty word.

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The East Coast and New England are still recovering from last week’s bombogenesis storm, a term which sounds biblical, though its roots are actually not from the Old Testament. Bombogenesis refers to an intense storm which results from a drop in barometric pressure of at least 24 millibars within 24 hours. Which of the following weather terms has a derivation related to the Old Testament and biblical times?

130209 Bombogenesis (10) by Justin Brockie is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

ABows of Promise. This is another name for rainbows, which comes from Genesis, Chapter 9, where a rainbow appears as a sign of God’s covenant with Noah and his descendants after the great flood.

BSt. Elmo’s Fire. This weather phenomenon occurs in thunderstorms when the ground is electrically charged and high voltage is in the air, leading to air molecules tearing apart and glowing. St. Elmo was one of Jesus’s disciples, but he was originally mentioned in the Book of Chronicles, the final book of Ketuvim, which detailed the history of the Jewish people from the story of Adam until the time of the Temple. Elmo, whose Hebrew name was Eliam, was one of the priests in the Temple until he, along with Simon, traveled to the Galilee where they began to follow Jesus and his ministry.

CMessenger. A messenger is a single sunbeam which streams down through the clouds. The reference is to Jacob’s dream in Genesis, Chapter 28, where he sees a staircase leading up to the heavens, upon which angels were ascending and descending.

DClouds of Job. This refers to low-level clouds, typically below 6500 feet. The name comes from the Book of Job, Chapter 20, verse 6 & 7, which reads, “Though his excellency [the Assyrian monarch] mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung.”

EAutumn Exodus. A weather phenomenon wherein the temperature in New York drops below 65°, usually in the late Fall. As a result, elderly Jews feel this cold front, leading to rapidly rising pressure, tropical depression, and haze. The seniors then join the jet stream out of Kennedy Airport, shooting through the ozone hole, and traveling in a southeasterly direction, finally converging on a warm front in southern Florida surrounded by a blizzard of snow birds.

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Pacific Islands and Jews

Of the nine votes cast against the United Nations resolution opposing President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, four were cast by small Pacific island nations: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, and Palau. What Jewish presence can be found within these small countries?

Palau_2008030818_4749 by LuxTonnerre is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

AThe Barracuda Bar and Restaurant in Palau is owned by Israelis. The menu, which offers sashimi, calamari rings, and fish carpaccio, also includes lentil soup and chicken soup.

BThe Marshall Islands comprises over 1100 islands and islets, including the Bikini Atoll, the site of multiple nuclear test detonations by the United States between 1946 and 1958. There is a continuing presence of researchers who are studying the contamination effects of the bombings. Among the researchers is a team from the Department of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

CChabad of the Marshall Islands offers kosher meals to Jewish tourists who visit these island nations for beach, diving, and surfing vacations.

DThe founder and president of the Micronesia Shark Foundation is an Israeli.

EPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently purchased a house in Nauru, shortly after reports of his imminent indictment on corruption charges.

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