Weekly Quiz

David Letterman

In what context did David Letterman recently speak about his son Harry and a bar mitzvah?

A. Letterman was one of the presenters at a recent event at Lincoln Center benefiting children with cancer. He told the audience about a drive he took with Harry from their home in upstate New York to Manhattan during a huge snow storm. Harry complained that he needed to use the bathroom. Explained Letterman, “Having to go to the bathroom at that level weve all experienced, he did so while we were inching along in traffic in a blinding blizzard—in my coffee thermos. Thats when I said to him, ‘Son, you dont need a bar mitzvah. Today, you are a man.’ ”

B. While television viewers saw Letterman introduce his wife and son on his last Late Show broadcast, prior to the show he brought them onto the stage. At that time, the audience cheered wildly for Harry, who looked a bit overwhelmed by the attention. When the audience finally stopped clapping, Letterman said to his son, “Gee, Harry. Now you don’t need a bar mitzvah. This is even better than being called to the Torah.”

CAs he approached his pending retirement, Letterman gave an interview to his hometown Indianapolis Star newspaper. Said Letterman, “I’m not sure why I decided that now is the right time to retire. But in 2012 I went with Harry and Regina to the bar mitzvah of Paul Shaffers son Will, and I was reminded how quickly these kids grow up. I mean, I remember when Will was born like it was yesterday. So here he is, a young boy standing in front of a huge crowd, and the rabbi tells him, ‘Today you are a man.’ And I'm thinking, wow, and I start picturing little Harry as a young man. And I figure, hey, if I don’t want Harry to only remember me as a doddering old fool rocking on the front porch, I better be sure to be in his life while I’m still not drooling. So maybe that’s why I started thinking about retirement. After all, isn’t family what really matters?”

DThe category of one of Lettermans last Top Ten lists was Places I Might Be Seen After I Retire. In addition to choices such as “Back at the Taco Bell drive-thru” and “Doing a commercial for Hair Club for Men,” he also included “Earning a little extra gelt by presenting Top Ten lists at the bar mitzvahs of my son Harry’s Jewish friends.”

EIn an interview with the New York Times, Dave was talking about his beginnings in show business. “When I was growing up, my dad used to do magic tricks. Nothing fancy–just pulling coins out of my ear and stuff like that. But I thought it was amazing. And of course, his name was Harry, and he taught me about the great magicians he followed–Harry Houdini and Harry Blackstone. I got pretty good at some basic tricks, and started performing at children’s parties when I was in junior high. Now, it’s over 50 years later, and I’ve taught my son Harry some of the same tricks. And the timing’s great, because while I’m retiring, he just got his first job. He’ll be doing tricks for the guests at his friend Josh’s bar mitzvah in a couple of weeks. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be the next famous magician named Harry!”

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Mad Men

In the Mad Men pilot, Roger Sterling asks Don Draper if their advertising firm has ever hired any Jews. “Not on my watch,” replies Don. When Roger explains that they have a meeting with potential clients who are Jewish (from Menken's Department Store), what does Don reply?

Mad Men logo

A. “Really? Is that the only way we can do business with those people?”

B. “You want me to run down to the deli and grab somebody?” 

C. “They’re not selling knishes, Roger. They’re selling dresses. You don’t need a Jew. You just need me.”

D. “So introduce me as Don Dreyfuss. Just because I don’t have a big nose doesn’t mean I can’t be Jewish.”

E. “The client is Jewish, so you think we should bring along a Jew? What a stupid idea, Roger. Az Got hot geteylt dem seykhl bistu geshlofn.” [When God was doling out brains, you were asleep.]

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Deflategate Redux

Our weekly quiz visited the New England Patriots Deflategate scandal when it first broke last January. But as this story again rears its ugly head (well, actually, Tom Brady’s got a pretty good-looking head), we’re happy to return to the topic this week. To read our January Deflategate question, click here.

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New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich visited Tom Brady prior to this year’s Super Bowl to interview him for an article. Leibovich noticed that there was a Chanukkah menorah on a shelf in Brady’s house. When he asked Brady about it, what was Tom's response?

A. “When I was first drafted by the Patriots in 2000, I attended the annual Patriots Fans Chanukkah party that [team owner] Mr. Kraft sponsored. He explained the meaning of the holiday, and being the teams fourth string quarterback at the time, I took inspiration, that the underdogs could ultimately triumph. Mr. Kraft gave me the menorah that they used that day, and I have treasured it as a reminder of that message ever since.”

BIt has been reported that it is more probable than not that I was at least generally aware of this menorah. But I don't have really any comment. It's only been there for 30 hours so I havent had much time to digest it fully but when I do I’ll be sure to let you know how I feel about it.”

CWere not Jewish, but I think were into everything...I dont know what I believe. I think theres a belief system, Im just not sure what it is.”

DIm not Jewish. But Gisele [Bündchen, Bradys supermodel wife] is. Her family fled Germany before World War II and settled in Brazil. This menorah is the only religious object they were able to bring with them, so it is very meaningful to us both.”

EI believe that you should do everything you can do to give yourself an advantage in the game. So if that means praying to all the gods who might help, I’m in favor. That menorah is just one path I follow. I also have a Kwanzaa kinara, a cross, a statue of Buddha, and a Koran. And when people criticize me because of this, I get mad, but then I just let the angry feelings deflate, because deflating is surely the best course of action if I want to win.”

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Kentucky Derby

What is the Jewish connection to this year's Kentucky Derby?

A. The winning horse, American Pharoah, is owned by Ahmed Zayat, a Coptic Christian from Egypt. Zayat, the CEO of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation in the 1980’s, was responsible for negotiating with Israels Energy and Water Resources Minister Yitzhak Berman for the sale of Egyptian oil to Israel after the two countries signed a peace treaty. In 1997, Zayat sold his interest in the Egyptian oil company and moved to America, where he connected with Bermans son Moti, who was then Chief Financial Officer at Calumet Farms in Lexington, Kentucky. Through this association, Zayat purchased his first race horse from Calumet in 1999, and in this years Kentucky Derby, three of his horses competed (along with American Pharoah were El Kabeir and Mr. Z).

B. Because the Kentucky Derby is held on Saturday, this year the Chabad of Louisville decided to make it easier for religious Jews to attend the race. They opened their Chabad House, which is located only a mile from Churchill Downs, to Jewish visitors, offering kosher meals and rooms to sleep within walking distance of the race.

CThe winning horse, American Pharoah, is owned by Ahmed Zayat, an Orthodox Jew from Egypt who made his initial fortune by selling the beverage company he owned in Egypt to Heineken International. As a teenager in Egypt, Zayat competed in jumping events, leading to his passion for horses. He now owns approximately 200 horses, with American Pharoah being his first Kentucky Derby winner.

DKentucky Derby entrant (and 14th place finisher) Ocho Ocho Ocho is owned by oil magnate Marco Mendoza, a Jew whose ancestors emigrated from Spain to Mexico at the time of the Inquisition. Marcos son Raphael was born on the evening of December 8, 2012. As a result, his bris, when he was 8 days old, was performed on December 16, 2012, which was the 8th day of Chanukkah. In honor of this, Mendoza named the race horse he had recently purchased Ocho Ocho Ocho.

E. The winning horse, American Pharoah, is owned by Ahmed Zayat, a Muslim from Egypt. After emigrating to America, he was invited by friends to their Passover seder. When Zayat heard about Moses telling Pharaoh to “let my people go,” he decided to name his horse American Pharoah, saying, “I asked Allah to ‘let my horsie go’ very fast in the Kentucky Derby. My prayers were granted.”

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