Weekly Quiz

Confederate Battle Flag

When South Carolina seceded from the Union in 1860, a new “South Carolina Sovereignty Flag” was created under the leadership of William Porcher Miles, a member of the state secession convention. That flag, pictured below, then underwent changes in design, in part because of the critique of Charles Moise, a self-described “Southerner of Jewish persuasion.” What was Moise’s input?

Flag © By Emok (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

A. Moise complained that “the symbol of one particular religion should not be left out of the flag which will serve our new nation.” He noted that Christians were represented by the cross, Muslims by the crescent moon, and Quakers by the palm tree, but that there were no symbols representing Jews. As a result, Miles added a ram’s horn to the flag, which flew over the South Carolina capitol until the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox in 1865.

BMoise suggested that “the symbol of a particular religion not be made the symbol of the nation.” As a result, Miles changed the upright St. George’s cross to a diagonal heraldic saltire cross. Miles noted that this “avoided the religious objection about the cross (from the Jews and many Protestant sects), because it did not stand out so conspicuously as if the cross had been placed upright thus.” With the subsequent removal of the crescent moon and palmetto tree, the flag evolved into the Confederate Battle Flag which is currently in the news.

C. Moise suggested that “the symbol of a particular religion not be made the symbol of the nation.” As a result, Miles added the Christian fish and dove symbols to the flag and had “the heretic” Moise arrested and imprisoned for blaspheming the Christian sovereign state of South Carolina.

D. Moise suggested that “the symbol of a particular religion not be made the symbol of the nation.” As a result, Miles changed the large star in the middle of the flag from five-pointed to six-pointed, thus satisfying Moise’s request for a flag that represented Jews as well as Christians.

E. Moise said, “Billy. I know you think this flag design is nice, but trust me. This flag will never do. It’s way too ongepotchket. I mean, I get it. Yedeh mutter denkt ir kind iz shain [Every mother thinks her child is beautiful]. But oy vey iz mir, bubeleh. South Carolina needs this flag like it needs a loch in kop.”

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Climate Change

Pope Francis just issued a papal encyclical on the climate change crisis in which he states, “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” This follows a recent letter on the same topic which was initiated by Rabbi Arthur Waskow and six other rabbis from across the religious spectrum. Their letter, which has been signed by more than 350 other rabbis, refers to the Koch Brothers and others whose funding backs climate deniers using what phrase?

A. They are referred to as “Big Oil Carbon Pharaohs.”

B. They are referred to as Big Oil Carbon Shmendricks.”

CThey are referred to as Big Oil Carbon Hamans.”

DThey are referred to as “Big Oil Carbon Amaleks.”

EThey are referred to as “Big Oil Idiots Who Believe That Things Go Better With Koch.”

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Clinton Correctional Facility, Dannemora

Jamal Michael Barrow, a rapper from Belize who performed using the name Shyne, served 8 years at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York for attempted murder, assault, and reckless endangerment. His time there overlapped that of escaped killers Richard Matt and David Sweat. Unlike them, however, Shyne turned his life around in prison. How does he describe this life change?

AWhile in prison, Shyne became friends with a Chassidic Jew, Dovid Litvak, who was serving time for mail fraud. Litvak told Shyne about his beliefs, and how even though he personally had failed to uphold the commandments, that the God of the Jews was a forgiving God, and that Litvak had a community waiting to welcome him back when he returned. Said Shyne in a Vibe magazine article, “I saw the light and embraced that message. I was no longer just Shyne. I was Sunshyne. At that moment I changed my name to Shemesh, Hebrew for Sun, and committed myself to turning around my life.”

B. In prison, Shyne shared a cell with Solomon ben David, a member of the Commandment Keepers, which is a group of Black Hebrews who were inspired by Marcus Garvey as well as the Beta Israel, black Ethiopian Jews. Ben David convinced Shyne that blacks were the true descendants of the tribes of Israel, and he told Shyne that after jail, he could find a positive place for himself with the Commandment Keepers. Shyne moved to Harlem upon his release and is now studying to be a rabbi at the organization’s Israelite Rabbinical Academy.

CAccording to an interview Shyne gave to the Joy of Kosher magazine, “I didn’t know nothing about Jews, but the food in that jail was awful. I noticed this white guy with a long beard who got different food. It came wrapped in plastic on a tray, and he used to close his eyes, sing a song and start swaying every day before he ate. Then he just looked so happy. I got to know him, and found out he was Jewish. I asked how I could get some of that food, and he said they had to give it to him because of his religion. So I became a Jew and everything changed. I mean, man, those matzah balls are sooo chill.”

DIn an interview in Rolling Stone in 2013, Shyne said, “They have concerts at the prison, and this weird reggae dude named Matisyahu came and performed. I ain’t never seen nothing like that. I mean, this white guy had a long beard and crazy sideburns, but he sounded like he could’a been Marley. I talked to him and I said, hey man, when I get out of here, I’m gonna do what you do. Sure enough, I did, and in 2012 I performed Buffalo Soldier with him on his Spark Seeker album.”

E. Shyne, who changed his name while in prison to Moses Michael Levi to honor his Jewish grandmother, told the Jerusalem Post, “It was all through the grace of the kadosh baruch hu [the holy one, blessed is He]. I’m not a guy to wax religiosity, but when I was in jail, I got on my knees, I cried, I prayed. I said to Hashem, ‘Listen, I gotta get my album out. You can’t do this to me, You can’t send me back to the ghetto. You can’t do this to all the kids who are going to have their lives changed by my music. What do I gotta do?’ God replied, ‘Be a shomer brit [guardian of the covenant]’.”

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FIFA, soccer’s governing body, is in the midst of a huge organizational scandal. During the last FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil in 2014, what did the Israeli company Elbit Systems do to support the games?

AThey supplied kosher food for all of the Jewish athletes who were participating in the competition.

B. They sold the software to FIFA that was used to manage all aspects of the event, from ticket sales to financing to game statistics.

CThey developed a miniature video camera in partnership with GoPro, which was worn by team goalies, providing a view of the action from the net.

DThey provided hundreds of drones which were used by the Brazilian Air Force for defense and security at the soccer venues.

E. In line with FIFA’s way of doing business, they offered millions of dollars in bribes to get the hot dog concession at World Cup venues.

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Celebrate Israel Parade

Which of the following marched in the 2015 Celebrate Israel parade in New York City?

ASaint Brigades Drum & Bugle Corps, Kars 4 Kids, and The Amazing Juggling Mohelim.

B. Jordache, Areyvut Mitzvah Clowns, and Mr. Pickle.

CBushwackers Drum & Bugle Corps, Caucasian Jewish Congregation, and The Cheese Guy.

DGolem, Bi-Cultural Day School, and the Star of David Drum and Bagle Corps.

E. Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorino, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Mike Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker, all of whom carried signs declaring “I stand with Israel more than anyone else here and waaaay more than Obama.”

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