Weekly Quiz

Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln sent a Jewish man, Issachar Zacharie, as an emissary to New Orleans to promote loyalty to the Union and to spy on Confederate troop movements. How did Lincoln know Zacharie?

AZacharie was an attorney who gave Lincoln his first job in Springfield in 1836 after Lincoln was admitted to the bar.

B. Zacharie was a banker who provided funding for Lincoln’s presidential campaign in 1860.

C. Zacharie was a barber who removed hair from Lincon’s face.

D. Zacharie was a podiatrist who removed corns from Lincoln’s feet.

E. Zacharie was a mohel who removed, well, you know what, from Lincoln’s sons Robert, Edward, William, and Thomas, a practice that was common among non-Jews as well as Jews.

Click here for the answer.

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A Quizbook of Presidential Jewish Trivia Facts & Fun

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The presidential campaign is heating up, and American Jews, like everyone else, are trying to learn as much as they can about the candidates. Every candidate has a Jewish connection, or maybe many Jewish connections.

  • Is Donald Trump going to stop Mexican rapists from crossing the Gaza border?

  • Will Mike Huckabee convert so he can wear a yarmulke over his bald spot?

  • Did Hillary Clinton offend Orthodox Jews by dressing like a man?

  • What did Lawrence Lessig smuggle into the Soviet Union in his pants (and who the heck is Lawrence Lessig?)

  • Does Jeb Bush have dreidel cred?

In RASHI, RAMBAM and PRESIDENTIAL-DINGDONG: A Quizbook of Presidential Jewish Trivia Facts & Fun, you’ll learn the answers to these and many more questions about the ridiculously large number of candidates for president and their connection to the Chosen People. Click here to learn more.

Ben Carson

When Ben Carson visited Israel for the first time in December 2014, he quizzed his guide about the Israeli system of government, asking “In the United States, we have Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. What do you have?” When the guide explained Israel’s parliamentary system in the Knesset, he asked “And what is the role of the Knesset?” After further explanation from the guide, Carson finally said what?

A. “So it’s the Knesset that makes the laws enabling Israelis to have guns. And because of that, Israel can stand up to its enemies. I respect that.”

BIt sounds logical. Maybe thats what the United States needs to ensure a government that works.”

CSo could a Muslim be elected the head of the Knesset? I've gotten in trouble for saying a Muslim shouldnt be president of the United States, but Ill say it now. I dont think a Muslim should be president of the Knesset either.”

DIt sounds complex. Why don’t they just adopt the system we have?”

EThats interesting. But did you know that I achieved fame by separating conjoined twins? And here I am in the land of King Solomon, whose claim to fame is that he suggested separating a baby into two to solve a dispute between two women. I separate babies and the King of Israel separates babies. Now surely that cant be a coincidence.”

Click here for the answer.


How did a Jew named Abraham Zacuto play a role in the saving of Christopher Columbus’s life?

ADuring the Inquisition, Jews were rounded up throughout Spain and given the choice to convert or be killed. But many non-Jews were swept up in these efforts, as well. Columbus was imprisoned in Seville in 1491 where Zacuto, a rabbi, was the leader of the Jewish community. Zacuto was able to convince the Inquisition authorities that Columbus was not Jewish, at which point he was freed.

B. Zacuto was a financier and banker for the Vatican in the late 1400’s during the papacy of Pope Innocent VIII. Columbus, who had been a trader sailing around the Mediterranean, was imprisoned by the Berbers on the North African coast and was at risk of being put to death because of claims that he had cheated local merchants. Zacuto, who knew Columbus’s family in Genoa where he was born, arranged to make a payment to Columbus’s captors, who then expelled him to Spain, where he made his connection with Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand.

CZacuto, an astronomer, prepared the astronomical charts which guided Columbus on his voyages. In 1502, Columbus and his crew were stranded off the Jamaican coast and in danger from the natives. Learning from the charts that a lunar eclipse was imminent, Columbus told the natives that if they did not cooperate with him, the moon would disappear from the sky. While they did not believe him at first, when the eclipse took place, the frightened natives relented and brought food to Columbus and his crew.

D. Zacuto was the doctor on Columbus’s second voyage to the New World in 1493. On the journey, Columbus took ill with dysentery, but he recovered with the help of herbs and potions provided by Zacuto.

E. Columbus and Zacuto were friends growing up in Genoa. Columbus attended Zacuto’s bar mitzvah, and at the party, Columbus suddenly choked on a meatball. Abie gave his friend Chris a whack on the back which popped the meatball out of his throat, saving Columbus from certain death and evoking a rousing “Mazel Tov” from the crowd. In appreciation, Columbus later named one of his ships after Zacuto’s mother, Penina.

Click here for the answer.

Shemini Atzeret

Jews worldwide are celebrating Shemini Atzeret by chanting the Tefilat Geshem, the prayer for rain. A group of Jewish witches in Northern California will gather in a sukkah built around a hot tub, while invoking Native American ancestors and the Canaanite storm and rain god Ba’al Hadad. What is this community of Jewish witches called?

AUnited Jewitch Appeal.

BThe Lubav-witches.

CThe Jewitch Agency.

DThe Pastrami Sand-witches.

EJewitch Camp.

Click here for the answer.

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