Weekly Quiz

Immigration Policy

Which famous person's ancestral path to America included Mexican and Jewish ancestry?

A. Actress/singer Lea Micheles father, Mark Sarfati, is a Sephardic Jew whose family originally came from Spain, later immigrating to Turkey, and finally to Mexico, where Mark married Leas mother, Edith, a Roman Catholic. They moved to the Bronx, where Lea was born in 1986. Though primarily raised Catholic, Michele told Us Magazine, “Ive always been proud of my body, my Jewish nose and all of that.”

BJournalist/talk show host Geraldo Rivera is the son of Lillian Friedman, whose ancestry is Ashkenazic Russian, and Cruz Rivera, a Catholic from Mexico. They met while both were working at a restaurant in New York, and moved to Long Island after marrying. Geraldo was raised Jewish and had a bar mitzvah, which took place at the North Lindenhurst Fire Department Hall because there was no nearby synagogue.

CMagician David Blaine was born in Brooklyn, the son of Patrice White and William Perez. Perez was half Mexican and half Italian, while White was of Russian Jewish descent. They met when White was working with the Peace Corps in the small village in Mexico where Perez lived. Blaine sports several tattoos, including the numbers that were branded on Primo Levis arm at Auschwitz.

D. Comedian/actor Louis C.K.s grandfather, Geza Székely Schweiger, was a Hungarian Jewish surgeon who immigrated to Mexico, where he married a Catholic Mexican woman and raised his son Luis as Catholic. Luis married an Irish Catholic woman, Mary, and they raised their son Louis as Catholic. Luis later divorced Mary and married a Jewish woman, and then he converted to Orthodox Judaism. Louis is now an agnostic.

EGeorge W. Bushs attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, famous for the memo that argued that waterboarding was not torture, was the grandson of Mel Blanc and Friz Frelang, both Jews who came from Vornerbradders in Poland. After they immigrated to Mexico, their daughter Ilana, known as Looney, married Arriba Speedy Gonzales, a Mexican Olympic runner, and their son Alberto was born in 1955.

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What distinction is held by journalist Maziar Bahari, whose story of captivity in an Iranian prison is told in the movie Rosewater, directed by Jon Stewart?

AThough Bahari is a non-practicing Muslim, his great-grandfather was Jewish, and he is a relative of Yosef Hamadani Cohen, the Chief Rabbi of Iran from 1994 until his death last March.

B. He was the Sandek (godfather) at the bris of Jon Stewart's son Nathan in 2004.

C. Bahari, who is from Iran, is married to a Jewish Iranian woman whose family fled Iran after the overthrow of the Shah in 1979 and moved to Canada, where they met when he was a reporter for Newsweek magazine.

DIn Tehran in 1979, he played Tevye in a middle school production of Fiddler on the Roof, the last time this show was produced in Iran. After the overthrow of the Shah, Fiddler was banned as Zionist propaganda by the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, a ban that remains in effect to this day.

E. In 1995, he directed the documentary film The Voyage of the St. Louis about the Jewish refugee ship that was turned away from American shores in 1939, the first Holocaust movie ever made by a Muslim.

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The Congressional Elections

Lee Zeldin, who defeated incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop from the East End of Long Island, will be the only Jewish Republican in Congress next year. What did Zeldin say in recognition of that fact?

AIn an interview with the editor of the Jewish Press, he said, “I believe that the Jewish community is beginning to understand that the Democratic Party is no longer a place where they can feel comfortable. I intend to work with other Jewish Republicans in the 2016 election, with a goal of greatly increasing the conservative Jewish voice in Congress.”

B. In a phone call with leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, he said,  "I will make it my highest priority to ensure that the Obama administration changes its tune in regard to Israel, our democratic ally in the Middle East.”

C. With a goal of becoming a bridge between Jews in the Republican and Democratic parties, he told the New York Times, “I’ve had the experience where I would go into a temple, and I may know the secret handshake, I may have been bar mitzvahed down the street, but there would be people who didn’t care about a single word coming out of my mouth because I was a registered Republican.”

DOn a congratulatory phone call that he received from Eric Cantor, the former Congressman who previously was the only Jewish Republican in Congress, he said, “I am proud to share this distinction with you, and together, I am sure that we can ensure that in 2016, no one will be able to make that claim again.”

E. To a reporter for Newsday on election night he said, “Really? There are no other Jews? Does that mean I get to be president of the Republican Jewish Caucus?”

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Daylight Savings Time

What problem arose in Israel this year in regard to Daylight Savings Time?

ABecause the ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) community does not support the concept of Daylight Savings Time, which impacts the start and end times of Shabbat and holidays, leaders of their community chose to totally ignore the time change. Among other issues, they blocked buses from entering their neighborhoods on Friday afternoon as their Shabbat beginning time was an hour earlier than the official time, and many Haredi Jews showed up late for work, as their scheduled time for morning minyan was later than that of the rest of the religious community.

B. Israel's Daylight Savings Time schedule aligns with the schedule of the European Union. This year, the change came on Yom Kippur, causing the holiday to last an additional hour. Hundreds of Israelis fainted from the lack of food over the extended fast, while others angered their rabbis by breaking the fast an hour early.

C. No problem arose, as Israel does not switch to Daylight Savings Time.

D. For the first time this year, Israel aligned the country's Daylight Savings Time schedule with that of Europe, meaning that the clocks would be turned back an hour on October 25, rather than on a date right after the Fall holidays as in previous years. Golan Telecom failed to implement that change in their system, so their customers’ cellphones all changed time a month ago, causing many people's cell phone alarms to go off an hour late, resulting in missed appointments, late arrival at work, and massive confusion throughout the country.

E. Many Israeli clocks have Hebrew letters rather than Arabic numerals, and these clocks rotate counter-clockwise (like reading Hebrew from right to left). Therefore, many people who were instructed to turn their clocks backward did not know if they should in fact move their clocks forward. Meanwhile, the ultra-Orthodox refused to participate in Daylight Savings Time, the Arab community moved their clocks backward two hours to align with Daylight Time in Egypt, and the Catholic community moved their clocks forward two hours to align with Vatican time, thus leading to total chaos as everyone in the country was on a different time.

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