Weekly Quiz

The Beatles

The Beatles are once again in the news, as they have finally allowed their music to be streamed on such music services as Spotify and Apple Music. What was the Jewish connection to the Cavern, the Liverpool nightclub where the Beatles performed regularly at the start of their career?

Photo credit: MEDIODESCOCIDO via Foter.com / CC BY

AThe Cavern was originally opened by the Jewish Labour Movement organization as a club for young Jewish teens to socialize. The food served was kosher, and the club was closed on Friday nights, only reopening on Saturday night after sundown. The underground club was named The Machpelah, referencing the Biblical Cave of Machpelah, the burial place of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs. The club was later sold to local businessmen who converted it into a music club and renamed it the Cavern in homage to its original name.

BThe Cavern was owned by a Jew, Alan Sytner. Sytner, a member of the Greenbank Drive Synagogue (where Brian Epstein’s family were members), knew that many local Jews kept kosher. Therefore, he allowed them to just buy pastries and coffee at the Cavern’s cafe, rather than the full meals that patrons usually had to purchase.

CThe Cavern was originally an air raid shelter, built during World War II. From 1940 until the end of the war, the space was used on Saturday mornings as a synagogue by the Jews of Liverpool. Among its members were Harry and Queenie Epstein, parents of Brian Epstein, who went on to manage the Beatles career and rise to stardom.

DThe Cavern was located around the corner from the Greenbank Drive Synagogue, where Brian Epstein’s family were members. On Kol Nidre night in 1961, Brian snuck out of services, where he never really felt comfortable, and went to the Cavern to hear music. This was where he discovered the Beatles, who were performing that night, and he eventually went on to manage the group.

E. The Cavern was owned by a Jew named Alan Sytner. In 1958, he hosted his son’s Bar Mitzvah party at the club and hired the Quarrymen, a regular club act, to play at the affair. The Quarrymen consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Shotton. At the party, Lennon spontaneously started singing a ditty he made up on the spot: “As I read this Torah, Send my blessings to you. Remember that I’ll always be in love with Jews.” Four years later the Beatles recorded the reconfigured “P. S. I Love You.”

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The Force Awakens

What did Mike Zof, an Israeli DJ and bar owner, do to celebrate the opening of the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, in Israel?

Star Wars

Star Wars Rebels”is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

AZof’s bar, located in Petach Tikva, is across the street from the local movie theater that is showing The Force Awakens. Fans camped out in line by the theater for three days prior to the opening. Zof kept his bar open around the clock, providing music, food and drinks, and use of bathroom facilities.

BZof hosted a Star Wars-themed party at his bar, based on the Mos Eisley Cantina bar scene from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Anyone dressing as a Star Wars character received a discount on drinks, and all of the previous Star Wars movies were playing on the large screen televisions that usually broadcast soccer matches. The highlight of the event, however, was the appearance of Israeli-born Natalie Portman, who starred as Padmé Amidala in three previous Star Wars movies.

CZof rented out an entire movie theater in Petach Tikva for his own personal showing of the film. To avoid conflicting with the Sabbath, films in Israel generally open on Thursday rather than Friday as they do elsewhere. Therefore, The Force Awakens opened a day earlier in Israel than elsewhere, enabling Zof to be one of the first people in the world to see the flick.

D. Zof’s son’s bar mitzvah had long before been scheduled to take place on December 19. When Zof, a huge Star Wars fan, learned that the movie was opening at the same time, he rented out a movie theater and moved the bar mitzvah there. The ceremony took place in the theater, followed by a showing of The Force Awakens. After the movie, Zof’s son offered a d’var Torah comparing the theme of Vayigash, where Joseph reunites with his brothers and asks “Is my father still alive,” with the movie theme, wherein the Resistance, a military force led by Leia Organa, searches for her missing brother Luke Skywalker.

E. Zof created a new drink in honor of the movie, which he offered for free to anyone who showed a ticket receipt from a viewing of The Force Awakens. Over the first weekend of the movie’s release, Zof gave away more than 1000 of the drinks, which he calls the Darth 'n' Storm-trooper-y.

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COP21 Climate Conference

What did Yosef Abramowitz, CEO of Energiya Global and a pioneer of the Israeli solar energy industry, say at COP21, the global climate change conference?

A“Because it is Chanukkah, I’m expecting a miracle of renewable light and that the deal will actually be done.”

B“While we Jews may be better than anyone in coaxing more energy out of limited oil, as we are reminded during this week of Chanukkah, I hope that going forward we will refocus on the never-ending resources of the sun above rather than the rapidly shrinking non-renewable energy sources below.”

C“Israel has survived and thrived for almost seven decades despite being the only country in this part of the world that is not sitting on top of vast oil fields. We have, by necessity, learned to maximize our oil and gas usage while expanding the use of solar energy to levels that far surpass all of our neighbors. We would welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and technology with our Arab neighbors so that this region can fulfill our obligations under the COP21 agreements.”

DMashiv haruach u’morid hageshem. God causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall. But even our rabbis recognize that the wind does not always blow, and the rain does not always fall, when and where the earth needs it. I am pleased to be a part of this world-wide effort to help God to do his job, what you might call our Climate Tikkun Olam.”

EI am proud to represent Israel at this conference. The Jewish people understand the problems of climate change. Remember–it is in our land that it rained, and poured, for forty daysies, daysies. Rained, and poured, for forty daysies, daysies. Nearly drove those animals crazy, crazy. Children of the Lord. But then the sun came out and dried up the landy, landy. Sun came out and dried up the landy, landy. Everything was fine and dandy, dandy. Children of the Lord.”

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Chanukkah Beer

For more Chanukkah trivia, get your free copy of

RASHI, RAMBAM and
CHANUKKAH-MADINGDONG

A Quizbook of Chanukkah Trivia Facts & Fun 

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Shmaltz Brewing Company offers a beer for Chanukkah. What is it called?

AShmuel Adams.

BChai-neken.

CLone Six Pointed Star.

DJudah Maccabeer.

EHanukkah, Chanukah: Pass the Beer.

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