Quiz 1: Getting to know

This “Getting to know” quiz tests your knowledge on a wide range of Jewish topics. Let’s see how much you know!

1. What style of food do Jewish people traditionally prepare and eat?

A. Vegetarian

B. Halal

C. Kosher

D. Chinese

Answer: C
Kosher foods conform to the regulations of kashrut (Jewish dietary law). Non-kosher foods include those with ingredients derived from non-kosher animals (like non cloven-hooved animals that don’t chew the cud or fish without fins and scales) or from kosher animals that were not slaughtered in a ritually proper manner. This also includes: cooking dishes with a mixture of meat and milk; producing wine and grape juice (or their derivatives) without supervision; or preparing food with non-kosher cooking utensils and machinery.

2. What is the traditional greeting of congratulations one Jewish person would offer another?

A. Congratulations!

B. Mazel tov!

C. Good Shabbos!

D. Slainte!

Answer: B
The words mazel/mazal ("luck" or "fortune") and tov ("good") are Hebrew in origin and entered into English from Yiddish in 1862. Mazel tov is very similar to the expression, "congratulations".

3. What equivalent year in the Hebrew Calendar was the Jewish New Year in 2017?

A. 2017

B. 1434

C. 5777

D. 6763

Answer: C
The equivalent Jewish year in 2017 was 5777. Jewish years are based on a lunisolar calendar that is mostly used for Jewish religious observances. Because this calendar repeats over a complex, lunar-based 19-year cycle, it's necessary to add an extra "intercalary" month every two to three years to bring it into line with natural agriculture-related calendars.

4. What is the holiest day in the Jewish year, aside from Shabbos (Note: these are given below in English)?

A. Day of Atonement

B. Jewish New Year

C. The Festival of Light

D. Tabernacles

Answer: A
The Day of Atonement (or in Hebrew, Yom Kippur) is the holiest day of the year for Jewish people. The main and central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this 25-hour day with a period of fasting (total abstinence—no food or drink of any description) and intensive prayer, with many spending most of the day in the synagogue. 

5. When does the weekly Sabbath day commence?

A. At sunrise on Saturday morning

B. At sunset on Friday night

C. At 12am Saturday morning

D. At 6am Saturday morning

Answer: B
On this day, which commences at sundown on Friday, religious Jews remember the Biblical creation of the heavens and the earth in the previous six days and the Exodus of the Hebrews. Observance means it is a day of rest where no work activities or anything created by the use of energy (for example driving the car, using a computer, cooking a meal from the start ) should be undertaken.

6. Religious services in the synagogue centre around prayers read from the Scroll of the Law, the centre of Judaic tradition and teaching. The Scroll of the Law, written entirely in Hebrew, contains:

A. The entire bible, both Old and New Testaments

B. The first part of the Old Testament

C. The entire bible, both Old and New Testaments, plus commentary by learned Rabbis

D. The Old Testament, plus commentary by learned Rabbis

Answer: B
It is based on the teachings and laws of the Five Books of Moses, also known as the Pentateuch. The five books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This part of the bible is also referred to as the Torah, and in Christianity, it is the entire first part of the Old Testament.

7. The traditional skullcap worn by Jewish men is called a what?

A. Mitre

B. Trilby

C. Zuchetto

D. Yarmulke

Answer: D
A yarmulke or kippah is usually made of cloth and is worn by Jewish men to fulfil the customary requirement held by some Jewish orthodox authorities that the head is covered at all times. Less observant Jews wear the yarmulke only at times of prayer.

8. The ultra-orthodox Jewish men who dress in black suits and wear wide-brimmed black hats are called...

A. Bronxers

B. Hasidim

C. Rabbis

D. Imams

Answer: B
Hasidim are traditionally very orthodox followers of the Jewish faith who learn and follow the teachings of the Torah or the Five Books of Moses very closely. They dress the way they do out of modesty and their respect to G-d.

9. The Jewish Festival of Passover, which is celebrated around Easter time, commemorates...

A. the Jewish New Year

B. The Jewish equivalent of Christmas

C. The arrival of Spring

D. The Israelite Exodus from Egypt around 1450 BC

Answer: D
Passover, or Pesach, commemorates the liberation of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt over 3,300 years ago. It also celebrates their freedom under the leadership of Moses who lead them to Israel. It is referred to in full in Exodus, one of the Five Book of Moses. During the eight days of the festival, the eating of certain foodstuffs is forbidden (such as bread raised with yeast). Because they had to leave quickly, the Jewish people did not have enough time to prepare and take some traditional foods.

10. A traditional Jewish wedding takes place with the couple exchanging vows...

A. and then the guests pinning money on the couple after the ceremony

B. in a building blessed especially by the community Rabbi

C. under a specially erected canopy

D. in the synagogue’s vestry

Answer: C
This is called a chuppah and represents the home that the couple will set up together after the ceremony. While a wedding is still valid without a chuppah, it is unusual for one not to be used. Ideally, there should be open sky above the chuppah, but in practical terms, this is not possible in countries such as the UK (where weather can be unpredictable).

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