What’s your Jewish I.Q.?


1. When was Judaism founded?
(a) 1000 C.E.
(b) 5000 B.C.E.
(c) 2000 B.C.E.
(d) 1000 B.C.E.

2. Who was the mother of Moses?

3. Who was born a Moabite, became a Jew and was the great-grandmother of King David?
(a) Rebekkah
(b) Deborah
(c) Lillith
(d) Ruth

4. Complete this line from Exodus 23:9: "You shall not oppress the _______ for you were _________ in the land of Egypt."

5. The Jews received the Torah at _____________ __________. God said there: "You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a ________ __________." (Exodus 19:6)

6. The phrase "Chosen People" refers to:
(a) God chose the Jews to be persecuted.
(b) God entered into a covenant with the Jews.
(c) Only Jews are made in the image of God.

7. The First Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C.E. by which power?
(a) Macedonia
(b) Rome
(c) Assyria
(d) Babylonia

8. The tragic last stand of the Jews in their revolt against Rome took place at:
(a) Qumran
(b) Jerusalem
(c) Masada
(d) Hebron

9. The Spanish Jews who chose conversion between 1391-1492 and continued to practice Judaism in secret were called:
(a) Kabbalists
(b) Marranos
(c) Pietists
(d) Sephardim

10. The first Jewish community in North America was established in this settlement by 23 Dutch Jews fleeing the Inquisition in Brazil:
(a) New Amsterdam
(b) Newport
(c) Charleston
(d) Savannah

11. In 1807, __________ freed the Jews from their ghettos, granting them citizenship.

12. The main wave of 2 million Jewish immigrants entered the United States in which period?
(a) 1914-1933
(b) 1860-1870
(c) 1880-1914
(d) 1933-1945

13. What Jewish person won nine Olympic gold medals in swimming and is considered the greatest swimmer in the history of the sport?

14. TRUE OR FALSE? Historians cite three factors that distinguish the Holocaust from other genocides: its cruelty, its scale and its efficiency.

15. During the Holocaust, what three countries resisted the deportation of their Jewish population?

16. "Hear O Israel the Lord is Our God, the Lord is One" is the first line of?:
(a) The Israeli National Anthem
(b) The Shemoneh Esrei
(c) The "Shema"

17. A mitzvah is:
(a) A prayer
(b) A commandment
(c) A sin

18. Where is it written:
(a)"We support the non-Jewish poor together with the Jewish poor, and we visit the non-Jewish sick alongside the Jewish sick, and we bury non-Jewish dead alongside Jewish dead, all for the sake of the ways of peace."
(b)"You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor. I am the Lord."

19. Fill in: "On three things does the world stand: Torah, service to God, and acts of ____________" (Pirke Avot).

20. TRUE OR FALSE? The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel offers "Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel" the "full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions."

Click here for the answers.

Test contributors include the American Jewish Committee, Jewish Outreach Institute, www.expertrating.com and The Journal editors.

Where Are High EI Guys?


Dating is not brain surgery, but for some men it is more difficult. I think I’ve discovered why. The current thinking on intelligence is that people have several types of intelligence, which may not be equally developed.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman coined the phrase “emotional intelligence” or EI. He defined EI as “knowing one’s emotions, managing emotions, motivating oneself, recognizing emotions in others and handling relationships.” Goleman and others have found that EI has little correlation with IQ. They are on to something.

Arnie, a Jewish doctor, and not an “ordinary” one — rather a professor of neurosurgery, tumor specialist and brain surgeon (I am not making this up) — contacted me through Advanced Degrees Singles. Oh, he also is a pilot and owns a plane. My grandmother would be kvelling. But after speaking with him, I do not share her enthusiasm.

Among all the men I have spoken to on the telephone or dated, Arnie has the lowest EI. Like all Internet daters, we exchanged the perfunctory pleasantries by e-mail and then exchanged telephone numbers. After a round of telephone tag, he found me at home. Immediately following the “How are you’s?” he suggested that we meet for dinner.

Gosh, doesn’t he believe in foretalk?

I explained nicely that I would feel more comfortable if we spent a little time getting to know each other. He then told me that he is not a “telephone person” and that, having recently arrived from London, where he held a number of prestigious positions, he had only a cell phone and it would cost him 65 cents a minute to talk to me. Last I checked, neurosurgeons were fairly well paid.

There’s more: Besides my wanting some foretalk, I also was up against a project deadline, which I explained to Dr. Doctor.

In response, he said, “I am sure that you can spare a half hour to meet me at the marketplace for coffee.”

I thought, well maybe I can; the marketplace is only a mile from me. But then it occurred to me that he was talking about the marketplace close to him, which is nearly a half-hour from me.

Math was one of my best subjects, so I figured this out: 30 minutes to drive there + 30 minutes for coffee + 30 minutes to drive home. That equals an hour and a half. Of course, he couldn’t know this. He didn’t bother to even ask where I live.

So, I said to him nicely (I’m not sure why I was so nice), “I would rather meet you when I can give you my full attention and not have my mind on my work or my eye on the clock.”

There’s even more, but I think we have enough here to score Arnie’s EI. Here’s how it works. EI is scored similarly to IQ, with 100 as the norm. Every 15 points represents a standard deviation above or below the mean. Two standard deviations above the mean (130) is “emotionally gifted” or “socially sensitive” and two standard deviations below the mean (70) is “severely socially challenged.” For EI, everyone starts with 100. You can earn 7.5 points for each socially sensitive statement and lose 7.5 points for each faux pas or socially insensitive statement.

Let’s do the math: 100 — (4 x 7.5) = 70 or “severely socially challenged.”

The next day, I opened my e-mail to find Dr. Doctor’s CV. He wrote, “Hi, here is a little overkill on meeting me. Maybe it will save some time.”

Well, I’m no physicist, but I do know that Einstein believed that time is relative. Relatively speaking, I’ve wasted enough time but, in the process, I have done research on Goleman’s concept of EI. My findings indicate that, among some highly intelligent men, IQ and EI have an inverse correlation: as IQ goes up, EI goes down. It’s another form of “Women Are From Venus” and “(Some) Men Are From the Dark Side of the Moon.”


Sharon Lynn Bear is a researcher, writer and editor living in Irvine. She can be contacted at BearWrite@AOL.com.

Television Jews: How Jewish Is Too Jewish?


The new television season is upon us. African American and Latino groups are making the expected protests about the lack of people who look like them before and aft of the camera, and the Jews are — as usual — adding up their TV IQ on the fingers of one hand.

If there aren’t many “brothers” out there, there are even fewer “Members of the Tribe,” and those that are there are not particularly Jewish Jews, if you know what I mean.

Take 40-something, newly divorced father “Danny,” played by Daniel Stern. In CBS’ new series, Danny looks like he’s Jewish, sounds like he’s Jewish, but his live-in father is played by Polish American Robert Prosky, and his kids Sally and Henry come across as just, well, kids.

Ah, but wait, Danny is described in the program notes as “adapting to his single life one neurotic step at a time.” Neurotic is television-speak for Jew — just like “New York” as an adjective means “Jew” in the Midwest.

The whole subject makes the producers of the show, which, by the way, is set in that hotbed of neuroses, Portland, Ore., a trifle nervous. “It’s implied,” one of the show’s producers told The Journal. “It’s not an overt kind of thing. You don’t get it rammed down your throat. It’s not about his Jewish life — it’s about his life.”

Actor Daniel Stern himself, however, seems more relaxed about the idea of playing a Jewish man with a thing about basketball. “I was happy to be Jewish on the show,” he said. “And I like sort of putting it out there. And I want to put it out there in a sort of funny way. I thought that might be something that I hadn’t seen.”

That’s because he hadn’t seen the pilot for “Inside Schwartz” (see below). Adam Schwartz is also Jewish and a basketball nut. It’s not implied — he tells you that right off the bat, even though he’s played by non-Jew Brekin Meyer.

“I want to be the first Jew to win the slam-dunk contest,” Schwartz declares in the pilot episode. His more realistic dream is to become a sports announcer. Even if he hadn’t told us, we’d know he was Jewish, because his sidekick is a perfectly marvelous young Jewish woman played by Miriam Shore, who is ready and waiting for him to make his move on her. (We know she’s Jewish because she’s smart-mouthed and quirky.)

Executive Producer Stephen Engel says he wasn’t sure how the network would react to a show built around a Jewish character. And he wasn’t the only one.

“My father called while I was doing the show,” Engel said. “He said, ‘You know I don’t interfere in your work, but this show you’re doing, are you sure about the title? You know Schwartz is a Jewish name. I don’t know how the rest of America [is] going to respond to this.'”

Of course the central joke only works if the character is Jewish. Jews and sports — an oxymoron, right? And that was the point, as far as Engel was concerned.

“I like to consider myself a fairly good athlete,” he said. “I’m not a professional yet, but I haven’t given up hope. But there are Jews across America in sports. One right here in right field in Los Angeles.” (For those not into sports, that would be Dodger Shawn Green.)

Jason Alexander, one of the Seinfeld crew — the most successful Jews-who-dare-not-speak-their-name in TV history — is playing a Tony Robbins-style guru in ABC’s “Bob Patterson.” Patterson may or may not be Jewish — but he is kind of a lovable jerk. If in a future episode we find out the name used to be Futterman, be prepared to cringe.

Mike Binder, however, former stand-up comic star and creator of HBO’s “Mind of the Married Man,” is undoubtedly Jewish, although it’s never stated, and he’s married in the show to a gorgeous blonde Englishwoman, played by Oxford-educated Sonya Walger.

Binder grew up in a Jewish community in Detroit, and made a 1993 movie about his summer experiences at the Jewish Camp Tamakwa in Ontario (“Indian Summer”). He even wears a Tamakwa sweatshirt in one scene in the new show. But the character is just another narcissistic, sports- and sex- obsessed American male. And you don’t have to be Jewish to be that.

On the other hand, Max Bickford, professor of history in CBS’ “The Education of Max Bickford,” doesn’t know from sports. His is the ivory-tower world of old European white males to whom scholarship and love of the past is life.

And while he’s staggering under the pressure of apathetic students and political correctness, he’s doing it (from the evidence of the pilot, at least) as a slightly over the hill, all-purpose ethnic. So — is he Jewish?

“I think so, yes,” says Bickford’s alter ego, Richard Dreyfuss. “He’s got an edge; he’s a curmudgeon. The way I keep describing him is Walter Matthau, but shorter.”

He’s also the most potentially interesting of the ‘Jewish’ characters on this season’s new shows, if only because Dreyfuss is noted as that rare Jewish actor who enjoys being Jewish on screen: think Moses Wine, ace detective in “The Big Fix,” Duddy Kravitz, and even Meyer Lansky.

But since this is essentially a serious show, well written and dealing with intelligent issues, just hold your breath that it will enjoy a long run. Even if it is, don’t expect Bickford to deal with his Jewishness. Having an overtly Jewish character as the lead on a drama is still seen in Hollywood as a surefire way to cut yourself off from the American mainstream viewer.

Serious shows with Jewish content have a history of wiping out before you can say, “Nielsen, Shmielsen.” Remember “Brooklyn Bridge,” Gary David Goldberg’s loving tribute to his Brooklyn bubbie? Or how about “The Trials of Rosie O’Neill,” in which Rosie (Sharon Gless) answered to a kippah-wearing, public-defender boss played by Ron Rifkin? Neither lasted long.

Comedies have a longer shelf life. Jewish humor on television is the one thing that has been accepted with open arms by the rest of America — witness “Seinfeld.” Because, whether they know it or not, just as Jewish music became Tin Pan Alley, Jewish humor, as filtered through the Catskills, Hollywood and Las Vegas, is now American humor.

Bob Hope once quipped, “Hollywood is the only town where they give up matzah balls for Lent” — a line written by one of his many Jewish writers. The point being that everyone in Hollywood is Jewish, whether they were born into it or not. Hollywood has been shaped by Jewish culture — by now that’s a sociological truism — but the only place you’d know it on television is in comedy.

From “Seinfeld” to “Mad About You” to “Dharma and Greg” to “The Larry Sanders Show,” Jewish humor has infiltrated popular culture. On television, Jewish humor is the Trojan horse sneaked into the living rooms of non-Jewish America to acquaint them with the fact that Jews are pretty much like them, only more so.

“Northern Exposure,” for example, worked because America identified with its hero — a nice Jewish doctor (Rob Morrow) plunked down in small-town Alaska, where he was the least weird of the bunch. “Picket Fences,” created by Irish American David E. Kelley, introduced the conniving Jewish defense attorney played by Fyvush Finkel. (Kelley’s in-joke was that Finkel’s character bore the WASP-ish name of Douglas Wambaugh.) In one episode, he was called before a beit din to answer charges that his sleazy behavior was damaging his people’s good name.

Ironically, Kelley wrote the episode after receiving letters complaining that Finkel’s character perpetuated the stereotype of the shyster lawyer.

HBO’s “Larry Sanders Show,” which told the truth about so many aspects of American television, also warned about the perils of being too Jewish. In one episode, Larry’s sidekick Hank (Jeffrey Tambor) became a born-again Jew, and insisted on wearing a kippah on the show. Larry’s creator, Garry Shandling, noted his favorite line in that episode was when a Jewish network executive said it was OK for him to be Jewish because, unlike Hank, “he was behind the camera where the audience couldn’t see him.”

Larry Gelbart, one of the funniest comedy writers today, says of Jewish humor, “I think it’s our cultural heritage to find some relief from intolerable situations with laughter. To use it as both a sword and a shield, as an offensive and defensive weapon against those who are being hostile to you.” It seems that in a more dangerous and difficult America, the rest of the country increasingly wants to borrow the weapon.

The good news this season — yes, there is some — is that with “The Nanny” and “Suddenly Susan” (the JAP stereotypical Vicki may have been married to a decent sort of rabbi, but she was definitely cringe material), having passed into the lucrative afterlife of syndication, parodies of spoiled shopaholic Jewish women on primetime television have given way to spoiled shop-a-holic Italian women on “The Sopranos.”

And despite rumors to the contrary, the girls on “Sex and the City” can’t possibly be Jewish: Carrie only shops retail, Samantha is a nymphomaniac, Miranda is too thin, Charlotte is married to the only Scottish doctor on Park Avenue, and they’re always picking at a salad and getting tanked on cosmopolitans at lunchtime.

In short, Jewish viewers are likely to find this season as unsatisfying as countless others. As in real life, Jews on television this year are still married to, or dating, non-Jews. It cuts down on interesting sources of conflict, according to the writers, if two characters both celebrate Chanukah and know the difference between a matzah ball and kreplach — as if the writers never noticed the surfeit of conflicts within the Jewish community.

And there are still many Jews who, while they have Jewish names and look Jewish, never identify themselves as such. But, of course, we’ve never heard of that in real life, have we?

Dear Deborah




Roller-Coaster Life

Dear Deborah,

I have had a strange, traumatic, roller-coaster life, but I havefinally settled down with a truly wonderful man. The problem I haveis that I cannot understand why I feel so empty and have no sexualdesire whatsoever for my prince.

When I was small, my mother was subject to horrible mood swings(my grandmother thinks it was because of the constant diet pills) andmy father, a “businessman” (gambler) of questionable morals, draggedus around from city to city to keep ahead of loan sharks, year afteryear. My mother died when I was in my early 20s, and I have losttrack of my father.

My 20s were spent running from one destructive relationship to thenext, job to job, city to city — basically, it was more of the same.

I thank God every day for my husband of four years. He is stable,financially responsible, honest, handsome and adores me. And, yet, Ifeel like a caged tiger and fantasize about running away or having anaffair. Why? What can I do?

N.W.

Dear N.W.,

My dear woman, you wouldn’t recognize how to be in a stablerelationship if it left teeth marks on your tush. Your problem seemsto be an addiction to adrenaline. Unless life feels familiar — inother words, fraught with danger of any sort — you don’t know whatto do with yourself.

This predicament is not easy to solve. It may involve learning howto have some legal thrills in your life (every try hang gliding?) orin your marriage (ever try sex while hang gliding?). Or start talkingtachlis (bottom line) with your husband about how you feel,and see what you can come up with together. And if you get stuck, trycounseling.

The one immutable fact about all this is that unless you choose toteach your brain mastery over your adrenal glands, your life will endup looking a lot like those of your parents. Good luck.

Man and His Doll

Dear Deborah,

My adult son, a never-married, successful 46-year-old attorney,has brought upon us this family’s worst nightmare: She is blue-eyed,blond, half his age, and has two small children and an ex-husband whodoesn’t pay a penny of child support. She is uneducated, a totallydim bulb and, most importantly, not Jewish — although she says thatshe is willing to convert. They became engaged after a shortcourtship.

What can we do to convince him of this huge mistake? Why would anintelligent, educated man choose such a bimbo and suchresponsibilities?

Grieving Mother

Dear Mother,

Why would a man choose a woman whose IQ is about room temperature?Well, perhaps her beauty seems to him an even exchange. Or who knows?Perhaps her IQ is a relief to him, a soothing, gentle breeze after aday of brain torture. Then again, there have always been men whoprefer to flaunt a trophy wife above all else.

Look, you’re probably never going to know why he chose her unlessthis mystery reveals itself over time. Who knows, with a little luck,maybe you’ll find a mensch beneath the peroxide and learn toaccept his choice.

Do not, however, under any circumstance, think that you can showhim the error of his ways. You may use your Mom license once, andonce only, to let him know that you are concerned about his choice.If he asks why, tread ever so carefully on these egg shells. “She isyoung, and then there are the children, and will the conversion bereal, or will there be an Easter egg hunt the third day of Passover?”But do not even consider touching the IQ business, as you will proveyour own to have fallen off a few points.

Your son is a man making his own life, choices and mistakes. Asdifficult as it is to stand back and quietly watch this story unfold,remember: The “bimbo” you scorn today could be the mother of yourgrandchildren who will scorn you tomorrow.

United We Stand

Dear Deborah,

My fiancé and I have decided to have a Sunday-afternoonwedding, a small reception and then a formal dinner. Partly due toexpenses and partly due to personal preference, we have decided tonot include children at the dinner.

We want a quiet, elegant affair. The children will be welcomed atthe reception. For dinner, we have arranged for qualifiedbaby-sitting, games, videos and pizza up in a suite at the hotelwhere the wedding will be.

The family is in an uproar over this. One sister-in-law hasthreatened not to come. When I asked why, she said that she feltuncomfortable handing her children over to a stranger. I encouragedher to meet and spend time with the baby sitter the night before sothat the children could get to know the sitter, but she still wasunwilling. A cousin already declined because she disagreed, inprinciple, with our no-children decision and fears that her daughterwill feel hurt. She thinks that it is not a proper simchawithout dozens of children in attendance. The whole family seems tobe ganging up on us. Should we cave in to the pressure?

Nuptial Nightmare

Dear N.N.,

Choice A: Give up the “quiet, elegant” wedding dinner of yourchoosing and replace it with a shrieking, pint-sized progeny party.Then be prepared to continue giving in to these rude, disrespectfullouts the rest of your marriage.

Choice B: Stand united in your choice to have the wedding youwant. Some of the less mature adults will not attend, will hold itagainst you awhile or, in an act of unbridled passive aggression,will do something as spectacular as spilling red wine on the bridalgown. So big deal. A pox on their minivans.

On the other hand, they may get over it and learn to respect yourchoices now and always. Good luck.


Deborah Berger-Reiss is a West Los Angeles psychotherapist.

All rights reserved by author

All letters to Dear Deborah require a name, address andtelephone number for purposes of verification. Names will, of course,be withheld upon request. Our readers should know that when names areused in a letter, they are fictitious.

Dear Deborah welcomes your letters. Responses can be given only inthe newspaper. Send letters to Deborah Berger-Reiss, 1800 S.Robertson Blvd., Ste. 927, Los Angeles, CA 90035. You can also sendE-mail: deborahb@primenet.com