Schechter Trivia Contest Answers


Thanks to everyone for participating in Schechter’s online trivia contest!  See the questions and answers below.  Each one is drawn from an article on Schechter’s website and are linked below.

  1. According to Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin‘s sources, what are three reasons to protect the environment?
  • The first theological premise of a Jewish view of ecology is that our Earth and the entire Universe belong to God.
  • A second theological basis for ecology is called “Stewardship” and is found in Genesis 2:15: “ויקח ה’ אלוהים את האדם ויניחהו בגן עדן לעבדה ולשמרה ” “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to till it and to guard it”. According to this verse, God put man in the Garden of Eden to work the land and to protect the land. In other words, human beings are stewards of the earth.
  • A third reason to protect the environment is not theological but logical : A person who harms nature harms himself!
  1. What are two types of documents related to women’s lives that were found in the Cairo Geniza?
  • marriage contracts and issues with polygamy
  • calls for charitable support
  • documents relating to women instructors in Jewish schools
  1. In pre-state Israel the Labor-Zionist establishment categorized mothers as three ‘types.’ What were they?
  • Oriental mothers were seen as belonging to the lower cultural levels in Jewish society. They were perceived as uneducated, slaves to superstitious beliefs, unworldly, and caught in the net of religion. Children of these families were ‘wild’ in their behavior and difficult to reach.
  • The European mother lacked national solidarity due to her bourgeois background. The egotistical mother of the Diaspora encouraged her child to pursue a profession that was unsuitable to the Zionist venture, such as engineering, architecture or clerical work. She neglected the importance – for both genders – of working the Land.
  • As opposed to this, the women of the Zionist establishment, among them leaders of the Labor movement… were devoted to their children, careful to preserve cleanliness in the home in times of scarcity, and prepared to adhere to the movement despite the hardships of life. Thus, they were not only praised but were admitted to the Zionist model of ideal motherhood.
  1. Why are the names Ephraim and Menashe used in the Friday night blessing of children?

The child is supposed to reimagine Ephraim and Menashe in his own image… Their hopes and aspirations have to be that they’d be great like Ephraim and Menashe. What does that mean? That’s up to the child himself. The child has to imagine Ephraim and Menashe in his own image, in the image of the child himself.

  1. Holy sites in Israel used to not separate people by gender. What events prompted a change to gender separation at graves and other holy sites?

The destructive precedent of gender separation at holy sites was created at the Western Wall in 1967. The excuse given by the then-minister for religious affairs for this separation included the claim that such separation existed at the time of the Temple — an argument that is not historically accurate. The religious establishment then began to separate women from men at Maarat HaMachpelah and Rachel’s Tomb. Starting in the 1990s, this trend spread to all of the Jewish holy sites.

  1. Who is the artist of the above image? Where is his/her most recent exhibition?

The artist is Gary Goldstein who just had an exhibition at Neve Schecter, Schechter’s Tel Aviv arts campus.  Read more about his work here.

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