questions about Judaism

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questions about Judaism

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:27 pm

Split from the 2015 CO thread --Mgmt.
The Superfluous Man wrote: Grammatical clarity aside, though, I was really impressed by this submission: it was actually a good high-level question on a Jewish holiday. Rather than just spitting out names of songs for leadins like run-of-the-mill Jewish holiday tossups, this one tested knowledge of liturgical customs, so it's not just "receive 15 points if you are Jewish." Perhaps this has to do with the fact that Shavuot's customs are more obscure, but that doesn't diminish from the quality of the clues.
We should at some point have a thread about Judaism questions - perhaps this post which in no way related to CO will cause the admins to create one via thread split. As a frequent Religion editor/writer back in the day, I found Judaism questions extremely challenging to write because you have a solid 50% of the player base who was raised in that religion and have extremely deep knowledge of it as it is currently practiced, and the remainder of the player base that have likely never attended a Jewish service and whose background familiarity with Jewish scripture and practice is about 2,000 years out of date if it exists at all. It was very difficult to write tossups that did not become "receive 15 points if you are Jewish" while still being accessible. This is not something I saw with other religion: there are very few Zoroastrians or Sikhs in quizbowl, so those religions are kind of "equally foreign" to everyone, and Christianity and even Hinduism to some extent are heterogeneous enough where, e.g., deep clues about Catholic practice are nowhere close to being a free 15 points for somebody who was raised Protestant, or vice-versa.
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Re: Chicago Open thanks and discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:41 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
The Superfluous Man wrote: Grammatical clarity aside, though, I was really impressed by this submission: it was actually a good high-level question on a Jewish holiday. Rather than just spitting out names of songs for leadins like run-of-the-mill Jewish holiday tossups, this one tested knowledge of liturgical customs, so it's not just "receive 15 points if you are Jewish." Perhaps this has to do with the fact that Shavuot's customs are more obscure, but that doesn't diminish from the quality of the clues.
We should at some point have a thread about Judaism questions - perhaps this post which in no way related to CO will cause the admins to create one via thread split. As a frequent Religion editor/writer back in the day, I found Judaism questions extremely challenging to write because you have a solid 50% of the player base who was raised in that religion and have extremely deep knowledge of it as it is currently practiced, and the remainder of the player base that have likely never attended a Jewish service and whose background familiarity with Jewish scripture and practice is about 2,000 years out of date if it exists at all. It was very difficult to write tossups that did not become "receive 15 points if you are Jewish" while still being accessible. This is not something I saw with other religion: there are very few Zoroastrians or Sikhs in quizbowl, so those religions are kind of "equally foreign" to everyone, and Christianity and even Hinduism to some extent are heterogeneous enough where, e.g., deep clues about Catholic practice are nowhere close to being a free 15 points for somebody who was raised Protestant, or vice-versa.
I'm Jewish and yet do not have extremely deep knowledge of Jewish practice, having grown up in a secular household. I'd imagine that describes not a few Jews generally, whether in quizbowl or not. I don't see this as being any different than having people who know physics powering physics tossups. It's just not empirically true in my experience that most secular Jews have all that much in-depth knowledge of various holidays, so I don't think this is a real concern that we actually need to worry about.
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Re: Chicago Open thanks and discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:19 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
The Superfluous Man wrote: Grammatical clarity aside, though, I was really impressed by this submission: it was actually a good high-level question on a Jewish holiday. Rather than just spitting out names of songs for leadins like run-of-the-mill Jewish holiday tossups, this one tested knowledge of liturgical customs, so it's not just "receive 15 points if you are Jewish." Perhaps this has to do with the fact that Shavuot's customs are more obscure, but that doesn't diminish from the quality of the clues.
We should at some point have a thread about Judaism questions - perhaps this post which in no way related to CO will cause the admins to create one via thread split. As a frequent Religion editor/writer back in the day, I found Judaism questions extremely challenging to write because you have a solid 50% of the player base who was raised in that religion and have extremely deep knowledge of it as it is currently practiced, and the remainder of the player base that have likely never attended a Jewish service and whose background familiarity with Jewish scripture and practice is about 2,000 years out of date if it exists at all. It was very difficult to write tossups that did not become "receive 15 points if you are Jewish" while still being accessible. This is not something I saw with other religion: there are very few Zoroastrians or Sikhs in quizbowl, so those religions are kind of "equally foreign" to everyone, and Christianity and even Hinduism to some extent are heterogeneous enough where, e.g., deep clues about Catholic practice are nowhere close to being a free 15 points for somebody who was raised Protestant, or vice-versa.
I'm Jewish and yet do not have extremely deep knowledge of Jewish practice, having grown up in a secular household. I'd imagine that describes not a few Jews generally, whether in quizbowl or not. I don't see this as being any different than having people who know physics powering physics tossups. It's just not empirically true in my experience that most secular Jews have all that much in-depth knowledge of various holidays, so I don't think this is a real concern that we actually need to worry about.
Most quizbowl Jews are raised secular or reform,with a small minority raised conservative, so most quizbowl Jews honestly probably have a somewhat limited knowledge base-I can't imagine most reform Hebrew school education going beyond something like ACF fall maybe. Actually for something like Shavuot I doubt most secular or very minimally religious players would get it before "late middle or giveaway clues. Maybe this is more of a worry at lower difficulties?
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by Nicklausse/Muse » Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:12 pm

I'd be interested in seeing some questions from previous tournaments that people would consider "receive 15 points if you are Jewish."
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:00 pm

Nicklausse/Muse wrote:I'd be interested in seeing some questions from previous tournaments that people would consider "receive 15 points if you are Jewish."
This example is from a high school tournament, but it illustrates the point:
This holiday sees the singing of the Chad Gadya, and some observants use an orange to represent support for women rabbis. Along with Sukkot, this holiday includes days designated Chol HaMoed. The [*] haggadah for this holiday lays out the Ma Nishtana, or Four Questions, which concern reclining, double-dipping, and the eating of maror and matzah, which is not chametz, and ask “Why is this night different from every other night?” Celebrated with the seder, for 10 points, name this holiday commemorating God’s sparing of the Jews from the Angel of Death.
EDIT: It's not the Jewish questions as a whole that tend to be problematic, it's the ones on holidays.
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by Nicklausse/Muse » Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:02 am

The Superfluous Man wrote:
Nicklausse/Muse wrote:I'd be interested in seeing some questions from previous tournaments that people would consider "receive 15 points if you are Jewish."
This example is from a high school tournament, but it illustrates the point:
This holiday sees the singing of the Chad Gadya, and some observants use an orange to represent support for women rabbis. Along with Sukkot, this holiday includes days designated Chol HaMoed. The [*] haggadah for this holiday lays out the Ma Nishtana, or Four Questions, which concern reclining, double-dipping, and the eating of maror and matzah, which is not chametz, and ask “Why is this night different from every other night?” Celebrated with the seder, for 10 points, name this holiday commemorating God’s sparing of the Jews from the Angel of Death.
EDIT: It's not the Jewish questions as a whole that tend to be problematic, it's the ones on holidays.
Yyyyyyyup, that's a "have you ever attended a seder" question.

I think there's inevitably got to be some allowance for the idea that people will have real knowledge that they came by essentially by chance - I mean, as an example, I've just been to Bologna, and having checked the archive for TUs on Bologna, would first-line both of them for no other reason than that I was there during the summer - but it's true that common holiday facts about common religions (I wouldn't exclude Christianity, nor would I say it's impossible to write a legit tossup on Jewish holiday customs if you go regional or historical enough) are entry-level for a large enough part of the field that it's weird. Something closer to my Bologna example might be a Torah or Haftarah bit that someone happens to know because it was their parasha - it's still describable as "receive 15 points for being Jewish" but seems totally fair.
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Re: Chicago Open thanks and discussion

Post by Scipio » Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:59 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
The Superfluous Man wrote: Grammatical clarity aside, though, I was really impressed by this submission: it was actually a good high-level question on a Jewish holiday. Rather than just spitting out names of songs for leadins like run-of-the-mill Jewish holiday tossups, this one tested knowledge of liturgical customs, so it's not just "receive 15 points if you are Jewish." Perhaps this has to do with the fact that Shavuot's customs are more obscure, but that doesn't diminish from the quality of the clues.
We should at some point have a thread about Judaism questions - perhaps this post which in no way related to CO will cause the admins to create one via thread split. As a frequent Religion editor/writer back in the day, I found Judaism questions extremely challenging to write because you have a solid 50% of the player base who was raised in that religion and have extremely deep knowledge of it as it is currently practiced, and the remainder of the player base that have likely never attended a Jewish service and whose background familiarity with Jewish scripture and practice is about 2,000 years out of date if it exists at all. It was very difficult to write tossups that did not become "receive 15 points if you are Jewish" while still being accessible. This is not something I saw with other religion: there are very few Zoroastrians or Sikhs in quizbowl, so those religions are kind of "equally foreign" to everyone, and Christianity and even Hinduism to some extent are heterogeneous enough where, e.g., deep clues about Catholic practice are nowhere close to being a free 15 points for somebody who was raised Protestant, or vice-versa.
I'm Jewish and yet do not have extremely deep knowledge of Jewish practice, having grown up in a secular household. I'd imagine that describes not a few Jews generally, whether in quizbowl or not. I don't see this as being any different than having people who know physics powering physics tossups. It's just not empirically true in my experience that most secular Jews have all that much in-depth knowledge of various holidays, so I don't think this is a real concern that we actually need to worry about.
Yep, in exactly the same boat. It has been a source of much embarassment throughout my quizbowl career.
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by minusfive » Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:24 pm

The odd thing about this is that while I have only a "one drop" relation to Judaism (not an issue anywhere but Eastern Europe), I found that Shavuot TU to be pretty transparent: it's an (advance) harvest festival with "first fruits" offering, and it said that early-ish in the TU. I was expecting at CO to have a TU on Tishe B'Av or Yom Ha'Shoa, both of which represent Judaic remembrances which are sadly underutilized compared to YK/RH/Sukkhot and Shavuot.
EDIT: Just making sure everyone knows I know Shavuot's not Jewish Thanksgiving.
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by at your pleasure » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:55 am

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Split from the 2015 CO thread --Mgmt.

We should at some point have a thread about Judaism questions - perhaps this post which in no way related to CO will cause the admins to create one via thread split. As a frequent Religion editor/writer back in the day, I found Judaism questions extremely challenging to write because you have a solid 50% of the player base who was raised in that religion and have extremely deep knowledge of it as it is currently practiced, and the remainder of the player base that have likely never attended a Jewish service and whose background familiarity with Jewish scripture and practice is about 2,000 years out of date if it exists at all. It was very difficult to write tossups that did not become "receive 15 points if you are Jewish" while still being accessible.
So the second point is easier to address first-if you're worried about questions being 15 free points, either write slightly harder questions(not impossible questions, just harder on the order of "people aren't going to buzzer race on the first line just because they go to shul twice a year and go to a seder", something there are certainly enough deep clues about Judaism out there to do) or accept the horrid possibility that people will get points on questions about religions they practice or are curious enough about to learn things about. Well also make sure your clues are ordered sensibly-just looking at that tossup posted, it seems to put one of the two most popular songs sung at Seders before, respectively, a somewhat unusual but moderately well known very recent practice and a rather less-well known practice that requires a fairly substantial(by quizbowl standards knowledge, anyways) of how extended holidays work in Jewish law.

Regarding the first point, there are two issues I see that could be usefully unpacked. First, most Jews (or at least most Jewish quizbowl players) don't have "exceptionally deep" knowledge of Judaism, just as most Christians do not have exceptionally deep knowledge of Christianity. You might have a basic knowledge of customs and rituals around a few holidays and some lifestyle stuff, but not a whole lot of stuff that you'd need to be more involved or studious to know. It's just that people tend to treat even very minimal knowledge as unusual*. Second, it seems like there's a an issue of where you are; if you're in an area with a lot of Jewish people there are of course more people who are going to have a basic grounding but also it's more common for non-Jewish people to pick up a lot of cultural osmosis-based knowledge from things like going to bar mitzvahs or being invited to a seder one year. If you don't, on the other hand, it is obviously less likely that you have any sort of osmosis-based knowledge of knowledge of Judaism beyond "things you saw on a Holiday Special episode of a sitcom" or whatever. So you have a situation where some teams and fields are overall knowledgeable enough for it not to be an accessibility issue and others where even very easy questions are going to be hard.

*Also people who do have abnormally deep knowledge about Judaism are more likely than not unable to play quizbowl in the first place. But that is somewhat off-topic since the issue is "the current pool of quizbowl players" and not "the hypothetical pool of people who would play if we held tournaments on Sundays instead".
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by theMoMA » Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:53 pm

Most Protestant Christian religions really just don't have many practices or rituals in everyday life. I'm no longer at all religious, but I grew up in a casually Lutheran family. For Christmas, we ate whatever we wanted, opened presents, put on nice clothes, and went to church. For Easter, we ate whatever we wanted, put on nice clothes, and went to church. On Sundays, we (very occasionally) put on nice clothes and went to church. I can't think of a single ritualized thing that we did, except occasionally reciting what Wikipedia helpfully calls the "common table prayer."

In Judaism, it seems like there are infinitely more rituals and practices that occur in everyday life: meals with specific food, specific prayers or actions, things to build, etc. Unfortunately for Christians, things like "eating ham on Easter" or "putting on your Sunday school clothes" aren't exactly askable, either as clues or as answers. There's nothing wrong with the fact that there are lots of rituals in Judaism that are askable, but I agree that it's important to remember that a large swath of Judaism ritual questions are going to be easier for Jews, even nonpracticing ones, and that there are many Jewish people in quizbowl.
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by Kouign Amann » Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:33 pm

theMoMA wrote:Most Protestant Christian religions really just don't have many practices or rituals in everyday life.
On the other hand, Catholic life, depending on how observant you were raised or currently practice, is full of lots of great ritual stuff that hasn't yet been mined too heavily for questions. Quizbowl already does an alright job of using unusual services to clue holidays: stuff like the Easter Vigil, the Tenebrae service, and the Stations of the Cross all come to mind immediately as things I'm pretty sure I've heard come up in one form or another, and there are others. But there are also those other little everyday rituals of Catholic life that don't really come up: the wearing of scapulars and saints' medals/the Miraculous Medal, abstaining from meat on Fridays, and all the things that go on when praying the Rosary or the Liturgy of the Hours. There's a lot of history behind these things, and a lot of variety in their contemporary practice. I think they all have the potential to be turned into helpful clues.

In a somewhat related vein, I've also been thinking and reading a lot lately about how little attention is paid to the Orthodoxy in discourse about contemporary Christianity, and I think the phenomenon sometimes termed "Orthodox erasure" is present in quizbowl as well. If people are interested in finding more exciting clues about Christian ritual traditions, Orthodoxy is a great place to look.
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:34 pm

Kouign Amann wrote:Orthodoxy is a great place to look.
Where else are you going to get your distribution of saints being depicted with the head of a dog? I'm far from any sort of religious studies aficionado, but there's some really interesting stuff in Orthodox Christianity.
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by Aaron's Rod » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:52 pm

Kouign Amann wrote:
theMoMA wrote:Most Protestant Christian religions really just don't have many practices or rituals in everyday life.
In a somewhat related vein, I've also been thinking and reading a lot lately about how little attention is paid to the Orthodoxy in discourse about contemporary Christianity, and I think the phenomenon sometimes termed "Orthodox erasure" is present in quizbowl as well. If people are interested in finding more exciting clues about Christian ritual traditions, Orthodoxy is a great place to look.
I will admit to having had a "receive 15 points if you are Orthodox" moment with "St. Herman was from this place" at SCT 2013.
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:00 pm

theMoMA wrote: In Judaism, it seems like there are infinitely more rituals and practices that occur in everyday life: meals with specific food, specific prayers or actions, things to build, etc.
It's not just the number of rituals, it's the sheer amount of text behind them. The full Talmud runs anywhere from 18 to 60+ volumes depending on the translation; it probably has enough material for several tournaments worth of rabbi bowl (don't do it).
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:42 pm

The Superfluous Man wrote:several tournaments worth of rabbi bowl (don't do it).
I don't know about that, but I do know that when I give the signal, my friend rabbi bowl will play the solo.
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Re: questions about Judaism

Post by jonah » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:53 pm

The Superfluous Man wrote:several tournaments worth of rabbi bowl
Let me know when the signup doc is open.
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