For our Israel Shabbos Dinner, we did a Israeli City Trivia night, with each table assigned to a different city or town in Israel. Rabbi Mendel read the trivia clues, and that table had to cheer when they realized their table was being talked about. We skipped famous cities like Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, because that would be too easy. 

Here’s a random assortment of some of the clues and trivia we used, see what you can guess!

This city is sandwiched between one of Israeli’s most religious cities and its most secular. It’s home to Israel’s tallest skyscraper and largest stadium, but current claim to fame is that it’s home to UAlbany alumni Craig and Ayelet and their two sons. 

Israel’s busiest port is in this sea-side city, and no it’s not Haifa. Although not known for Chassidim, it has a sizeable population of Gerer Chassidim and “Pittsburgh” Chassidim.

This town is home to Israel’s oldest continuously operating winery. It’s named for a Rothschild who supported its founding. And during a World War it was famous for a Jewish spy ring captured there. 

Raizy’s grandmother Bubbe Bluma lived in this city, where the Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraged construction for Russian immigrants. The city is within rocket’s range from Gaza, indeed 3 Israelis were killed there by such rocket attacks. Funny thing, this city is named for Los Angeles, thanks to that city’s donors who helped pay for much construction here. 

This town has the word “red” in its name based on some biblical text. It’s close to Jerusalem, but thanks to neighboring violence and attacks, a special tunnel and bypass road had to be built to get to Jerusalem safely. A Schoolhouse Rd neighbor of Shabbos House, from more than 25 years ago, moved there -yet continues to support Shabbos House and local institutions until this day!

This city is on the waterfront, but not on Israel’s coast. It has gravesites of many famous historical Rabbis, from Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Meir to Maimonides and Reb Mendel of Vietebsk. The area is known for its water activities, and historically it was blessed with hot springs. 

Earlier this year we had a student here from Israel named Noam M. Unfortunately he had to return to Israel, but it was a pleasure knowing him while he was a student at UAlbany. He came from this northern town that it nestled in between lush forests yet home to 150+ hi-tech companies, whether was headquarters, R&D or factories… Where is this?

This city is located not far from Hebron, and its Rabbi is originally from Lincoln Square in Manhattan. Rabbi Binyamin “Gregg” and Shara, both UAlbany alumni from the Class of 1999, live there with their children. 

Israel is rich in things that are old and new at the same time. This city which was only reestablished after the YomKippur War (so its just over forty years old) has ruins of one of the oldest synagogues in Israel, dating back to Talmudic times. It’s also home to a winery.

This city’s founder was also its mayor from 1985 until 2013. This mayor often visited the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Brooklyn. The city is in the Shomron region, and forms a triangle (pointed northwest) with Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. It’s home to a University and ORT school.

This is a city where I (Mendel R.) studied in 1991, and my son-in-law Moishe D. studied there two decades later. It’s at the northwestern tip of the Negev, some consider it the center of Israel. It was once home to a large textile factory but after that closed (signs of the times) Intel opened two giant Fab plants there. The city doubled in size in the early 1990’s as Russian immigrants arrived.

This city’s name literally means “freshness.” It’s near the coast but not by the water. There’s a large percentage of residents from Argentina and France. Huge international companies have offices here, including Microsoft, AmDocs, HP and others. 

Funny thing about this city is that it’s twinned with 3 different Connecticut cities: New Haven, Stamford and West Hartford. It’s home to large plastic plants. Interesting fact: a third of the population are immigrants from the former USSR, South America and Ethiopia. 

there were more Israeli cities and towns discussed that night, perhaps to post more trivia clues later on…