Nothing Trivial About Oregon NCSY’s Trivia Contest

17 Feb 2016
The winning team – from the front left to right: Liz Phillips, Julia Robinson, Mindy Zeitzer, and Darcy Hoyt. From back left to right: Brett Phillips, Jeff Robinson, Oregon NCSY Director Meira Spivak, Ross Weinstein and Mark Zeitzer. Photo credit: One Click Studio.











Which batter hit the famous groundball to Bill Buckner in the ’86 World Series?

How many light bulbs are used to light the Eiffel Tower at night?

In the Passover Haggadah song, if “10 are the Ten Commandments, and 9 are the months ‘till a baby’s born,” then what are 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1?”

If you don’t know, you aren’t alone. Over 300 men and women from across Portland’s Jewish community racked their brains for answers to dozens of challenging trivia questions like these, at Oregon NCSY’s “Q” held recently at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center in Portland.

The Q, now in its eighth year, is an interactive, multimedia trivia competition that brings local adults together for an evening of fun to benefit NCSY. This year, 39 teams vied for the coveted Q Champion trophy and associated bragging rights, with team members pooling their knowledge of all things trivial. A highlight was the “lockbox challenge,” in which team members needed to crack open a lockbox to uncover the final clue of the game.

“It was a spectacular event,” says Tom Stern, Founder-Partner, Pacific NW Properties, who attended the Q for the first time this year. “It was well done and entertaining, and the questions were so well thought out.”

According to Oregon NCSY Director Meira Spivak, this event has not only grown to become the organization’s largest fundraiser, but it has also proven to be a unique opportunity to introduce a wide range of community members to NCSY and the inspiration it offers local teens.

“This event builds community,” she says. “It brings together people from all walks of life, and they have the opportunity to see that Judaism can be fun and relevant not just for themselves, but also for their children.”

Shoshana Gordon, MSW, is one of them. She attended the Q in 2010, having heard only that it was a fun night in support of the Jewish community. The next year, she joined the event committee, and although her daughters were only four and nine at the time, she says she soon saw that NCSY was an organization she wanted them to be a part of. Her oldest daughter became involved in Junior NCSY in middle school, and today, as a freshman in high school, she’s an active NCSY teen board member.

“My daughter felt the same connection I did,” says Shoshana. “She has found a support system and friend group with other Jewish teens.”

Funds raised at the Q support Oregon NCSY’s year-round programming, which includes Jewish Student Union (JSU) clubs in public high schools; Shabbaton weekends; and summer trips to Israel. The organization also offers social and educational programs for sixth through eighth graders at Junior NCSY, and Jewish leadership programs for college students at its Akiva On Campus program. All told, Oregon NCSY’s programs reach more than 500 individuals a year.

NCSY’s Meira Spivak says plans are already underway for next year’s Q, with several new enhancements in the works. And as she’s fond of telling community members, even if you don’t know which famous Biblical personality died at age 70, or which song is listed as the most recognized in the English language according to 1998 Guinness Book of World Records, everyone who attends the Q helps NCSY makes a difference.

“NCSY reaches young adults when they are at the crossroads, when they are deciding how Jewish they’ll be for the rest of their lives,” she says. “It is the generous support of the community that enables us to be there for them, every step of the way.”

Think you’re a trivia buff? Try these challenging questions for Oregon NCSY’s Q: