Dang it. The internet gods wiped this out last night.*
I had so much fun messing with the Chinese Dictionary question that I decided to write down a dozen or so other no-so-personally-pressing questions and see what I could find on the net.
Yesterday's question: What's Yom Kippur?
It's the Jewish Day of Atonement. Basically, everyone gets together and apologizes for their sins over the past year before they're written down in the books of judgement forever. (If it isn't covered by sunset of Yom Kippur, too bad.) Not only do individuals apologize for their individual acts, but their acts as a community and as Jewish people all together.
Other items I had no clue about:
You can convert to Judism; Sammy Davis Jr. did.
Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat.
Jews have a greater sense of community than most cultures:
"When a Jew does something illegal, immoral or shameful, we all feel the shame, and we all feel that it reflects on us. As Jews, many of us were embarrassed by the Monica Lewinsky scandal, because Lewinsky is a Jew. We were shocked when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was killed by a Jew, unable to believe that one Jew would ever kill another.
"And when a Jew accomplishes something significant, we all feel proud. A perfect example of Jews (even completely secular ones) delighting in the accomplishments of our fellow Jews is the perennial popularity of Adam Sandler's Chanukkah songs, listing famous people who are Jewish. We all take pride in scientists like Albert Einstein or political leaders like Joe Lieberman (we don't all agree with his politics or his religious views, but we were all proud to see him on a national ticket). And is there a Jew who doesn't know (or at least feel pride upon learning) that Sandy Koufax declined to pitch in a World Series game that fell on Yom Kippur?"
--Tracey R Rich