The Schmooze

The 'Jeopardy' Rabbi

(JTA) — Sari Laufer isn’t allowed to say how well she did on the TV quiz show “Jeopardy” until the first episode featuring her airs Wednesday night June 11.

One thing the 35-year-old Reform rabbi will share, however, is that she was “really determined” to answer correctly the one Jewish question that arose during the game.

“No matter how I did, I didn’t want to be embarrassed, particularly not on a question that my congregants would be like, ‘She doesn’t know that?” she said.

The associate rabbi at Manhattan’s Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Laufer is not the first rabbi — or even the first female one — to appear on the 30-year-old quiz show. In 2011, Rabbi Joyce Newmark, a Conservative rabbi who lives in Teaneck, N.J., won $29,000 on the show.

But Laufer had long dreamed of going on the show, which she grew up watching with her grandmother, an ardent “Jeopardy” fan. She first auditioned for the show as an undergrad at Northwestern University. As a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Los Angeles campus, she made it all the way to the contestant pool but was never called to tape a show.

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The 'Jeopardy' Rabbi

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