A white card reads: "What do you fear is more harmful to Jews in the 2020s? A. The patriarchy. B. The cost of Jewish education. C. Taking the Pew Report seriously. D. Chocolate hummus."
Jewish Card Revoked asks players to weigh in on serious stuff.

Test your Jewish cred in new party game Jewish Card Revoked

Ever find yourself arguing over who’s the best Jewish nerd in TV history, or which treyf food you wish could be kosher, or why Jews leave stones on graves? Now you can figure out the “answers” to those questions and others — 82 in all! — by playing  Jewish Card Revoked, a new game aimed at MOTs in a party mood.

(By the way, the “correct” answers are Howard Wolowitz from “The Big Bang Theory,” chicken Parmesan, and “Because Larry David took all the flowers.”)

At least those are some of the answers cooked up by Molly Zeff and her team of quipsters at Flying Leap Games who developed Jewish Card Revoked — part of a card-game universe set in motion by Cards for All People, purveyors of the popular Black Card Revoked and Latino Card Revoked.

Zeff felt the time was right for a similar Jewish card game, but would the company she co-founded, Boston-based Flying Leap Games, be allowed to produce it? Yes! Jay Bobo, founder of Cards for All People, gave it the green light when Zeff contacted him.

“I told him Jews like to make fun of themselves,” Zeff recounted. “I mentioned I’d love to be involved in a Jewish Revoked edition. He was very enthusiastic. He said you know your own culture, so follow your gut.”

The game's box on a table. The box features blue illustrations of challah, a shofar, a menorah and other Jewish objets. The tagline reads, "A party game about Jewish culture, from gefilte fish to guilt."And she did. Zeff, 37, worked with friends, associates and even comedians to develop the game. They devised standard categories such as food, culture, entertainment, customs and holidays, then added a few quirky ones, such as awkward family time and worry. Oh, and bagels, too.

Like other Revoked games, each question card poses four possible answers. Players must debate which is the best one and vote for their choice. Majority rules, and the player or team with the most agreed-upon answers wins. However, correctness in this game is subjective. By design, players of every level of Jewish observance or knowledge can weigh in on any question.

Most questions border on the frivolous. For example, one asks what gefilte fish should be. One of the four options: Taken from a jar. Another one: Blotted from the memory of the Jewish people.

Other questions touch on more serious subjects, such as why the Jews were expelled from Spain during the Inquisition. But with one of the possible answers “We should ask Monty Python,” players quickly get the idea that the game isn’t too serious. Another question asks what poses the most harm to Jews today, and one answer is “chocolate chummus.”

“We were really careful not to put in things that would trigger people,” Zeff said. “Being hyperfocused on the user experience, we wanted to make it the most fun possible. You’re playing a game, for crying out loud.”

"Jewish Card Revoked" creator Molly Zeff (right) with some of the game's devoted early testers.
Jewish Card Revoked creator Molly Zeff (right) playing her game with a group in Brooklyn.

Zeff has been game for games her whole life. Growing up in St. Louis, she clocked countless hours playing Taboo, Balderdash and Apples to Apples.

Raised in a Conservative household, Zeff found herself drawn to stricter Jewish observance during her college days. She described herself today as “a traditional, egalitarian, Jewish hippie who also attends progressive Orthodox services.”

After working in the nonprofit world for years, she changed course in 2017, starting Flying Leap Games with childhood friend Jonathan Cannon. “I pictured grown-ups sitting around a table writing ridiculous questions all day long for a living,” she said. “I thought that would be fun.”

Yes, but the fun begat success, quickly. That first year, Flying Leap Games created Wing It, an unexpected hit at a Game Manufacturers Association trade show that sold out its first printing in only four weeks. In 2020, the Million Dollar Doodle (“think ‘Shark Tank’ meets the game ‘Telestrations,’” one article stated) became the company’s third game.

If Jewish Card Revoked becomes a hit, Zeff said, she wants to create expansion packs with additional questions and answers, and/or perhaps a Broadway version or an Israel-centric version.

But first, Zeff added, she simply wants Jewish Card Revoked to inspire people to put down their dreidels and reach for a deck whose box promotes “A party game about Jewish culture from gefilte fish to guilt.”

“I think we managed to create something that will lead to laughter without the risk of alienating anyone,” Zeff said.

Jewish Card Revoked is available at Afikomen Judaica in Berkeley and Games of Berkeley. Or order online at flyingleapgames.com.

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.