In the late 18th century, Europe — and then, the world — was shaken up by strange machine. A chess-playing automoton took on all comers and often won.
Dressed in a turban and robes and named "The Turk", the automoton was the brainchild of Austrian inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen. Sitting at a counter that was topped by a chess board, The Turk would somehow respond to a rival's move. Among his opponents were Napoleon and Benjamin Franklin. Napoleon lost, and wasn't too happy about it.
How did The Turk pull it off? Was von Kempelen centuries ahead of his time, not just in terms of robotics, but also artificial intelligence? Perhaps there was a simpler explanation. Did The Turk have his hands pulled like a marionette? Maybe there was a midget hidden inside the counter that made The Turk move?
Not quite a midget. It was a chess master, crouched inside the machine. Using a complicated system of magnets and levers, the chess master was able to discern his opponent's moves and make The Turk respond.
So how did we arrive at a "Barely a Jew" verdict? Well, one of the operators who sat inside The Turk's cabinet was French rabbi Aaron Alexandre, one of the top chess players of his time.
Yes, a Jew sitting inside a Turk. There is a first time for everything...