With just a few weeks until the Grand Championship Finale in New Jersey, the JewQ International Torah Championship wrapped up an incredible season with a local event hosted by Chabad of Plano Hebrew School Feb. 6.
“What are the three categories of blessings?”
“What are the names of the 12 Tribes?”
“How many Jewish holidays can you name in 90 seconds?”
At the regional championship event, Hebrew school students from around the Plano area went head-to-head in a live game show competition, answering questions like these.
For the past few months, these third through seventh graders have been spending their spare time going over and over information outlined in JewQ’s “Living Jewish,” which contains the fundamentals of Jewish life. The textbook’s chapters cover everything from basic prayers to Jewish heroes and everything in between. Onstage, kids had to jog their memory and recall countless different pieces of information that they’ve picked up.
This year, 18 students from Chabad of Plano’s Hebrew School made the choice to participate in the global JewQ competition, where contestants were challenged to master core Jewish concepts and compete at a local and international level. From Plano to Melbourne, Australia, over 2,000 students from across the globe have participated in this year’s JewQ competition.
Months of study and hard work has paid off as our regional champions, Noam Swisa, Ido Leff and Aviva Sacks, are now qualified as finalists in the international JewQ competition, which will be held in New Jersey on March 13.
“I love learning about Jewish history! JewQ has made it fun to combine my love for competition with Judaism.” said Aviva. A similar sentiment was echoed by Ido. “The experience I had was really fun, and I learned a lot of new things. I was able to put my new knowledge to good use at the local competition, which got me a chance to compete in the international one.”
“We’re so proud of how hard our students have been working,” says Esther Horowitz, director of Chabad of Plano Hebrew School. “When kids are motivated to learn, they really soak up the material like a sponge and it is downright inspiring to watch.”
Parents have made similar comments about the impact the JewQ competition has had on their families. “JewQ has been a great journey for Noam and for our family. It was an awesome learning opportunity, and we are so happy that we had the privilege to take part in this adventure! The bonus for all this hard work is the Shabbaton and International Championship in March, which Noam is so excited to participate in.” says Rachel Ben Yaish, Noam’s mom.
This is the third year that Chabad of Plano Hebrew School has offered the JewQ program, and plans are in the works to expand next year and also offer this program to children not enrolled in a Hebrew school.