Source: Lookjed List
Recently The Lookstein Center's Lookjed Mail List, featured an essay on the Chidon HaTanach - The US National Bible Contest. In contrast with standard Lookjed posts, however, this one offered the perspective of two students on their experience as participants in this program. Ezra Frazer, the coordinator of the Chidon HaTanach in the United States presented an introduction to the program, its goals and purpose. Yishai and Yael Eisenberg wrote an essay that describes the Chidon from the perspective of student participants.
The US National Bible Contest (Chidon HaTanach) is a contest that the Jewish Agency for Israel sponsors for American Jewish youth in grades 6-11. The contest tests students on the details of stories in several Biblical books. Last year, we studied selections from the books of Vayikra, Bemidbar, Melachim, Yeshayahu (for high school only), Ezra, and Nechemiah.
The contest groups divides students by grade level into separate groups for junior high students and high school students (through grade 11). Within each age group, Day School students (of all denominations) take exams in Hebrew, while others take exams in English. On the basis of preliminary exams, high scorers are invited to the national finals in New York in May. The top scorer on each exam in New York wins a free trip to represent the USA in the subsequent year’s International Contest in Jerusalem. In 2012, over 280 students took the preliminary exams. Of these, approximately 110 students traveled to New York to compete in the national finals.
Yishai and Yael Eisenberg, two siblings who excelled in last year's Chidon, reflected on what they learned from the Chidon:
"We spent a lot of time this school year studying for the National Chidon Tanach, and we wanted to tell people what we learned from it. Aside from the Torah knowledge we gained, we learned many other things as well."
They wrote about:
- Pain and Pleasure
- Chidon and School
- Skills and Appreciation of the Rabbis
- Tanach: Our Heritage
- Jewish Appreciation
- Call to Action
"All Jewish Day Schools should have Chidon programs! It builds school spirit, since everyone can cheer on the "Chidoners", and everyone can be a part of it, and every participant is a winner. It is a way that every school can be a part of the Jewish people regardless of their level of Jewish observance, through their love for Tanach. And for the most part, Day Schools are covering this this material anyway. Why not review it, and learn for Chidon?"
Read their entire essay at the Lookjed Archives.