The Jewish Chronicle
IN THE KNOW RECORD SCHOOL QUIZ
THE PRIMARY school knowledge champions of 2019 are Noam from Wembley, who emerged as victors in this year’s record-breaking Etgar Challenge.
Some 1,100 children from schools in England —along with one from Israel — competed in the annual Jewish knowledge quiz at Wembley Stadium last Thursday.
While Noam proved best overall school, Kerem from Hampstead Garden Suburb were runners-up and Hasmonean from Hendon in third.
The top-performing table was the Kerem D team, with Noam A and Sacks Morasha C from North Finchley joint second and Etz Chaim A from Mill Hill in next place.
As well as proving their familiarity with the contents of the Etgar Handbook, teams also showed their creative skills.
The Israel map poster contest was won by Immanuel Preparatory School’s A team from Bushey, with Sacks Morasha C second, while Bury and Whitefield took the honours in the Letter to Batya test and Sacks Morasha C again coming second.
The event has grown every year since 200 pupils took part the first time it was staged in 2013.
Avraham Sassooni, from Rimon Jewish Primary School in Golders Green, was one of the hopeful 10 to 11year-olds from year five with his heart set on winning the coveted trophy for his school. “We have been practising as a class all year and we have a lot of hope that we will win,” he explained.
His team captain Alon Shteinberg interrupted to remind him of the countdown fast approaching on the poster round. “We only have ten minutes left. Let’s go, people!” Alon said.
Jo Rosenfelder, co-founder of Etgar, was excited to see the children engaging so positively with the quiz.
“We wanted to create an event that would build a strong sense of Jewish identity and give the children a fun way to learn,” she said.
“Some of the questions are very tricky but they take it really seriously and often schools will score more than 90 per cent.”
For Rimon teacher, Sarah Bernstein, it “is a great way of getting them to cover a lot of ground in a fun way and it gives us teachers a great structure.”
She described the atmosphere as a like “a big barmitzvah”. It was the second time that her school was taking part.
So keen was the competition that some schools had been running practice competitions to prepare for the big day, even pitting students against parents to make the challenge stiffer.
Fay Abrahams, from Nancy Reuben Primary in Hendon, enjoyed composing the letter from Moses to Pharaoh’s daughter, Batya.
“We had to write about how we parted the sea and at the end of letter we wrote ‘Love Moshe xo xo’. It was so stressful,” she said.
Micha Beider said: “I was shouting all the time, the atmosphere is great.
It has been really fun learning new things and it exciting that we get to show it off. I want to win.”
Rabbi Simcha Kirschenbaum said his Nancy Reuben students were “competitive and enjoy studying the material.
It is a nice way to learn Jewish knowledge and important in strengthening identify.”
For Nina Crasnow-Dodd, from Simon Marks Jewish Primary School in Stoke Newington, the best part of the day was the dancing and pizza.“It is so fun, she said. “We have been revising at school for ages and it sounds cliché to say but it brings us all together.”
Her team mate Meriah Bakare said she enjoyed the part of the quiz where they had to “solve problems and remember the facts and dates like when Israel was created”.
For Leo Eroglu, the most exciting part was listing the kosher animals. “Did you know there is such thing as kosher insects?” he said, referring to locusts.
Rabbi Coby Ebrahimoff, executive head of King Solomon School in Israel, — and former head of Hendons’ Independent Jewish Day School — said his pupils “love it”.
It is the third time he has brought children from the bilingual school in Ramat Hasharon.
“It is an amazing opportunity to provide children the chance to travel and connect with Jewish children in Britain,” he said.
Rabbi Zach Ford of Kerem said, “We continue to be immensely proud of the performance of our year fives — congratulations to them for all their hard work again.”
His school has an enviable record; apart from this year’s success, it took the team quiz trophy last year as well as the year before.
The competition, Rabbi Ford said, was “yet again expertly planned by the Etgar team and it was incredible to see a record number of Jewish children sharing and celebrating Jewish learning together.
“As the Chief Rabbi admirably described it, ‘At Etgar, everyone is a winner’.”
As the Chief Rabbi said, ‘At Etgar, everyone is a winner’