Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sometimes it’s good to take a deep breath of fresh air and inhale the celebratory oxygen of Jewish education and the continuity it ensures.

In our pages this week, just days prior to the celebration of 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, we report on the collective nachat that was the 2017 Chidon HaTanach national finals at Manhattan Day School.

High school juniors Esther Werblowsky and Shira Orlian, and Yehuda Zinberg, a sixth grader (!!), will represent the United States in the televised international finals next Yom Ha’atzmaut in Israel. They were among the students who took the top honors in the 2017 Chidon National Finals, which also included Teaneck’s own Ephraim Helfgot, who, as a freshman, achieved third place in the nation in the Hebrew High School division. See our cover story for as complete an article as possible that includes our students who competed in the finals (scores and rankings beyond the top three were not yet available at press time).

Every student who took the Chidon exam studied and succeeded in learning over 70 chapters of Tanach. They are part of a growing movement of over 400 participating students and some 70 Chidon clubs, currently run by Dovi Nadel at the Jewish Agency and formerly by our friend, fellow Teaneck resident and Chidon Nationals judge-for-life Rabbi Ezra Frazer.

These huge victories that heighten the already high level of Torah knowledge by our middle school and high school students need to be celebrated. We don’t write this just to offset the ridiculous notions of an out-of-line presidential administration staffer, but to show not only the Jewish people but the entire world that Tanach is and has always been the pulse of the Jewish people, from Biblical times to our contemporary day.

The students who participate now in the Chidon are also learning for the younger children in school behind them, and for the generations that will follow. That learning cannot stop, and must be valued and encouraged. The stronger our Jewish education, the stronger our Jewish continuity and connection to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.

We wish all our students in our coverage area who competed in the Chidon a hearty yasher koach. We celebrate your wonderful accomplishments, and we at The Jewish Link are your biggest, most unabashed fans.