After traveling to last year’s JewQ competition and being so impressed with the event, a Hebrew School family approached their shluchim about bringing the program to their Hebrew School.
Francine Venit, a Jewish mother from Wilmington, DE, is always looking to provide the best opportunities for her children, and when it came to her Jewish heritage, she wanted to make sure her kids were more than well-attuned.
So when hearing of JewQ, the international Jewish knowledge competition where kids from hundreds of Hebrew schools worldwide compete on their Jewish knowledge, she knew this was something she wanted to check out. Together with her daughter Yakova, they took the trip to New Jersey to watch last year’s championship and see for themselves what the program is all about.
“It was so exciting and such a fun event, I turned to my mother and said, Mom, I want to be a part of this,” said Yakova, a third grader at JKidz Hebrew school in Wilmington. Seeing her daughter’s enthusiasm about the program, Francine decided to approach Chaya Schechter of Chabad’s JKidz Hebrew school with the idea of bringing JewQ to the Wilmington Jewish community.
Following the grassroots request, the JKidz Hebrew school incorporated the JewQ curriculum and competition into the Hebrew school learning, inspiring the kids to take on the JewQ challenge.
Developed by CKids, the JewQ competition is designed to encourage children to learn the fundamentals of their Jewish heritage through an engaging curriculum, exciting incentives, and culminating in an international competition.
“JewQ is all about helping Jewish kids learn about Judaism in a fun and engaging manner,” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, “seeing the children inspired to the extent that they launch it in their communities is the greatest fulfillment of that vision.”
After three exams and a regional JewQ championship event with family and friends in attendance, two finalists were announced. Nava Kates and Yakova Venit with the highest grade score and winner of the local JewQ competition, respectively. Standing proud and tall, Nava and Yakova lifted the JewQ Local Champion trophies to a standing ovation from the audience, applauding them for their efforts. With emotions running high, those who have helped Nava and Yakova in their journey from their parents, rabbi, and other Hebrew school volunteers burst into tears of joy.
“Seeing the student’s dedication to their studies and putting in hours and hours of learning has been remarkable,” said Rabbi Motti Flickstein, director of JKids Hebrew School.
Francine couldn’t have been more proud. “It has been so exciting seeing Yakova grow and gain knowledge week after week that she otherwise would not know from basic Hebrew school. Watching her up on stage win the game show and the trophy was the ultimate wow!”
“JewQ has allowed me to learn new things that I never knew before, and I felt so good seeing the results of my hard work,” expressed Yakova.
Nava and Yakova will represent Wilmington at the international JewQ championship in Stamford, CT, on March 26. Together with 150 other finalists from around the world, they will be vying for the International JewQ Champion title.