JewQ Inspires Latin American Jewish Kids to Torah Learning

JewQ Latin America has brought the International Torah Championship to Chabad Hebrew Schools in 8 countries, motivating a whole new demographic of kids to learn Torah in their free time.

At Chabad of Ecuador, kids don’t run out to play anymore the minute they arrive for Shabbat morning services. Now, they spend some time learning from their JewQ textbooks before going outside with their friends. “Children are happy to use their free time to learn more about Judaism,” says Menucha Rochel Fried, shluchah to Guayaquil, Ecuador. 

“During recess, I hear the kids talking about the interesting information they are learning. A boy who doesn’t usually like to sit and study went over all the material at home and got a 110% on the first test!”

Since JewQ launched four years ago, over 4,500 kids have been motivated to learn Torah in their free time as part of the international Torah competition. “The fun and competitive style of learning is so contagious,” says Rabbi Zalmy Lowenthal, director CKids. “JewQ has expanded worldwide to 168 chapters in 21 different countries, with more countries reaching out wanting to join.” JewQ Latin America is the latest in a series of countries that launched JewQ since the Covid pandemic, such as Australia and France, with JewQ Ukraine launching in fall of 2022. 

“CKids is on the forefront of spreading Torah throughout the globe—literally,” says Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, director of Merkos 302. “Every Jewish neshama that’s affected is priceless.”

Hundreds of kids worked hard to learn, review, and study. They come from 8 different countries in Latin America, including Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador. A new JewQ website designed for the Latin American community keeps everyone connected:

“It’s very exciting to bring this amazing program to a whole new demographic of Jews,” says Rabbi Chai Kohan, Spanish coordinator at Merkos 302 headquarters; the Living Jewish textbook was translated into Spanish, then printed for all of the participating Latin American countries. The tests, online games, and JewQ marketing materials were also translated, making it easy for Latin American countries to adapt the highly-successful program to their hometowns. “Parents loved the book, the idea of JewQ…the entire program!” says Bracha Karniel, shlucha to Panama.

The Living Jewish book includes fundamentals of Jewish life, and kids were assigned to study from different chapters depending on their grade level. Each grade focused on a different topic, ranging from the Jewish calendar to Jewish heroes. Two tests were given over the past school year, and the final test covering all material just happened last Sunday. 

“The Living Jewish book has become the most valuable treasure in our home,” one parent from Panama told her shlucha.

The six cities that make up Argentina’s JewQ chapters will unite for a regional JewQ Shabbaton honoring all the hard work of JewQ champions. ”We are so proud of all the children that are participating and growing in their Torah knowledge!” says Rabbi Tzvi Grunblatt, Head Shliach of Argentina. The other countries will join the program virtually from their locations around the region.

The JewQ finale of Latin America, a celebration of Torah and Jewish children, will take place on November 21st.

The dedicated work of the JewQ team in Latin America led by Rabbi Yehudah and Chaya Slonim, Chabad of Colombia and Rabbi Levi and Etti Silberstein, Tzach Chabad of Argentina and coordinated by Mushkie Kohan, Chani Preter, and Rabbi Iejezjel Kostzer, made the program such a success.

JewQ Latin America is made possible through the partnership of the Toledo family, sponsored in loving memory of Raquel Esquenazi de Toledo z”l, a loving wife, mother and grandmother.

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