Latin American Champions to Join Shabbaton With First-Ever Spanish Program

A delegation of finalists and their parents from Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia will enjoy a bustling weekend experience at the CKids Shabbaton with dedicated Spanish-speaking programs for the young champions and their parents.

A delegation of children and their parents from Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia are representing their countries at this year’s JewQ Championship. As finalists of the Spanish JewQ program, they will be privy to a bustling weekend experience at the CKids Shabbaton with dedicated Spanish-speaking programs for the young champions and their parents, respectively.

Hebrew Schools have been a staple of Jewish education in the United States since the 1800s. For many unaffiliated Jews, the few years of weekly instruction form the basis of their Jewish knowledge. “In Latin American countries, Hebrew Schools weren’t especially popular,” explains Rabbi Chai Kohan, Director of Merkos 302’s Spanish division. “For Shluchim looking to engage with the youth in their formative years, in countries like Argentina and Guatemala, this proved quite challenging.”

The founding of JewQ in 2021, an engaging gamified learning program for Hebrew school students led by Rabbi Mendel Raskin of CKids International at Merkos 302, enabled Shluchim around the world to revamp their educational efforts with a formal program. Translated into French, Hungarian, Hebrew and Spanish, the program has seen significant interest in Latin America and is active in 10 countries: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, and Spain.

The curriculum is centered on the “Living Jewish” book (or Vivir Como Judío in Spanish), teaching general Jewish knowledge in a child-friendly way. Professional graphics and illustrations make the book compelling for children to study independently as well as use in Hebrew School classes. Students who pass three quizzes throughout the season are eligible for a 4th final test on the entire year’s age-appropriate curriculum. Those who score top marks earn a ticket to the CKids Shabbaton and compete against representatives from 250 cities worldwide in the JewQ International Championship event.

In previous years, Latin American finalists have been lucky enough to join the international CKids program, but some struggled to enjoy it fully in a foreign language. For the first time this year, directed by Mrs. Chavi Lipinski and ably assisted by Mussia Taubenfligel, the finalists, together with a few friends who made the trip, will have a complete program in Spanish, ensuring they have the best experience to reward their significant efforts.

While the children enjoy a busy schedule of trips and entertaining activities, their parents will be free to enjoy a robust educational program of their own. Directed by Rabbi Yosi Lipinski, the schedule features classes and farbrengens from Spanish-speaking Shluchim, including Rabbi Yossi Birman from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Rabbi Mendy Turk from Cordoba, Argentina. The tandem schedules allow kids to be accompanied by their parents in a foreign country while providing a meaningful time for all.

“The JewQ program gives children not only a foundational knowledge base about their heritage but also the experience of being part of an international learning community,” says Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive Director of Merkos 302. “Today more than ever, it is critical for young Jews to have the confidence and pride that develop from a strong foundation of Torah knowledge.”

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.

For more information or to watch the final event this Sunday, visit:

JewQ Latin American Champions 2024:
David Boljover – Rosario, Argentina
Leo Novick – Rosario, Argentina
Tomas Segal – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Natanael Suguer – Córdoba, Argentina
Galit Harf – Cali, Colombia
Yael Schvartzman – Bogotá, Colombia
Noam Hadad – Guayaquil, Ecuador

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