Australian’s Chani Charak aged 16, a student at Kesser Torah school in Sydney and Chaya Leah (Lele) Kaltmann aged 17, a student at Beth Rivka Ladies College in Melbourne, competed in the 52nd World Bible Quiz which was held in Israel with the theme of “Kibbutz Galuyot” (ingathering of the Diasporas).
The quiz is an annual Israel Independence Day tradition and the winner this year was Israeli, Eyal Yitzhak Matas, a 15 year old Yeshiva student from Petah Tikva. He answered questions from President Benjamin Netanyahu and a panel of judges, who included Bat-Galim Shaer, the mother of Gil-Ad, one of the three Israeli teenagers abducted and killed by Palestinians prior the start of Operation Protective Edge.
Chani Charak finished 3rd in the Diaspora quiz and just missed out in competing in the live telecast of the quiz.
Chani Charak and Chaya Leah (Lele) Kaltmann were two of 67 contestants who competed in their home states and countries before making it to the worldwide event.
Prior to the commencement of the quiz, students took part in a Tanach Camp with other participants from all over the world, they were taken on tours through Israel meeting a range of people from across the globe.
Chani Charak said: –
“It was a great experience, I really enjoyed learning Tanach, I really appreciate it more. The experience of the camp itself was great, (I) met a whole lot of new friends, met a whole lot of new people. The experience of being with a massive of collection of people who all studied together and to be able to study with these people before the test was also great, and to spend time with all these people that spend time with Tanach was making a dream a reality.”
After Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the winners he said: –
“Soldiers who swear allegiance to the country receive a Bible book. The Bible is the sources of our strength, I value it as the Makor Mayim Chayyim (“Fountain of Living Waters”) and it is important that our youths and children draw from this well.”
He also encouraged participants to make Aliya.
Lele Kaltmann said: –
“It’s been so amazing meeting such amazing people and important people and it’s such a life changing experience.”
Only 16 of the 67 contestants made it to the final round.
The International Bible Quiz (chidon tanach) is an opportunity for students from all over the world to compete on their knowledge of 400 pages of the Tanach.
The winner receives a scholarship to Machon Lev, the Jerusalem College of Technology. The quiz is run by the Education Department of the Israel Defence Force. The Australian contestants are selected out of the National Bible Quiz, organised by the ZFA.