Sixty finalists of the Darkeinu Olympic Jewish heritage quiz were flown to Israel from countries in the Former Soviet Union for the final stage of the competition in Jerusalem, last month.
The finalists competed with 1400 students at the ninety Or Avner Chabad Jewish Day Schools, acing exams on a Judaic studies curriculum designed for the children in the Former Soviet union.
Prior to the trip, the finalists conducted a 1500 word research paper on one of the Jewish calendar months. At the competition in Jerusalem they impressed Israelis judges who compared Jewish education in Israel with the Or Avner Chabad day schools.
“It is unbelievable to see the extensive amount of knowledge these children have in Jewish heritage. It is amazing when you think where Jewish education was in the region just a generation ago,” said Dr. Yona Schneider, one of the judges.
The final six competitors were handed a card with two ideas, personalities, or events written on it, and were challenged to explain each subject and then the relationship between them. The winners, Arena Gustrakinha from Saratov, Russia; Partuna Malka from Dneprodzerzhinsk, Ukraine; and Bella Diakova from Moscow, Russia, took home a selection of digital prizes including phones and laptops, as well as medals and certificates.