Aussies take on the world

Top Australians prepare for World Bible Quiz

Update below

Zahava Rosenblum, 16, of Beth Rivkah Ladies College, and Matthew Lichtig, 14, of Leibler Yavneh College, are competing in the World Bible Quiz this month. Photo by Peter Haskin

Photo by Peter Haskin

The two Australian representatives for the World Bible Quiz have left Australia and are on their way to Israel, preparing for the final rounds of the competition.

Zahava Rosenblum, 16, of Beth Rivkah Ladies College, gained first place and Matthew Lichtig, 14, of Leibler Yavneh College, gained second place in the Zionist Federation of Australia’s (ZFA) national finals in October 2011.

Both Australians are scheduled to compete in the written exam on 18 April, in Israel. The top performer from each country outside of Israel will compete in the Diaspora Quiz on 19 April. The overall championship round is scheduled for Yom Ha’atzmaut, 26 April, with the top 16 scorers from the written test contending for the top young scholar in the world in front of a worldwide audience. The final will be streamed online from Israel’s Arutz Echad television station, www.iba.org.il, at 6 p.m. EST on 26 April.

“On behalf of all Australian Jews, we wish both Zahava and Matthew hatzlacha in this challenging competition against the world’s best,” said ZFA President Philip Chester. “This will be an amazing experience for them, and I know that they will make all of us here in Australia proud. The Zionist Federation of Australia is a proud to be able to support these teenage scholars and encourage youngsters in our community to connect to Israel through the Tanach.”

In addition to the quiz, competitors also spend two weeks on an intensive program touring all over Israel, meeting dignitaries including visits to the offices of the Prime Minister and the IDF Chief of Staff, and making lifelong connections with other young scholars from across the world.

Update 20 April

Facing a more difficult competition than in years’ past, Zahava was one place shy of making the grand final, finishing in tenth place behind a four-way tie on the 18 April written exam. The finalists this year needed a score of 35 points out of 50, whereas last year’s finalists needed only 27 out of 50. But she qualified for the Diaspora championship.

For Yom HaShoah, contestants had a ceremony and watched Holocaust films. They went to Mount Herzl and went on a tour of the Old City in the context of Moses Montefiore’s reforms to extending Jerusalem. On Friday, the group went to Yad Vashem before getting away for family Shabbat.

Zahava, who shares a room with Canadian, Romanian and Dutch girls, wrote “I am making global friends and having a really great time :D .”

Update 26 April

Zahava placed 6th in the Diaspora competition. See a picture of her and the other competitions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (she is the third to the left of him).

Meanwhile, here is a picture of Matthew at the Kotel with IDF soldiers and other contestants, courtesy Beverley Honig (Matthew is second from right in the back row). Matthew said: “I now have a global connection to Israel that links me to all of the top brains in the world whilst enjoying the amazing experience of the Tanach Camp with hikes and tiyulim plus visits to Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. Thanks to the ZFA for making this possible.”:
Matthew Lichtig at the Kotel (second from right in the back row)

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