The 5774 Australian Bible Quiz is scheduled for November 2013, with the winner and runner-up earning a chance to compete in Israel and participate in Bible Camp. To learn more about this year’s quiz, email here.
5773 Australian Quiz Winner Yasmin Schwarz
Yasmin Schwarz, of Melbourne, was the 5773 winner of the Australian Bible Quiz. Along with Sydney’s Galit Taub, the national runner-up, Yasmin participated in the Chidon HaTanach, the World Bible Quiz, held in Jersualem on Yom Ha’atzmaut (14 April). In addition to competing in the quiz, Schwarz and Taub also participated in Bible Camp, a guided tour of Israel with other top Bible Quiz competitors from around the world.
Below is Yasmin’s story, in her own words, of her experience.
By Yasmin Schwarz
Amazing, spectacular, remarkable, wonderful, marvellous, astounding, incredible, inspirational are all words that could describe the experience. But the only way to really explain it was that it was Chidon Hatanach. It was an experience like no other, and I am so grateful to the ZFA for allowing me to partake in a once-in-a-life time experience.
Before I went to Israel it wasn’t about the camp. It was about learning the Tanach and knowing our history. After putting many hours, late nights and a lot of coffee and chocolate bars into it, I can say I did it. Every single second was worth it. The knowledge that I gained which is fundamental to being Jewish is something I am so thankful for the experience. It’s amazing how much you can learn when you are under pressure. When I first started studying it was all about the learning, but now that I look back it’s all about the camp.
When I heard I was going to Israel, I remember feeling ecstatic but hesitant at the same time. But for the next two months I was barely away from my Tanach. Every free second my eyes were glued to the words of Tanach. Even in school, I was reviewing. I remember in Literature reading in class and associating a metaphor that we read to one in Tanach.
And before I knew it I was on the plane studying. When we touched the ground of Israel, I knew that something was different. I arrived early to see family, but I was really studying. I remember driving in the streets of Jerusalem and seeing a name of a street – it was a king. I had walked past that street many times when I had been to Israel before, but this time even looking at a street was different. It was special after learning for a while to be in the land where it happened.
The camp started a few days after I arrived, and I remember walking in, excited and nervous. I was clutching my Tanach. I walked in and looked around. The room was white with some colourful painting, but there were many suitcases of different sizes and colours and people from all over the world. Someone from Nachat came to introduce themself to me and we went down to lunch. At lunch I started speaking to everyone and getting to know them.
The most amazing part of Chidon HaTanach is the quality and number of friendships you can create in two and half weeks. By the time it ended, I felt like I had known some people for years. It’s hard to put it in words, but the friendships that I created are ones that I value and appreciate. Even almost two months later I speak to people on a regular basis. The spirit that travelled around Israel was ecstatic. The singing and dancing on the buses, after an activity before the written test, waiting for the buses etc. were amazing.
What’s amazing is you have 58 people from 26 countries meeting in one city (Jerusalem) for Tanach. Learning by yourself was amazing, but it was amazing to learn with others. We had one Tanach, but if you looked around it was in many languages. When I sat at the Diaspora quiz, I was a nervous wreck. But when I got the answers correct, it was a feeling of pride and joy. It was a weird feeling because when it was over the learning for it was over. After more than a year of studying, I was finished. It was amazing to come even sixth in the Diaspora quiz, and my achievement was a lot of work – worth every minute.
From travelling around Jerusalem, the Old City, countless visits to the Kotel, the city of David, Her Herzl, Yad Veshem to the Shabbat organised by one family, it was amazing. Friday night at the Kotel was fantastic, and the spirit behind everybody and being with everyone was what made it special. We also went to Tel Aviv and mini-Israel, visited Masada, planted a tree, went on a bike ride, visited an archaeological dig and much more.
The touring was great, but it was being with everyone and the knowledge behind us that made it even more special.
Yasmin Schwarz was the Australian Bible Quiz champion for 5773.