May 26, 2024
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2020 Dr. Shimshon Isseroff USA Chidon HaTanach Winners Crowned

The world of corona sparks creative innovations daily. Rabbi Dovi Nadel, coordinator of the Dr. Shimshon Isseroff USA Chidon HaTanach, added to these innovations on Sunday, August 23, when he hosted a virtual closing round to the 2020 Chidon, which served as well as the launch for the 2021 contest. This past May, the Chidon was renamed in honor of Dr. Shimshon Isseroff, the first chairman of the Chidon HaTanach over six decades ago, who resides in Teaneck.

On the morning of August 23, the top four winners in each division of the Chidon—Hebrew Middle School, English and Hebrew High School—took a rigorous exam in their homes based upon 196 new perakim of Tanach that they were assigned at the beginning of the summer. According to Nadel, this exam served as the final round of the May 2020 competition. The winners of this final round go on to represent the USA at the International Chidon in Israel this upcoming Yom Ha’atzmaut. The rigorous exam was taken under the surveillance of multiple video camera cameras to provide optimal supervision.

A full online day and evening program, celebrating Tanach, was held after the exams. Two back-to-back virtual tours of Israel following historical events of the Israeli kings of Israel and Judah were conducted by tour guide and Biblical scholar Nachliel Selevan. At 5PM the long anticipated “Giant International English Kahoot” attracted chidon students from across the world. The Kahoot, led by Amichai Bannett, director of the International Chidon, was held on site from the excavations of the City of David.

After a recap of the national competition in May, the ten national champions were presented. A National Kahoot featuring monetary prizes was conducted. This was followed by nationwide learning during which the champions recited the first pesukim of Devarim to start the nationwide learning of Sefer Devarim, the first sefer to be learned for the 2021 season.

Finally, the momentous crowning of the four champions who will be representing the USA in Israel on Yom Ha’Atzmaut was announced. The first place winner was Beni Romm, from Yeshivat Frisch and in second place was Elana Rosenblatt, from Bruriah High School in the Hebrew high school division. Eliana Levenzon, an independent registrant from Michigan topped the English division. Sarah Shaye, from Harkham Hillel in Chicago, was the middle school division winner and will compete in Israel.

Worthy of warm honorable mentions for high scores: In the middle school division was Samuel Colchamiro from The Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, in third place. Adielle Rosenblum, from Manhattan High School, was also a high scorer, achieving third in the Hebrew high school division. Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School’s Eli Novick also placed fourth in the same division.

By Pearl Markovitz

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