July 9, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

‘Chidon’ Adult Competitors Duke It Out

The tension within the picturesque main sanctuary of the West Side Institutional Synagogue mounted on Sunday afternoon, June 19, as the contestants were seated on the stage and the guests filed in. The musical interlude offered by Cantors Moti Fuchs and Yosef Karavani broke the ice and the program began. Dr. Robert Harris, JTS, Master of Ceremonies introduced Dr. Simcha Leibovich, Representative of the WZO in North America, sponsoring agency of the International Bible Competition for Adults.

The finalists had been selected based upon their scores in the online competition. Ten finalists adorned the stage, including Sima Ancselovics, Avraham Horovitz, Lawrence Kauffman, Joshua Meisner, Alon Magilner, Abraham Rabinowich, Avi Robinson, Yair Shahak, Naomi Suberi-Busany and Nathan Wahl. The contestants hailed from as near as Fresh Meadows and Great Neck and as far away as West Hartford, CT, and Atlanta, GA.

The distinguished panel of judges included Dr. David Breakstone, Vice Chairman of WZO; Rabbi Paul Golomb, Senior Scholar at the Vassar Temple, Poughkeepsie, NY; Mr. Chenanel Malka from the Israel Ministry of Education and Rabbi Gideon Shloush, President of the New York Board of Rabbis. A proud son of Teaneck, Rabbi Ezra Frazer, former Chidon World Champion and former coordinator of the International Youth Bible Competition, served as a judge as well.

A highlight of the program was the presentation made to Ambassador Ido Aharon, Consul General of Israel in New York, with a plaque and sculpture expressing the gratitude of the US Jewish community for his 25 years of devoted service to promoting the good will and interests of Israel. Fittingly, in his acceptance remarks, Aharoni alluded to his father who had been one of the early participants in the Bible classes that took place at the residence and with the participation of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

At the conclusion of two fast-paced rounds during which the contestants were challenged with quotations from throughout Tanach highlighting the qualities of chessed, kind-heartedness, two outstanding finalists were announced. Yair Shahak of New York and Nathan Wahl of Lakewood, NJ, will be competing in the International Bible Competition for Adults in Yerushalayim on Chanukah 5776.

Hatzlacha Rabba to both!

By Pearl Markovitz

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