Family & Education

Hampstead Garden Suburb take the honours in first Etgar Cheder Challenge

Spin-off from popular schools contest launched


A team from Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue were the victors of the inaugural Etgar quiz for cheder children which took place in a country club in Mill Hill on Sunday.

Run jointly with the United Synagogue, it attracted competitors from six US congregations as well as from the S & P Sephardi Community in Lauderdale Road.

Lauderdale Road’s team came second behind the HGS A-team, with Radlett Synagogue’s lone representative in third place.

In the creative challenges, the best “Sinai Times” was produced by Mill Hill D, while Richmond, who travelled furthest to participate, came up with the best stamp designs.

Tamar Berman, director of schools strategy at the US, said,  “The Etgar quiz is a true celebration of Jewish learning and knoweldge and we wanted children who attend cheder to have the same experience as those who attend Jewish schools. They will come away with a strong memory of celebrating their Jewish knowledge. which is a vital experience for all Jewish children.”

In between the tests of knowledge and creativity, there was pizza and brownies and plenty of singing and dancing.

US president Michael Goldstein, who handed out the prizes, said, “There’s definitely a relationship between enjoying yourself and learning.”

Orah Soller, community development manager at Lauderdale Road, hoped it would become an annual fixture. “Now we have an idea of what it entails, we can better prepare the children. But I told them to enjoy the experience and don’t worry about winning.”

Participants, who began learning for the event in January, were tested on their knowledge of the first third of the Etgar Handbook. The Etgar inter-school quiz will take place later this month.

Tova Liebert, a teacher for Richmond, said, “To see such simchah and unbridled joy is something quite special.”

Avital Lev, who helps with Hebrew reading at Mill Hill said, “I think is great to see all the children interacting and sharing their knowledge of Judaism.”

Adam Taub, Etgar co-founder, said, “We hadn’t reached kids who go to non-Jewish schools and go to cheder. This is an opportunity to try and hit as many kids as possible.”

Rabbi Cobi Ebrahimoff, until recently the US Tribe rabbi, who helped to encourage participation, said, “I’d like to see it grow in future. This is the first event of its kind for chedarim and the first event helps create momentum.”

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