Family & Education

Naima pupils are top of the class at Etgar 2024

North West London Jewish Day School was crowned best overall school


Etgar 2024 winners Naima JPS (Photo: Naima JPS)

Wembley stadium has hosted everything from the FA Cup Final to Tayor Swift’s concerts, but this week was surely the most exciting event of the season, with almost 1,000 Jewish students arriving to compete in the annual Etgar inter-school Jewish knowledge challenge.

The Naima Jewish Preparatory School Year 5 team emerged victorious from multiple teams from the 28 schools taking part.

Also coming away with a coveted award was North West London Jewish Day School, which was the best overall school, scoring the highest average across all its teams.

Children from the Naima Year 5 team were overjoyed and ran up on stage for their medals. Miriam and Nathaniel, two Naima pupils, were singled out by their classmates as the stars of the team. “They’re why we won!” one of them said.

Nathaniel said he was up with his mum until 10pm the night before. He made her test him “inside and out” on the Etgar curriculum, he told the JC

“I feel amazing,” said teammate Miriam, “and we couldn’t have done it without everyone working together.”

Children from North West London Jewish Day School were equally delighted to be taking home a trophy, having also been crowned winners last year. 

Pupil Leila said: “It was an exhilarating experience. I didn't think we would win again. I was holding a paper cup at the time when they announced the top performing school, and when they said: 'Last year's winners - North West', I threw the cup into the air and started jumping up and down.”

Her teammate Sophia said: “It was a unique event. I felt the importance of each question, knowing that it could make all the difference. Thankfully, all the hard work paid off!”

Rabbi Zach Ford, teacher of the Etgar curriculum at North West, said: “Etgar's huge success is all based on Jewish children being proud of who they are and where they come from - we are certainly proud to have won the the 'Best Overall School' award this year.”

In second place for individual team winner was Beit Shvidler in Edgware, and in third, a team from King David Primary School from Birmingham.

King David Primary Schoool in Manchester won gold in the design competition, and Broughton Jewish Cassel Fox Primary School in Manchester won the Song for Israel round.

But whether pupils came away with a prize or not, everyone seemed to enjoy the day. Nikki Litman, a teacher from Hertsmere Jewish Primary School, said: “The kids really feel part of something and get to learn about all different areas of Judaism. It’s the highlight of Year 5!”

Children from Hertsmere were definitely having a good time. One student said her favourite part was “all the dancing”.

A Rimon pupil’s favourite part was writing a song for Israel – part of the creative round of the quiz. “I wrote about how Israel is an open space and a homeland for all Jews,” he said.

It wasn’t just pupils and teachers in attendance. Local religious leaders were there to support their local community, and Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis gave an inspiring speech to the children as the points were tallied.

Rabbi Nick Kett from Radlett Synagogue described Etgar as “one of the most important educational events for the children in their school career”. He said: “The atmosphere is amazing, and it’s so great to see children enjoying learning about Judaism in a way which is educational and engaging.”

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