Nancy Reuben pupils rise to Etgar challenge

Hendon school wins Jewish knowledge quiz contested by 1,000 pupils


Pupils from Nancy Reuben Primary triumphed in the annual Etgar Jewish knowledge challenge, contested by 1,000 Year 5 children from 26 Jewish schools.

Because of the pandemic, this year’s event was held online, with pupils logging in from their classrooms for the quiz, some boisterous singing, plus the viewing of a number of montage videos.

In a first, pupils from Dublin’s Stratford School took part, joining children from virtually all the UK’s mainstream Jewish primaries.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis welcomed the participants and Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely posed one of the questions.

The quiz tested the children’s knowledge of the Jewish calendar, the geography and history of Israel, mitzvot and Tanach. A creative challenge based on the map of the Jerusalem Zoo provided a change of tempo.

Pupils worked in teams of between four and eight with 15 of the 170 teams correctly answering 90 per cent of questions. “We were thrilled to see a large cluster of teams getting almost every question right,” said Etgar manager Atarah Ruback.

“Because we were using an online app for the challenge, the speed of response then became a factor — which is how the top teams were determined.”

As well as the brains trust from Nancy Reuben, “the runners-up from Hasmonean, Kerem, Independent and Morasha all deserve special mention for their exceptional results”.

At the victorious Hendon school, headteacher Anthony Wolfson said its Year 5 pupils had prepared “enthusiastically, learning their general Jewish knowledge in a fun and dynamic way.

“As the Chief Rabbi said in his opening remarks, Jewish learning like this makes Judaism relevant and exciting for the children, who will remember what they have learnt for the rest of their lives.”

Senior Jewish studies teacher Chaya Rubens, who taught Year 5, added that “Etgar has been a wonderful and fulfilling immersive learning experience for every child.

“We used multiple teaching styles to engage our students.”

Teachers from other schools also praised the event, Erica Weinberg from the Stratford School saying “the kids had a terrific time participating and gave a huge cheer when Dublin was given a special welcome. It was special for them to be part of something bigger that connects them to kids in other Jewish communities.”

Michael Kramar from North West London Jewish Day School was impressed by the “huge preparations” the organisers had made and Sacks Morasha’s Justin Kett highlighted the “level of ruach” evident on the day.

Ruchi Feld of Shalom Noam School said the event combined “the right amount of fun and challenge. It really broadens the children’s knowledge, which translates into all their kodesh subjects. Please continue to do your amazing work.”

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