Akiva Kaltmann, a year 9 student at Glen Eira College and United Jewish Education Board (UJEB), won the 2015 Victorian State Bible Quiz held Sunday, 30 August at Beth Weizmann Community Centre. Ariella Woolf, a year 9 student at Beth Rivkah Ladies College, was runner up. Both Akiva and Ariella will represent Victoria at the National Bible Quiz Final to be held in December.
The Victorian final was moderated by Mr Ian Waller QC, President of Mizrachi. The quiz, comprised of a written exam and oral “quiz show” component, was prepared by Dr Shira Bloch. Judges Tallilah May and Shavi Slodowitz were impressed by the level of knowledge shown by the participants.
For the first time, the Zionist Council of Victoria developed an on-line support tool using Facebook to provide participants with study assistance and to connect them with one another and with a mentor, past participant Edward Lichtig.
Both the winner and runner up of the National Bible Quiz will represent Australia in May at the International Bible Camp and Quiz. Last year’s Victorian winner, Lele Kaltmann, represented Australia in the 2014 International Bible Quiz in Israel. In addressing the quiz participants, she spoke about her experience at the camp. “There is a special bond created when people have a common love, and I found that all my new friends and I shared the love of Tanach,” she said.
Michele Bernshaw, Education Chair of the Zionist Council of Victoria which sponsored the quiz, was impressed by the dedication of the quiz participants. “Participation in the Bible Quiz is no simple undertaking,” she said. “It takes months of preparation, and these students took the task seriously. I hope that, moving forward, more local students will be motivated to participate in this competition.”
President of the Zionist Council, Sam Tatarka was likewise impressed. “One has to bear in mind that participation in this competition is entirely voluntary,” he said. “It requires an enormous effort in studying and mastering our core Jewish texts.”
All of the study is worthwhile, says 2014 winner Lele Kaltmann. “Although the Bible Quiz may have a reputation of being a geeky competition,” she said, “the competition has taught me essential skills for life and has taught me how to truly study.”
For information about next year’s quiz, potential participants may contact the Zionist Council of Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.org or 9272 5544.