No Ticker Tape, But Cheers, as Bible Champion Returns to Brooklyn
Yeshivah of Flatbush High School Senior Wins International Bible Contest - 1st in Diaspora, 2nd in World!
BROOKLYN, N.Y., May 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- On Israel's Independence Day - April 26, 2012, Yeshivah of Flatbush High School senior Akiva Abramowitz stood next to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who congratulated him on receiving coveted titles in the 49th International Bible Contest for Jewish Youth (Hidon HaTanakh Ha-Olami). Akiva won First Place among students of the Diaspora and Second Place in the international contest! Israeli student Elchanan Bloch was the 1st place international winner. Akiva's international prize was particularly outstanding – it is very unusual for a non-Israeli to place among the top three champions.
Viewers throughout the world watched the intense competition as it played on television and was streamed on the Internet. The final rounds are held each year in Jerusalem on Yom Haatzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, and are the culmination of a year of local, regional and national contests throughout the world. This year's competitors came from 24 countries. The national winner of each nation gets to compete in the Diaspora competition, and the top sixteen of all the competitors are entered in the international competition as well. This year those finalists hailed from Canada (4), Costa Rica (1), Israel (4), Mexico (4), Panama (1) and the United States (2).
Rabbi Dr. Raymond Harari, Head of School of the YOF Joel Braverman High School proudly stated, "Akiva's hard work, commitment to learning Torah, and natural abilities enabled him to achieve this unique distinction."
Akiva's classmates welcomed him back to the Joel Braverman High School with a banner in Hebrew proclaiming his accomplishment and much jubilation. The competition was streamed to the yeshivah's auditorium live on Yom Haatzmaut and cheers could be heard throughout the halls as Akiva rose in the rankings. Nachum Segal, radio host of JM in the AM – a Jewish radio program with a broad following throughout the Jewish world, interviewed Akiva on May 9, calling him a "superstar of the Jewish world."
Soon to represent his JBHS Class of 2012 as Salutatorian at graduation, Akiva is also an accomplished musician who plays piano and violin. His college plans include studying at Yeshiva University or Machon Lev of the Jerusalem College of Technology in Israel, where he was awarded a scholarship for his Hidon HaTanakh success.
Akiva has gone with the flow amidst all the tumult, humble and willing to credit a bit of luck to his win and the prowess of his Israeli opponents. Luck notwithstanding, Akiva is outstanding in his knowledge of the Tanakh – the Jewish Bible that is comprised of Torah, Neviim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings) - having memorized large portions of it and mastering understanding of its content and interpretations.
He was thrilled that his achievement earned him a trip with the finalists to Israel – two and a half weeks with the other Hidon participants – traveling, studying and competing in preliminary international tests.
Akiva commented, "I read the Tanakh and have learned so much about it, but in Israel Tanakh really comes alive."
The Abramowitz family is a strong supporter of all Akiva's efforts and has a family tradition of learning Tanakh intensively. Dr. Shira Burnstein Abramowitz, a YOF alumna herself, accompanied Akiva on his trip, along with his two younger brothers, and the rest of his family cheered him on from across the ocean.
Although this year was special, Akiva has been dedicating extra time to learning Tanakh for many years. He thanks Rabbi Avner Taler, Chair of the JBHS Tanakh Department, who served as his advisor during high school, and Mrs. Naomi Suberi-Busany, his advisor while studying in elementary school.
The annual Bible Contest is organized by IDF Chief Education Officer, the IDF Rabbinate, the Defense Ministry, Education Ministry, the Jewish Agency and the JNF. It has a huge following, and dignitaries and celebrities throughout Israel are invited to present the questions and awards to the contestants. The theme of this year's contest was social justice. The Prime Minister has traditionally had the role of questioner in the final round, and current Prime Minister Netanyahu has a special affinity for the Tanakh competition. There is great pride among the Israeli people for being the "People of the Book." There is great pride in the Yeshivah of Flatbush also – for being the People of Akiva!
Diane Chabbott Yeshivah of Flatbush, 718-377-4040 ext 112, firstname.lastname@example.org
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