Students in more than 50 schools nationwide have been studying for the past six months, taking three regional exams. The exams, focusing on five Sifrei Tanach (Devarim, Yehoshua, Ruth, Iyov and Daniel), assess depth of retention, analysis, and application of the text for each of the respective sefarim. Of the 300 participants, approximately 100 qualify to compete in the contest.
All but one of the 15 Californian students selected this year will represent Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy. Twenty students in the academy’s Bet Midrash Program took on the challenge of qualifying for the National Bible Contest; 14 of them will be contenders this Sunday. According to the students’ mechanechet and the Chidon HaTanach instructor, morah Zippi Klein, “We heard that schools send four or five students, and that some get eight or ten. We never imagined that 70 percent of our class would get invited.”