Months of studying paid off this Sunday: Chidon finalists tested their skills at the grand Sefer Hamitzvos tournament in Crown Heights.
Over 1,400 people gathered today in the School of the Deaf Auditorium to watch contestants display the knowledge they have accumulated over months of intensive studying and test-taking. The stage was set with a huge 20-foot LED screen, colored lighting and surround sound, and a game show created especially for the Chidon event, making each contestant feel like a celebrity.
The program began with a video of the Rebbe elaborating on the importance of limud haRambam, and then progressed to the competition rounds. Divided into six teams named after volumes of Rambam, the boys used buzzers to answer a rapid-fire stream of questions from the master of ceremonies, Rabbi Yehoshua Lustig, principal of Oholei Torah. Their answers were judged by Rabbi Zalman Glick, Rabbi Sholom Laine, and Rabbi Ginsberg Editor-in-Chief and Senior Editor of the Yahadus Living Lessons Curriculum. As well as brothers Rabbis Levi and Yosef Zirkind who also took responsibility for the Chidon tests and final gameshow, creating questions and grading them. They are keeping the legacy of their beloved father Rabbi Yitzchok Zirkind a”h – a pioneer of the original Chidon Sefer Hamitzvos – alive. Sister Mushka Zirkind participated as well, writing a song about Hakhel that was performed by Eli Marcus with music by Chony Milecki and Special surprise guests Avi and Yehudah Piamenta.
“The energy in the room was electric,” says Rabbi Shimmy Weinbaum, executive director of Chayolei Tzivos Hashem.
Animated debates over the correct responses took place at each table on stage, while the judges carefully considered the answers. “How many mitzvos do we learn from Shema?” “For which mitzva is there no limit?” “What three mitzvos have to do with a Novi?” Each team presented their impressive knowledge with chayus; the final scores were close.
The medal ceremony wrapped up the exhilarating event. Individual winners of the bronze, silver, and gold medals in each grade were announced by Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum, Principal of Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, and handed out by Rabbi Sholom Ber Buamgarten, Director of Tzivos Hashem international. The proud champions were rewarded with sets of Rambam, and of course the resounding applause and cheers of the audience.
“We could not be more proud of each and every finalist,” says Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson, executive director of Tzivos Hashem. “We are sure the Rebbe received much nachas from this event.”
Lubavitch Educational Center Florida – Shneur Zalman Steinberg
Yeshiva Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch Montreal – Menachem Mendel Plotkin
Cheder Lubavitch Morristown – Menachem Mendel Blesofsky
Cheder Chabad Toronto – Yisroel Plotkin
Lubavitch Boys School London – Shmuel Citron
Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburg – Avraham Dovid Rosenblum
Cheder Menachem LA – Mendel Fischer
Cheder Menachem Monsey – Eliyahu Teitelbaum
Cheder Chabad Toronto – Levi Kamman
Yeshiva Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch Montreal – Avrohom Menachem Nelken
Cheder Chabad Toronto – Mendel Kamman
Cheder Chabad Monsey – Menachem Mendel Teitelbaum
Cheder Lubavitch Chicago – Nochum Baron
Cheder Chabad Toronto – Mendy Steiner
Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburg – Sholom Dovber Shur
MyShliach – Yosef Yitzchok Volfman
Cheder Menachem Wilkes-Barre – Tzvi Levitin
Cheder Chabad Toronto – Yehoshua Slavin
Lubavitch Educational Center Florida – Mendy Rubinstein
Cheder Menachem L.A. – Yossie Heidingsfeld
Cheder Chabad Toronto – Mendel Slavin
Oholei Torah – Sholom Dovber Hendel
My Shliach – Chaim Yehuda Pewzner
MyShliach – Nochum Labkovsky
MyShliach – Yechiel Zirkind
Cheder Chabad L.A. – Zali Raichik