Over 2,000 Jewish school and kindergarten students from 8 countries competed in the first round of FSU’s Darkeinu’s Olympics contest that finished yesterday. Those who pass the round will proceed onward – two other rounds of the competition take place throughout the year and finish with a grand finale in Jerusalem for the older students.
This is the 7th installment of the contest that tests the students’ Jewish tradition and trivia knowledge in a fun and exciting way. Began in 2013 by the Or Avner fund, Darkeinu’s Olympics draw a continuously growing amount of participants, this year attracting almost 200 pre-schoolers and 2,000 school students from 1st to 11th grade.
“The Olympics contest gets the children excited about Jewish studies subjects, shows them that it’s not only an ancient tradition but a living, breathing discipline. Another important aspect of the contest is that it connects our students from most remote corners of the planet to a large and vibrant Darkeinu community that spans the entire FSU region and other countries with Russian-speaking Jews,” said Mrs. Sarah Vernick, Darkeinu’s informal education programs coordinator.
Darkeinu is the only Jewish studies curriculum developed originally in Russian. It is taught in FSU’s Or Avner schools as well as other Jewish schools and networks throughout the region. Any Jewish child who speaks and reads Russian can participate in the contest from any part of the world.
“The spirit of competing, desire to win, travel, culture, meeting new friends from other Jewish communities and, of course, awesome prizes are what makes Darkeinu Olympics such a great contest,” said Yulia Kobzar from Odessa, one of last year’s winners.