In Chabad house communities around the world, a movement is taking place. Children can be seen spending their free time mastering fundamental Jewish ideas – whether during recess, at dinner time, or even on vacation. The young students are participants in JewQ, the International Jewish knowledge competition.
For many, like Seff, a student at Chabad of Clifton Park, the learning blossoms into a lifestyle, with the children drawing their families closer to their Jewish heritage. “My family has started to light candles and pray every Shabbat,” Seff related.
JewQ, a CKids International program launched five years ago with 100 children in Long Island participating in a pilot program, has since transformed the landscape of Jewish education in Hebrew schools worldwide.
Children learn about prayers, Mitzvot, Jewish history, and more, with all the content gamified and personalized to engage the students on their level. After passing initial tests, the children compete in a series of local and regional championships, with the winners progressing to the JewQ International Championship in NY.
Now, heading into year five, JewQ continues to grow exponentially. Aside from the original championship program, which includes the US, Canada, United Kingdom, and Portugal, JewQ chapters have opened in various countries and languages worldwide.
This year, JewQ launched in France with 250 children and Latin America, with 170 kids hailing from 40 different Spanish-speaking communities. Now in its fourth season, JewQ Australia has doubled in size in the past year, going from 123 contestants in 2021 to over 250.
The incredible growth is attributed to the Shluchim, who, upon seeing the tremendous impact JewQ has on their community, encourage their fellow Shluchim in other locations to participate with their communities. “Whoever has been on the fence about participating in JewQ, I’m here to tell you, DO IT!” says Rabbi Simcha Morgenstern, Chabad of Rockland County. “It’s a game changer!”
The butterfly effect was felt in Gold Coast Australia as well. “It’s so wonderful to see the enthusiasm of the children that also causes a ripple effect on their parents,” says Dina Gurevitch, Co-Director of Chabad of Gold Coast, “JewQ has made each child feel special and we really appreciate that.”
Karen, a student at Chabad of Potomac, learns the Living Jewish textbook with her family. “The best part of JewQ is to take part in the international competition; I’m very excited about that! Also, we learned SO many things that we never knew before!”
Champions are rewarded locally with a day of fun and games featuring a grand trip and culminating in a local championship celebration where each child has a chance to showcase all they’ve accomplished in front of friends and family.
The biggest highlight is the program’s finale, where qualifying contestants join the unforgettable CKids Shabbaton. The life-changing weekend is full of meaningful activities and thrilling adventures that leave a lasting impression on kids and their parents.
Each champion receives a medal at the international Championship event at the end of the Shabbaton and is broadcast live to thousands of viewers around the globe. Top finalists from each location also get the chance to compete onstage for the JewQ Championship Title.
From marketing and launch materials to teaching resources, games, and prizes, JewQ is a fully customizable program that suits each Chabad House dynamic individually, whether you involve your entire Hebrew School or just one child.
“Our goal is to instill within the children both a broad knowledge and love of Torah,” says Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive Director of Merkos 302, “when the children see Judaism as something fun and relevant, it automatically influences the dynamic in the home and many times brings the entire family closer to their heritage.”
Registration for this year’s JewQ competition is open. Visit https://shluchim.ckids.net/jewq to sign up and learn more about JewQ today.