In an impressive display of knowledge and poise, local 5th grader Eli Muallem has emerged victorious in the Folsom regional championships of the JewQ competition, a spelling bee-style event that celebrates Jewish heritage and learning among children. Eli will now advance to the international championships, representing the Folsom region on a global stage where participants from 25 countries will compete.

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The JewQ competition is an innovative educational initiative designed to instill pride and strengthen Jewish identity among children, especially those without formal Jewish education. Amidst rising challenges of antisemitism, JewQ offers a positive and engaging platform for children to counter hate by learning about their Jewish heritage, traditions, and culture, showcasing knowledge as the best response to Jewish hate.

“This event is not just a competition; it’s a testament to the resilience and vibrancy of Jewish education,” said Rabbi Yossi Spiero of CKids Folsom. “In today’s world, where Jewish children often face hateful rhetoric, JewQ empowers them with knowledge and pride in their identity, proving that education and awareness are our best defense against antisemitism.”

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Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky of CKids International highlighted the global impact of JewQ, noting, “With participants from over 250 cities worldwide, JewQ is a powerful example of how education can pave the way for a brighter Jewish future. We are proud to see the Folsom community leading by example, showcasing the remarkable talents and dedication of its youth, and affirming that a strong Jewish identity is the key to combating hate.”

Eli Muallem’s victory comes after months of preparation, with contestants demonstrating their mastery of Jewish knowledge through a series of tests and a dynamic, game show-style finale. Topics ranged from the laws of Shabbat to the intricacies of Jewish tradition and historical figures.

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The enthusiasm and commitment shown by Eli and his peers were met with pride and support from their families and the community. Eli’s parents expressed their gratitude, stating, “We are very proud of Eli’s achievement and thankful for the engaging and meaningful learning experience provided by Chabad. This program has laid a strong foundation for lifelong engagement and participation in Jewish community life, offering a proactive approach to embracing our heritage in the face of adversity.”

Eli shared his excitement about the win, saying, “The JewQ contest was exciting and fun. I learned a lot and didn’t expect to win. It was a very exciting moment for me, and I feel more connected to my Jewish roots than ever before.”

Developed by CKids, Chabad’s Children’s Network, JewQ is a global competition that encourages Jewish children to learn about their heritage through an engaging curriculum, exciting incentives, and an international championship. With over 4,000 participants from 250 cities and 25 countries, JewQ is fostering a new generation of Jewish pride and knowledge, demonstrating that understanding and embracing our identity is the most powerful response to antisemitism.

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