02/16/2016

Mandel JDS Holds Hebrew Spelling Bee

Tags: Federation, Education, Mandel JDS, Partner

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The students of Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School (Mandel JDS) celebrated Yom HaYeled, “Day of the Child,” with their 10th annual Hebrew Spelling Bee, a fun and enriching way for students to build their vocabulary. Students were abuzz prior to the competition, which asks all students to study up to 200 words along with their definitions, competing for exciting prizes along the way.

“Mandel JDS established the Hebrew Spelling Bee to teach more Hebrew vocabulary, to create excitement and anticipation around the Hebrew language, and to strengthen the students’ connection to Judaism, Israel, and the Jewish people,” said Leah Spector, Principal and Director of Hebrew and Judaic studies at Mandel JDS.

The contest begins with every student in grades four through eight participating in the trial round. After this initial round, the tournament consists of two brackets - one for 4th and 5th graders, and one for middle school, which is comprised of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. The final competition took place on Friday, February 12th.

Top prize went to David Dettelbach (4th grade) for the 4th–5th grade challenge, while Netta Haas (4th grade) placed second and Samara Rivchun (5th grade) placed third. Ryan Goldfeder (6th grade) won the Middle School challenge. Second place went to Yossi Berkowitz (7th grade), and Nadiv Brenner Ballin (6th grade) placed third.

Guest Judges included Seymour Kopelwitz, Head of the Jewish Educational Center of Cleveland (JECC), Amnon Ophir, Principal of Akiva High School, Mirit Balkan, I-Connect and Masa Israel Journey Regional Coordinator at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and Danielle Asif, Jewish Federation of Cleveland's Shlicha (Israeli Emissary). These community leaders watched in awe as students collectively rattled off over two hundred words, eventually forcing the judges to go “off-script” and come up with new and challenging words in efforts to stump the contestants.

Agnon alumni parent Anat Nurko first introduced the Hebrew Spelling Bee concept to The Agnon School in 2007, after learning about a similar program organized in Florida. This exciting event is sponsored by Agnon's "Abraham Slomianski Israel Culture Fund" which was established by the Nurko family in memory of Anat's father, who had a close connection to Israel.

1st Place: Ryan Goldfeder, 6th Grade

2nd Place: Yossi Berkowitz, 7th Grade

3rd Place: Nadiv Brenner Ballin, 6th Grade

Lower school winners of the Hebrew Spelling Bee: Samara Rivchun (3rd place), David Dettelbach (1st place), and Netta Haas (2nd place)

About the Mandel Jewish Day School

Founded in 1969, Mandel JDS is Cleveland’s first Jewish day school accredited for educational excellence by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS). The school also exceeds Ohio education standards for all core curricular subjects. Originally The Agnon School, in August 2015 the name changed to Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School, in appreciation of a $17,050,000 grant. While the name is new, blending superior general academics and Jewish studies remains central to the school’s mission, as does teaching to a broad spectrum of learners. Open to the entire Jewish community, Mandel JDS enrolls more than 350 students, 18 months – 8th grade, from diverse Jewish backgrounds.


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