Inside America’s Biggest Teen Bible Contest

Last month, 325 middle- and high-school students gathered in the Bronx to take part in a massive, nationwide biblical-trivia competition. The four winners will go on to the international contest in Israel. Olivia Reingold reports:

Each year, dozens of countries participate in the international Chidon Ha-Tanach, but since 1958, when Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, founded the contest, Israelis have won 57 out of the 60 years it’s been held. . . . American contestants have been victorious just four times—and two of those were ties with an Israeli. (The only other champion from another country was Canadian, crowned in 2014.)

The test includes puzzlers such as: About whom is it said: “A hairy man with a leather belt tied around his waist”? (Answer: Elijah), and Which of the following does not relate to the number 70? (Answer: number of kindred killed by Athalia.)

Statistics show that the younger you are, the less likely you are to read the Bible (either testament). Each new generation of American Jews seems to grow less connected to its faith, with the latest data showing that Jews in the U.S. are about half as likely as Christians to say religion is “very important” to them. But the kids gathered in this gym are more likely to carry a copy of the Hebrew Bible than a smartphone.

Read more at Free Press

More about: American Judaism, David Ben-Gurion, Hebrew Bible


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy