Tablet Magazinehas a great article out today about a particularly fierce battle in the Chidon HaTanach, the International Bible Contest, back in 1988. Two American teenagers were serious contenders to win the contest, and both happened to go on to become superstars in their respective fields. One was Noah Feldman, now professor at Harvard Law School, and one was Jeremy Wieder, who became the youngest rabbinic dean in the history of Yeshiva University. He also completed a doctorate in rabbinic literature at New York University, and today is the Joseph and Gwendolyn Straus Professor of Talmud in the University’s Mazer Yeshiva Program and is an Adjunct Professor of Bible in Yeshiva College, and credits the Chidon for giving him a strong grounding in Tanakh.
“Having learned the material left a lasting impact for me,” Wieder said, “and having this knowledge store of Tanakh outside of Torah is something I consider extremely valuable, just in my learning in general.”
The full article is worth the read.