Yeshiva College Hebrew Instructor Places First in 2014 U.S. National Bible Contest
Yair Shahak, Hebrew instructor at Yeshiva College, was crowned the winner of the 2014 United States National Bible Contest for Adults on Sunday, November 30 in New York City.
Shahak, a graduate of Yeshiva College and the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and a current student at the Belz School of Jewish Music, persevered against 12 talented challengers to claim the first place spot and the opportunity to represent the United States at the International Chidon HaTanach (Bible Contest) for Adults in Jerusalem on December 23, 2014.
“This victory means a great deal to me because I have been involved in Bible study all my life,” said Shahak, a native of Brooklyn, New York. “It was a very emotional win, as I felt as though I was coming full circle while battling it out against some very capable Bible scholars. I fell in love with the stories and language of the Bible at a young age, and there is still nothing that gives me more joy than sharing my love of the Bible with my students at Yeshiva University.”
Several other members of the YU family competed in the competition, including Stern College for Women and Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration alumna Adina Brizel, and Stern College graduate and Yeshiva University High School for Girls faculty member Leah Segal.
Later this month, Shahak, together with the winners and runners up from the other participating countries, will participate in a series of special tours of biblical locations around Israel and will hear from a collection of impressive speakers, including scholars, politicians and heads of state. Shahak follows in the footsteps of fellow Yeshiva College faculty member Ezra Frazer, a doctoral candidate in Bible at Revel who represented the U.S. in the same competition in 2012.
“I am very proud to be representing both the United States and Yeshiva University on the world stage. This experience is a tribute to the Bible courses that I took at YU which instilled me with a passion and love for biblical Hebrew, and my phenomenal professors who brought the texts to life,” added Shahak.
The International Bible Contest for Adults was developed to encourage the study of the Bible, strengthen ties with Israel, and deepen connections with Jewish heritage. As in the past, this year’s international finals will be hosted at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem on the final day of Chanukah, and will be attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Education Shai Peron.