Junior wins trip to Israel in Bnei Akiva ‘Jeopardy’ competition

Ashley Mashian, BP Staff

Rose Bern, Staff Writer

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Junior Josh Meisel took first prize in the final round of Bnai Akiva’s Israel Jeopardy Challenge June 1, defeating six players from YULA and three others from Shalhevet and winning a free round-trip ticket to Israel.

Questions were about Israel and its people, history, geography and culture, and the occasion was Yom Yerushalayim, the anniversary of the day Jerusalem was reunited during the 1967 Six-Day War. Bnai David-Judea Congregation on Pico Boulevard hosted the competition in its main sanctuary.

The audience consisted almost entirely of Shalhevet sophomores and juniors, who attended in a last minute administrative decision to support the school’s four competitors.

“It felt great to win because I was representing Shalhevet,” said Josh, who had woken up at 3 a.m. that morning to study. “When you put in hard work, you get results.”

It was the first time Shalhevet had bested YULA this year, except for a soccer game last fall.YULA has defeated Shalhevet this year in basketball, baseball and softball at both the varsity and junior varsity level.

But when it came to Israel knowledge,Josh led Shalhevet to victory.Contestants were seated at a table on the bima in B’nai David’s main sanctuary. Junior Michael Silver and two YULA contestants were eliminated from the first round, which consisted of a 10-minute written multiple-choice test.

While the tests were checked, Shlomo Mervis, a Bnai Akiva shaliach and coordinator of the event, asked the audience questions about Israeli history, giving out $5 gift certificates for right answers.

In the second round, the contestants answered questions at microphones for the room to hear. Juniors Ariella Joffe and Adam Ashkenazi were eliminated along with a YULA girl.

After that, Josh competed against three YULA students in a final round. Second place went to Shoshana Frend, who won an iPad, and Lizzi Peled won an iPod touch for third prize.

“I had no doubt in my mind that Josh would win,” said Judaic Principal Rabbi Leubitz. “He’s a student whose love of Israel pervades his being. It was a great moment for Shalhevet.”

In addition to his trip, Josh won exemption from his final in Mr. Feld’s Modern Middle East class.

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