Left to right, Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson, executive director of Tzivos Hashem, philanthropist George Rohr, Grade 7 gold trophy winner Mendel Bitton and his father, Rabbi Binyomin Bitton. (photo courtesy)
Out of some 4,000 kids from 96 schools worldwide, four B.C. students qualified to attend this year’s Chidon Sefer Hamitzvos Shabbaton two weeks ago in New York: Mendel Bitton (Grade 7) and Levi Bitton (Grade 5), Sholom Baitelman (Grade 5) and Mendel Kaplan (Grade 5). All of the boys did well, receiving plaques and medals, and Mendel Bitton took home the gold trophy for Grade 7, one of only 15 trophies awarded.
Students from the 96 schools competed over several months, roughly from September to February. During these months of study, they took three major tests. Based on the results, 853 qualified to attend the Shabbaton weekend and the grand finale in New York. These 853 students from grades 4 through 8 competed in the individual competition, where there were gold, silver and bronze winners in each grade.
“The competition was inspired by the Rebbe’s request to unite Yidden through the study of the 613 mitzvos of the Torah. The Rebbe repeatedly emphasized that this effort will hasten the coming of Moshiach,” explains chabad.org about the tournament.