The much anticipated finals of the International JewQ competition, which had been scheduled to take place from March 27 to March 29 in New York City, will be held online this Sunday at 3 p.m., with a grand competition to determine who will take home this year’s JewQ crown in an event to be livestreamed to viewers around the world.

JewQ is the international Torah competition produced by CKids, which provides the curriculum and program, and it is implemented in Chabad Hebrew schools across the globe. Crafted as a competition, some 2,457 students from 150 cities around the world have gone through multiple rounds of testing this year, winnowing the international field to the contestants who were scheduled to appear this weekend.

But with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, all those plans were thrown off-course.

“I was really looking forward to the Shabbaton and the competition,” said Ellie Brody, the third-grade champion from Dix Hills, N.Y. In anticipation for the weekend, Ellie’s parents, Sagi and Margo, were part of a planning committee of parents dedicated to ensuring the maximum safety of the participants.

But as the date approached and the situation evolved—New York City is a major hot spot for virus cases—organizers at CKids, a part of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, were compelled to call off their weekend plans.

“Though we were a bit disappointed, from everything we saw thus far from the organizers, we were sure that they would come up with a very adequate Plan B,” Sagi told And sure enough, nimbly navigating the global upheaval, they adapted and are preparing a grand event for Sunday to be held via livestream.

‘A Celebration of Jewish Learning Online’

Instead of taking the final test in the Big Apple this weekend, contestants were given a written test to take at home. “It’s incredible how quickly CKids was able to make sure that the children should get what they worked so hard for. They really managed to turn a challenging situation into a celebration of Jewish online learning,” said Rabbi Dovid Weinbaum, associate rabbi at the Dix Hills Chabad who runs the JewQ operations across Long Island, N.Y.

Sagi Brody concurs. “I was impressed with how quickly the Hebrew school was able to set up the online learning, and replete with so many resources. The public school here doesn’t even have such a thing. It really goes to show you how much effort is invested to ensure that the children are engaged and alive with their Judaism.”

Along with the test, each contestant was encouraged to film themselves offering a message, anecdote or feeling about the competition. Under the leadership of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch, organizers at CKids, a division of Merkos Suite 302, are running under a tight schedule, but they are committed to compiling the footage together and producing something special for the hard-working contestants this Sunday afternoon.

In Ellie Brody’s words, “I can’t wait for Sunday to see the results!”

Viewers can join the awards ceremony on Sunday, March 29, at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, by logging on to