This year's bible quiz will be special.  After all, it is the thirty-fifth contest that B’nai B’rith has sponsored. And over the last five years, the number of participants and the audience size has increased dramatically. The scholarship prizes have grown, too.

It’s really exciting. If you have never attended the competition, you will enjoy the tension and the drama.  It’s a little like Jeopardy in that respect. 

“The purpose of the quiz,” according to its founder, Lodge Trustee, Steve Riekes, “is to encourage Jewish youth to become more familiar with their heritage.  It is also to honor the memory of the late Omaha mayor and US Senator, Edward Zorinsky, who had a special concern for young people.”  The senator’s family set up an endowment fund to pay for scholarships.

First place prize money is now $1,000, second prize is $750, third place is $500 and fourth place is $250.  The prize monies can be applied toward college tuition, a trip to Israel or an approved camp or educational program sponsored by a local or national Jewish organization.

This year’s community-wide event will be held Sunday, December 12 at 1:00 p.m. in the Shirley and Leonard Goldstein Community Engagement Venue at the Jewish Community Center.  The contest is open to all Jewish teenagers in the Omaha area who are in grades nine through twelve.  Interested students can connect with their synagogues or study on their own.

Riekes added: "Every teenager who enters the contest becomes a winner, because every educated person should be familiar with the Bible."  At the same time, any entrant who answers three questions correctly will receive $50 and the overall winner will take home a $100 bill.

The topics this year cover the Book of Genesis and the Book of Jonah. The community is encouraged to attend to show support for the students.

Marty Shukert, bible scholar and Dr. Jeannette Gabriel, UNO  professor,  are two of the judges.  A third Judge, representing the synagogues will be named later. Gloria Kaslow, also a cofounder, will take her place as the quiz master; Ari Riekes will be the timer, and Adam Trubnikov will keep score.

All interested students should submit their name along with their parents' names, address and zip code, email address, telephone number, high school and grade to the B'nai B'rith Office, 333 S. 132 Street, Omaha, NE 68154. Other ways to enter the contest are by connecting with your synagogue leader or emailing  The deadline for applications is December 7.  Additional information may be obtained by calling Mr. Riekes at 402-333-8498.