Monday, the day before Shavuot Eve – the holiday of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai – over 23,000 seventh-graders will take part in writing an entire Bible.
As far as can be ascertained, it will be the first time that the entire Bible (Tanach) will be written in one day. Each of the participating schools throughout the country will be assigned a chapter, and each child above Bar or Bat-Mitzvah age (12 for girls, 13 for boys) will write a verse on a special page.
The principal of the school will inscribe the chapter’s last verse in a school-wide ceremony. The pages will be gathered and collected into one volume at a later date, and the unique edition of the Bible will be put on display in the Bible Museum in Adulam, near Jerusalem.
A separate ceremony will be held at the same time at the Education Ministry, where Education Minister Gideon Saar will write the last verse of the Bible. The verse, Chronicles II 36:23, quotes the invitation proffered by Persian King Cyrus to all Jews to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Two junior high school classes will be on hand to witness the event, after having written their own verses there earlier.
The Education Ministry has made Bible study a priority with several new initiatives in recent weeks. These include:
** Renewing a tradition that has not been held for 30 years, the annual Bible Quiz for Adults will be held once again starting next year. Some 1,500 candidates have already signed up.
** Starting from the 2010-11 (5771) school year, Bible will no longer be studied in public non-religious schools according to topics, but will rather be taught chronologically in a program that will be concentrate on the formation of the Nation of Israel. The contiguous story from Genesis up to the destruction of the First Temple will be emphasized, as will be the laws, outlooks and values taught by the Bible.
** During the three days before the Shavuot holiday, special Bible classes will be held, concentrating on “The Meaning of the Bible for the People of Israel and for Me” and “The Bible as a Source for Land of Israel Studies and Jewish Culture Studies.”
Minister Saar also announced last week that the “Jerusalem Quiz” will be expanded beginning next year, and will be held in a nation-wide format.