Three female junior high students dominated the first-ever national “Pirkei Avot Championship,” held in Jerusalem on Sunday to test students’ knowledge of the collection of mishnaic rabbinical commentary also known as Ethics of the Fathers.

Sunday’s big winner was Eden David of Bat Yam’s Makif Ramot school, who told The Jerusalem Post that she didn’t expect to win but was “confident because I had memorized the texts.”

She said she was especially proud that she and Tamar Jinli of Ashdod’s Makif Daled (Comprehensive D) and Hofit Fadida of Rishon Lezion’s Nahlat Yehuda school placed in the top three spots, saying “it shows we can do whatever the boys can.”

The championship tested students from state secular junior high schools across the country.

The contest was initiated by the Education Ministry, which said in a statement on Sunday that studying Pirkei Avot, which focuses on man’s responsibilities as part of an ethical society, is part of its goal to “deepen students’ knowledge of the Jewish heritage and the birth of Zionism, and to strengthen their identification with their Jewish heritage.”

The contest was part of the new “culture and heritage of Israel” curriculum initiated by Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar.

Sunday’s contest, which brought together 14 contestants who had won the regional rounds, focused on recitation of rulings from Pirkei Avot.

Each of the three finalists win a laptop computer, while their schools will get grants of NIS 1,000 to NIS 3,000 depending on where the finalist placed.

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