How 3rd grader Daniel Marquez became a world JewQ champion—beating thousands of Hebrew school students

Daniel marquez
Canadian student Daniel Marquez, 8, of Mississauga, accepts the JewQ trophy for achieving the highest score internationally in Jewish knowledge on April 7, 2024. (Photo by Yossi Jerufi/Merkos 302)

The youngest child traditionally asks the Four Questions at Passover. But Daniel Marquez, 8, of Mississauga, Ont., could probably have answered all the questions by himself: the Grade 3 student won the 2024 JewQ competition, an annual tournament of Jewish knowledge, hosted by Chabad.

Marquez hoisted his trophy onstage during a live game show on April 7—held an hour away from the Lubavitch movement’s headquarters in Brooklyn. To reach that point, he had to beat around 4,000 Chabad Sunday school kids from 25 countries during local, regional and national playoffs.

It’s an especially remarkable achievement for Daniel because this is his first year of formal Jewish education. His twin brother, David Marquez, also attends the Miriam Robbins Chabad Hebrew School in Mississauga—and also made it to the JewQ finals, winning a gold medal. a third pupil from the same school, Sofia Mejia Perfiliev, 13, took home gold for her older age group.

On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, host Ellin Bessner meets the three Canadian JewQ finalists—then tries to answer some of their quiz questions, with surprising results. Listen and play along to ask yourself: do you know Jewish better than a third grader?

What we talked about:

  • Watch the 2024 JewQ International Torah Championship broadcast
  • Take the Grade 7 test yourself, and the other tests from Gr. 3 up.
  • Learn more about Mississauga’s Chabad Jewish Discovery Centre and its founding

Credits:

The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.