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The TABC team (from left): coach Dr. Manny Landau, Tzvi Wiesel, Daniel Shlian (captain), Mark Herzog, Ari Krischer, Ari Schwartz (Alternate) meet MSG varsity’s The Challenge host Jared Cotter on the set of the high school quiz show.

“What bear in children’s literature is commonly depicted wearing a brown raincoat and a yellow hat? How many layers is the earth’s atmosphere? What would the volume of a cylinder be if it had a height of 10 and a radius of 6 pi?”

That is just a random sampling of the questions Team TABC faced on the most recent segment of the MSG Varsity’s The Challenge Quiz Show, a network on Cablevision. TABC – Torah Academy of Bergen County – is located in Teaneck.

The TABC team has advanced farther in this year’s competition than ever before, said team coach Manny Landau. Since participants are sworn to secrecy until the show is aired, he cannot divulge the final outcome, he said.

The competition, which is moderated by “American Idol” semifinalist Jared Cotter, tests the students’ knowledge of history, arts, and literature, current events, math, and science in front of a live studio audience.

The “Challenge” – now in its 15th season – includes 192 public and private high schools from the tri-state area, including Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls. Participating schools advance through a series of elimination rounds, with one school in each region being crowned regional champion and winning $2,500.

The winning teams from every region continue to the “The Challenge” championship rounds, where they square off in a Tri-State Showdown. The ultimate winner receives $10,000 in prize money, and each student participant in the final
game receives $500.

Landau described this year’s TABC Challenge team as “a bunch of dedicated young men who are bright and well versed in a variety of things.” Landau, who has served as the Challenge team’s coach for many years during his tenure at TABC, said that he always tries to emphasize “mentschlichkeit” even more than intellectual achievement. “These students exemplify both qualities.”

Although the segments were taped several months ago, participants are sworn to secrecy about the results until they air.

As of April 26, TABC beat Old Tappan 370-340, putting the Teaneck team in the fourth round of the New Jersey region quarter finals. The next round will be aired on May 24, when they go up against South Amboy in the fourth round. If they win, they will advance to the semi-finals, which will air on June 7.

Challenge team member and TABC Sophomore Ari Krischer of Teaneck said he was invited on the team for his math and science prowess. The 14-year-old, who is co-captain of this years’s champion Junior Varsity College Bowl team, is also an expert in a few other areas, as well. He is an amateur radio operator, plays the mandolin, paints, draws, and tries to read just about anything he can get his hands on his spare time. Krischer described the experience as “a lot of fun,” but admitted there were a few tense moments during the competition.

Krischer felt the TABC team was as prepared intellectually as the other teams. Answering the questions on a myriad of topics was a no-brainer for Krischer, who hopes to become a nuclear engineer. The harder part was being the first one to ring in on the buzzer.

The MSG Challenge airs on Cablevision’s Channel 14.