(JTA) — An Indian-American boy spelled the Yiddish-derived word “knaidel” correctly to win the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., defeated 10 other finalists on Thursday in National Harbor, Md., after spelling the word for a traditional Jewish dumpling.
Mahankali won $30,000 in cash, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond from Merriam-Webster and $2,000 worth of reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica, as well as a trophy.
German words have led Mahankali to his spelling bee demise for the past two years, when he placed third at the bee.
Vocabulary.com, which covered the bee, described knaidel as coming from “German-derived Yiddish.” It quoted Mahankali as telling ESPN, “the German curse has turned into the German blessing.”
The finals featured another word of Jewish origin. Hannah Citsay, a student at St. Anne Catholic School in Lancaster, Pa., correctly spelled “hesped,” the Hebrew word for eulogy, in the sixth round.
Citsay was eliminated in a new portion of the competition that had contestants providing the definition of a word.