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Scheck Hillel Community School Places First in Technion Jewish Day School Challenge

Pesach-Themed Rube Goldberg Machines Judged By Technion Experts

In what’s proving to be a banner 2015-16 school year, Scheck Hillel Community School made history April 18 when it placed first in the Technion Jewish Day School Challenge, created by RAVSAK and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. It tied with Bialik College in Australia. The students’ mission was to build a Rube Goldberg machine in the spirit of Pesach and inspired by the intricate 2015 Technion Rube Goldberg machine. A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption or device that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion, generally including a chain reaction. Watch Scheck Hillel's winning entry at eHillel.org.

More than 600 students from 41 Jewish day schools in Europe, North America, Australia, and Africa participated in the Challenge. Scheck Hillel students Malvina Dimitri, Zachary Lemmer, Sadie Slomovitz and Hannah Stern, all Grade 6 of the Samuel and Henrietta Scheck Middle School, were led by science teacher Dr. Athena Hadjixenofontos and technology teacher Mr. Charles Mahoney.

“The Technion Jewish Day School Challenge is an excellent representation of Scheck Hillel Community School’s mission, vision and values,” said Dr. Ezra Levy, Scheck Hillel’s Head of School. “It reinforces 21st century day school education as the source of promise for a bright Jewish future, empowering our rising generation with developed skills, cultivated talents and fueled passion for science, technology, engineering and math, guided by Jewish identity and values that will endure.”

“In partnership with Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, we were able to create an amazing new opportunity for students to blend their commitments to Jewish learning with the sciences, foster a connection to post-secondary education, and prompt them to apply their knowledge of Pesach traditions in a completely innovative way,” said Dr. Marc N. Kramer, RAVSAK’s Co-Executive Director.

Students followed a rigorous rubric, which called for the machines to ultimately reveal a Seder plate. In the weeks leading up to the Challenge deadline, students tinkered away, and got insider tips from world-renowned Technion Mechanical Engineering Professor Alon Wolf and other Technion faculty. The Challenge for these student volunteers was a perfect fit within Scheck Hillel's STEM curriculum.

"I am delighted to see the Technion’s role in inspiring all of the participants to do such great work,” said Professor Yoram Halevi, Dean of the Technion Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. “You have inspired us, as well, and we hope to see you grow and succeed in your science paths.”

“Our students thoroughly enjoyed putting together their Rube Goldberg machine, simultaneously building the machine itself, connecting with their teammates and enriching their understanding of Pesach,” Dr. Levy said.

“The Technion is thrilled to have launched this new initiative together with RAVSAK,” said Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie. “In an ever-changing world we need to find new and relevant ways to connect younger generations of the Jewish people with Israel. What better way to do so than a thought-provoking, fun competition that has a strong STEM education focus? Congratulations to all who participated. I hope to see you all at the Technion – as students – in a few years,” he concluded.

Videos of the winning Technion Challenge machines can be viewed on the Technion YouTube channel. #TechnionChallenge

From early childhood through Grade 12, Scheck Hillel Community School educates and inspires students to become exemplary global citizens with enduring Jewish identity, values and a commitment to the State of Israel, through a college preparatory curriculum and meaningful co-curricular experiences, guided by Orthodox teachings and set within a nurturing, diverse community. Scheck Hillel is the second-largest Jewish community day school in North America, a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. For information, please visit eHillel.org.

About RAVSAK: RAVSAK strengthens and sustains the Jewish life, leadership, and learning of community day schools. With more than 135 member schools, each bringing a unique set of professionals and board members, our network harnesses the collective wisdom of our peers to offer tremendous opportunities for collective learning and action. We provide each school with much-needed material and intellectual resources, dynamic programs for students and administrators alike, and learning opportunities. Visit ravsak.org.

About the Technion Faculty of Mechanical Engineering: The bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is taught entirely in English in Technion Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. The program provides students with a strong base in the engineering sciences alongside project-based laboratory and design experiences, to develop their independence, creativity and leadership in an era of incredibly rapid technological change. For more information, visit Technion International or email us at apply@int.technion.ac.il.

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