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Yerucham Inventors Play It Cool to Win International Innovation Competition

Standing together on a podium in Washington, D.C., six teenagers from Yerucham exemplified the inventive spirit of the Israeli people by becoming the only non-American team to win an award in the 2012 FLL Global Innovation competition.

Tidhar Gaver, Eilon Ben-Hamu, Naftali Deutsch, Dvir Cohen, Eitam Aharon and Yedidya Freundlich took second prize in the international inventors contest by designing a simple device that keeps food and beverages cold by mixing two chemicals and causing an endothermic reaction. The boys’ “Freeze Stick” won $5,000 for development of a practical prototype and location of an investor to register a patent.

The victory was a source of pride for family and neighbors in their Negev desert hometown, and for friends in Miami, Florida. In January 2007, a long-term partnership was established between the Miami Jewish community and the city of Yerucham. The purpose of the Miami-Yerucham Partnership, a project of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, is to build meaningful relationships in order to strengthen both communities, and to foster and develop a love of Judaism, Israel and the Jewish people.

The Partnership encourages people-to-people relationships between residents of Miami and Yerucham. It also promotes mutually supportive initiatives, connecting resources and expertise to achieve sustained spiritual, social, cultural and economic growth for both communities.

The young six prize-winning inventors, all students at the Tzvia Yeshiva High School, grew up in Yerucham and are participants in FIRST Israel. They were invited to participate in the FLL Global Innovation competition after building a robot in limited time and receiving praise for their creation. Based on this accomplishment, they were asked to develop an invention for the FLL Global Innovation competition, which focused this year on the theme of food preservation and transshipment.

The teens were inspired to create the Freeze Stick by Gaver’s grandmother who recalled seeing a dentist use something similar. Their device attracted the interest of the international competition organizers who included the director of the U.S. Patent Office, the Director of the XPRIZE company, and Dean Kamen who holds 400 patents and created the popular Segway self-propelled vehicle.

The Freeze Stick was one of 250 inventions submitted to the FLL Global Innovation competition. Its creators have posted a video demonstration and explanation of the Freeze Stick on the Internet, which can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcO0hJJVYq0&feature=youtube_gdata_player.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring youth to pursue learning and careers in engineering, science and technology.

Young people ages 6-18 participate in teams, together with community mentors, in sport-like robotics competitions. FIRST not only creates excitement about science and technology, but also instills life values and skills such as community involvement, self-confidence, and teamwork.

FIRST was established in the US in 1998 by Dean Kamen. FIRST Israel began in 2005 with 12 participating high schools. In the past year, more than 4,000 students were inspired through FIRST Israel programs in 44 high schools, 230 middle schools, and 85 elementary schools.

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