Within a week, two students from the Torah U’Mada yeshiva high school of the
Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) won third place – among 1,500 candidates –
in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, and
another pair finished in first place in the Israeli competition for the
Stockholm Junior Water Prize in the field of energy and water.
contest winners, Nerya Stroh and Gal Oren, received $2,000 each for their work
on a user-friendly computerized device called AquaStop that detects water leaks
in apartments, buildings, factories and neighborhoods in real time and can even
halt the water flow.
They now serve in the IDF in the field of computers.
In December 2010, Stroh and Oren – now 21-years-old – won first place in the
Stockholm Junior Water Prize held among Israeli pupils.
The 2012 winners
of the water prize are Torah U’Mada students David Agassi and Bashan Yehezkel.
Academics in the JCT’s “13th Grade” program (which provides pupils with a
bachelor’s degree in engineering before they enter military service), they will
travel to Stockholm in the fall to compete in the International Junior Water
Prize competition, run by the Swedish royal family and sponsored by the
country’s government. It was the first time that the same school took first
prize in the prestigious competition.
As in 2010, Swedish Ambassador
Elinor Hammarskjöld is due to visit the JCT campus in the capital’s Givat
Mordechai neighborhood to present the award to the 19-year-olds.
winning teams were mentored from start to finish by David Gelman, a veteran
electrical engineer at JCT at the college level who also teaches high school
pupils at Torah U’Mada. He accompanied Stroh (whose father, Uri, is also an
electrical engineer and encryption expert at JCT) and Oren to the Pittsburgh
competition. The Alcoa corporation contributed another $1,000 to the Intel prize
for total winnings of $2,000 for each young man, Gelman said.
Pittsburgh, 100 teams of judges divided up the work, Gelman told The Jerusalem
Post, but 50 teams individually decided to visit the Israeli stand because of
the interest generated by the invention.
He said he teaches the same
subjects in the high school and the college. “But a course that I give at the
college in just one semester, I teach more slowly – in a whole year – at the
high school level,” said the Russian-born engineer.
JCT president Prof.
Noah Dana-Picard told the Post this week that he was very proud of both teams –
the older ones who excelled at the Intel competition and the younger ones who
received their award at a Tel Aviv University ceremony.
competition brings together the world’s brightest young scientists to encourage
their continued interest in water and the environment.
thousands of participants from over 30 countries join national competitions for
the chance to represent their nation at the international final held during
World Water Week in Stockholm. During their time there, winners of the national
competitions receive an opportunity to meet and learn from the present leaders
of the global water community, and forge lifelong friendships with international
compatriots who share a passion for water and science.
Yehezkel developed “a smart sun heater” that makes it possible to save not only
water but also energy in any home. Their project is also thought to solve the
halachic problem involved in using water warmed up by solar heaters on Shabbat,
which are otherwise forbidden because they cause cold water to be heated
In another five weeks, the two will receive their bachelor’s degree
in computer science from JCT as part of the joint high school-college
Torah U’Mada co-head Natan Klein told the Post that the school
excels because of the students and the staff, many of whom also teach at the
academic level at JCT in a multidisciplinary way. “A few months ago, we were
told by the Education Ministry’s technology department that four of 10 high
school projects chosen for excellence came from Torah U’Mada,” he
The school’s principal, Rabbi Amos Kleiger, added: “Four of our
graduates have won the Israel Defense Prize as adults.”