The Israeli-based Gildor Project for Excellence in Science has announced that the team from the Jewish Educational Center’s Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy in Elizabeth has qualified to take part in the final round of its 2010 International Science competition.
The team members, all in ninth and 10th grade, have been invited to go to Israel — on a subsidized trip — to participate in the final round at the end of the year.
The team members are Max Sarasohn of Elizabeth, Berel Gold of Hillside, Ethan Lerner of Highland Park, Tzvi Vogel of Linden, and Staten Island residents Aryeh Snyder, Shlomo Mark, Mendy Eisenberg, and Alex Shein.
The Gildor Project is part of the Excellence 2000 program, an initiative designed to promote independent learning, scientific and mathematical thinking, research skills, and problem analysis and solving skills. The competition was extended to include Jewish schools in the United States through the efforts of the Gruss Foundation’s Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education.
The annual contest requires teams to research, design, build, and implement an invention that addresses a given societal issue. This year, the task assigned reflects a grim reality in Israel — the fact that Israel’s water resources can no longer meet the country’s needs. The increase in population, development of agriculture, and rise in the standard of living have all greatly increased the use of water.
One of the results of the government’s limiting the use of water has been that many gardens have dried up. If the drought continues in this coming year, the level of water in the Kinneret will inevitably drop below the black line, meaning irreversible damage to the quality of the water.
Contestants were asked to develop a system for recycling gray water — domestic waste water other than toilet water, generally used for gardens or agriculture. A number of gray water technologies have been created in Israel, but there is a need for more and better approaches.
Each member of the RTMA team focused on an aspect of the project best suited to his personal area of interest. According to the school, participants were selected by Ken Dietz, the project coordinator and team mentor, in coordination with principal Chanie Moskowitz, on the basis not only of their interest and ability in science, but also their motivation and commitment to seeing the project through to completion.
Dietz said the boys have been working on the project for an average of two hours a week throughout the school year and have achieved an impressive level of multifaceted knowledge, discipline, and organization.