CIJE Innovation Day – 2018

The CIJE-Tech High School Program is currently in its seventh year.  As a significant part of the Cije-Tech program, students are encouraged to experience creative-inventive thinking. At the beginning of each school year, students embark upon a “journey”, during which they acquire various skills in the STEM areas.  This “journey” culminates in the creation, by the students, of a scientific-technological product that addresses a specific need or problem in society.  These capstone projects are meant to encourage originality and unfettered thinking and the application of knowledge acquired by the students.  On May 6, at The New York Hilton, 1242 CIJE-Tech students, representing 37 students hailing from Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania showcased their innovative capstone products in the areas in the areas of assistive technology, healthcare, safety, and consumer products. The CIJE Seventh Annual Innovation Day was a tremendous success, with more than two thousand people attending!  “This event brought together students from many different types of high schools to present their unique and innovative capstone projects as part of their preparation for 21st century careers, “remarked Jason Cury, CIJE President.

Dr. Joseph Jacobson, Associate Professor and head of the MIT Media Lab’s Molecular Machine research group delivered an inspiring Keynote Address. This year included the inaugural presentation of the Rambam Innovation Award, a joint initiative of CIJE and the American Friends of Rambam Medical Center, a leading Israeli center for emergency response and trauma.  The competition challenged students to create a project that would correlate with the Rambam Center’s work in preparation and response to disasters and mass casualty situations.  Students representing the Frisch School placed first and second. Third place was awarded to students from Yeshiva Darche Eres.  Finalists were announced for the First “CIJE Tank” competition.  These students will go on to present their ideas and newly acquired entrepreneurial skills to CIJE “Sharks”, who may select products for future investment. Awards were presented to students in various categories for their achievement in their CIJE capstone projects.  In addition, school awards were presented to: First Place- Frisch, Bruriah, Second Place- Maayanot, Solomon Schechter LI, Third Place-YUHSG, SKA. First and Second Place Individual team awards in the areas of Innovations in Assistive Technology, Safety, Healthcare, and Consumer Products were presented to HAFTR, Hillel Yeshiva, Tichon Meir Moshe, Reenas Bais Yaakov, Kushner, Golda Och, Solomon Schechter LI, and Yeshiva Darchei Torah. One of the event judges, Yonah Wolf, Team Lead-Risk Software Development, Graham Capital Management, commented, “I am honored to have judged some of the CIJE-Tech projects.  I was impressed not just by the very high level of the breadth and scope of the students’ knowledge and innovation, but also by the breadth and scope of their affiliation.  Where else could you get over a thousand kids from schools as diverse as Bais Yaakov and Schechter showing off their projects in one very large room?  Amazing!!” In addition, Tikva Wiener, head of the I.D.E.A. School, hosted the Maker Exposition throughout the day, with many activities for middle school students and families as well as virtual reality activities for kids to try.

Being successful at CIJE Innovation Day requires a strong work ethic, curiosity, dedication, and a passion for STEM. Guidance throughout the school year comes from teachers and CIJE mentors, whose knowledge and commitment to the program encourage their students to perform their best and actively engage in this exciting experience at CIJE Innovation Day.  Following the presentation of awards, Judy Lebovits, CIJE Vice President, expressed her pride in what each of the students had accomplished and achieved as a result of their CIJE-Tech courses; “These students have become problem solvers, creative thinkers, innovators, and self-reliant.  THEY ARE THE FUTURE!!”










 *based on the number of projects presented


















CIJE Presents at the Third Annual STEAMTalks at Ma’ayanot

Third Annual STEAMTalks at Ma’ayanot Are Energizing and Electrifying

Ma’ayanot’s third annual STEAMTalks took off with energy and excitement on Thursday, December 7. This program brings together highly successful women in diverse STEAM careers to present their journeys. I look forward to STEAMTalks every year since it’s refreshing to hear the journeys of these amazing women who excel in the STEAM fields, especially hearing how they started out and what opportunities will be available for us when we enter the workforce.

The program kicked off with Rachel Book, director of diversity recruiting strategies at Fidelity Investments. She spoke about the opportunities and demand for women in STEAM careers. “So many STEAM careers require art and creativity,” she said.

Dr. Duncan Bell, a robotics engineer and mentor for the Ma’ayanot STEAM team, showed the students his programmable spotlight creation, which he explained can be used to help people produce low-budget plays. Kelsey Dunn, product owner at Paradigm Solutions, shared the excitement of being a product manager at a startup company.

Judy Leibowitz, director of education at CIJE, spoke about the collaboration and problem-solving skills students are gaining by taking STEAM courses. She told students,“Believe in yourself. If you fail, try again. You can do anything you want to if you try hard enough.” Next, Dr. Jessica Langer, a lead researcher at L’Oreal, spoke about her research on chemical reactions in skin and encouraged students to be open to possibilities.

Tali Cheses spoke about how all aspects of STEAM are incorporated in her role as an architect at Gensler Architects. Cheses’s favorite quote is: “Great things never came from comfort zones.” Next we heard from Wendy Feldstein King, an industrial designer who described her childhood fascination with tinkering with wood, hammers and drills. She eventually joined her father’s company, Crestron Electronics, and is now VP of Design. She told the students, “Whenever you have the chance to learn a skill, take the opportunity. It will serve you well.”

Finally, Shira Rubinoff, a cybersecurity executive and president of SecureMySocial and Prime Tech Partners, spoke about the shortage of women in the field of internet security and about issues relating to social media. It was important for students to hear from a professional about how their activity on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook can impact college and job applications. Rubinoff added that only 11% of women make up today’s workforce in information technology and that there are many opportunities for women in that field.

The program also included a student panel on internships and summer programs in the STEAM field. Senior Atara Neugroschl studied osteoarthritis treatments at the Rutgers University biomedical engineering department; Senior Miri Cohen participated in a cancer research program at the Cancer institute of New Jersey at the BOLD (Rutgers) programs; Sophomore Meital Fuksbrumer attended the three-week Columbia summer program Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers, or SHAPE; Sophomore Hadassah Freedman attended NYU’s iTEST and learned robotics. Fuksbrumer and Freedman said that when asked if anyone knew how to code, they were able to display their talents because of the Ma’ayanot STEAM curriculum.

I already can’t wait for STEAMTalks next year to hear more about opportunities available for me and to continue to advance in STEAM. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to speak at STEAMTalks myself and inspire others about my journey.

CIJE Students Accepted to Technion-Israel

CIJE is proud to announce that, for the first time, two CIJE-Tech students have been accepted to the prestigious Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.  Noah Bernten and Wendy Amar are currently students at Katz Yeshiva High School, Boca Raton Florida. Both placed first in the Technion Rube Goldberg Competition in the Spring of 2017 , and have, thus, earned  Technion Scholarships for the first year of study. CIJE congratulates Noah and Wendy and wishes them much success.

Moriah Celebrates 11 Years of E2K

The eleventh year of the math and science enrichment program Excellence 2000, known as E2K, is in full swing in Moriah’s middle school. E2K was developed by the Israel Center for Excellence in Education (ICEE) and the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) and has been implemented in Jewish day schools throughout the United States. Moriah’s E2K program consists of two classes made up of sixth and seventh graders who meet on Wednesdays after school to enrich the critical and analytical thinking processes involved in solving complex problems.

The sixth grade math students just started a unit called “fun with multiplication.” They worked in groups to identify and figure out various patterns among numbers. The students needed to use their reasoning and application skills to analyze the patterns and generate their own. During the unit, they worked on collaboration and teamwork in order to solve these challenges.

The seventh grade science students are working on the unit “fascinated by physics” in which they are challenged to design a device that could accurately and reliably measure 30 seconds without being held. The only materials they are allowed to use are one bead, a balloon, a tape measure, and a marker.

The students in both math and science sections are enjoying the activities and gaining valuable skills of analysis and teamwork.

Florida Evening of Innovation

Please join CIJE for an Evening of Innovation. Learn about CIJE program and how CIJE is teaching students the skill sets for the 21st century global economy.


CIJE Awarded Jewish United Fund Breakthrough Fund Grant – Chicago

Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) Awarded Jewish United Fund Breakthrough Fund Grant

JUF awards more than $1.1 million to encourage smart growth and innovation

Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) is a proud recipient of a JUF Breakthrough Fund grant for the launch of CIJE Tech programs in Chicago Jewish Day High Schools.

The Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) strengthens and enriches education in more than 210 Jewish schools in the U.S. across the denominational spectrum. CIJE is preparing the next generation by cultivating innovation, critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills vital for 21st century careers. CIJE currently provides funding for programs at schools nationwide, including advanced technology hardware and software, engaging curricula, teacher training, and vital teacher support in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. CIJE implements innovative programs, including the CIJE-Tech High School (HS) Engineering Program, CIJE-Tech Middle School STEM programs, and teacher professional development programs in cutting edge areas.

The CIJE-Tech HS program will enable students in Chicago Jewish day high schools to acquire the STEM knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and careers, while enhancing Jewish high school education as an educational option for students and parents. Participating schools are, Fasman Yeshiva High School, Hannah Sacks Bais Yaakov, Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Lubavitch Girls High School and Rochelle Zell Jewish High School.

The CIJE-Tech HS program is an innovative engineering-based program which will provide on-site continued professional development for teachers; mentor more than 100 participating students; network teachers with colleagues around the country, and organize a culminating Capstone event showcasing student projects. The program provides proprietary curriculum, engineering materials, laptops for each of the student groups as well as grants for each student group towards their projects. Teachers already participated in the June CIJE National Professional Training Development Conference in Los Angeles and will attend again in June 2018, to be paid for by CIJE.

CIJE as an organization, and most specifically, its innovative and proprietary, classroom-tested CIJE Tech HS curriculum, represent proven opportunities for progress in Jewish day school STEM education. As educational change agents, CIJE has pioneered an approach that combines pre-service training of educators, strong on-site guidance and support, and networking of those trained through blogs and seminars. CIJE unique business model leverages the cost of STEM experts that often lie outside the reach of schools across the schools making if affordable.

Dr. Jane Willoughby, CIJE Vice President and Director of Education, Program Research and Development, is the director of the program. Dr. Willoughby stated, “We are so excited to be a recipient of this prestigious grant and to work with the JUF. It will allow us to provide a cutting-edge technology and engineering curriculum while ensuring that the schools get the ongoing support and materials they need. Dr. Willoughby added, “we also are very thankful of the role that ATT had in working with us to develop early relationships with the schools, this was instrumental to the success we had with the grant.”

For the fourth straight year, JUF’s Breakthrough Fund is funding leading-edge local programs and initiatives that meet local human needs, engage Chicagoans Jewishly, and strengthen Jewish communities in Israel.

This summer, a total of $1.12 million will be awarded to programs that focus on a range of themes, including erasing barriers to employment and economic achievement for historically under-employed Israelis; providing opportunities for the Jewish LGBTQ community, teens and young couples to connect with Israel; using technology to improve mental health; creating non-traditional communities of Jewish learning, and more.

Some $863,000 will fund 13 new initiatives, with awards ranging from one-year grants of $10,000 to multi-year grants totaling $100,000; an additional $256,000 will support five programs in their second year of multi-year grants awarded in 2016.

Encouraging smart growth and innovation in the Jewish nonprofit sector are the goals of the Breakthrough Fund, which launched in Fall 2013 and has awarded a total of more than $4.4 million in grants to more than 70 local and Israeli initiatives.

“This year’s Breakthrough Fund grantees are truly on the cutting edge,” said Steve Miller, chairman of the Breakthrough Fund review committee. “We are funding programs with groundbreaking technology, innovative approaches to mental health, opportunities for learning and engagement in our Jewish community and in Israel — it’s awe-inspiring and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

CIJE’s Technology: In Plain English – Blog by Yossie Frankel, The Techno Rebbe

Flash is finally retiring!

Picture this… A big newspaper news room circa 1950’s or so. A copy boy runs in and yells to everyone present. The sound of typewriters stop, the hum of the printing press winds down and the whole room comes to a hush…
Copy boy: “News Flash!!!  It’s finally retiring!!”
Reporter:  “What’s retiring?”
Copy boy: “Flash!”
News Editor:  “What? As in Flash Gordon?” (Yossie’s note: I guess I am showing my age! 🙂
Copy boy:  “Nope… Adobe Flash!”

That’s right, after years of leadership and having been responsible for creating gaming, education and video industries, Adobe has finally announced that Flash will be discontinued by 2020. That means that web based developers have less then three years to convert their Flash based websites over to HTML5, WebGL or Webassembly.

So, why should this concern us Ed-Tech types?

Well, there are a HUGE number of educational websites that are based on Flash technology and the cost of moving them and their data over to the newer technologies would be hugely expensive. My fear is that they will just be shutting down rather than retooling.  What makes this even more shocking is that we could lose a very large number of Jewish Educational websites especially since many of the Hebrew sites are created with Flash.  Even now, since Google Chrome does not run Flash without bypassing default settings, I can’t begin to tell you how many calls a week I get about workarounds! Imagine what it will be like by 2020!!

So, be prepared for some of your favorite sites to “retire” off into the sunset, just like my old hero Flash Gordon.

As always, I solicit your comments on the blogsite.

Checkout my blog:
Twitter @yossiefrankel
YouTube Channel: YossieFrankelChannel

CIJE Hosts over 40 schools for Summer Ed-Tech Training

This summer teachers from NY/NJ area CIJE schools participated in Edtech training provided by CIJE. From Introduction to SMART Board to more advanced activities such as Lab games and assessments. Many teachers also joined training for the new ji Tap app. This app can be used as a resource for blended learning classrooms as well as PBL. The training was given by Director of Innovative Technologies, Faigy Ravitz.

Participating schools were:

  1. Bais Yaakov Queens
  2. Bnos Malka
  3. Bruriah
  4. Bais Yaakov D’Rav Meir
  5. Darchei
  6. Golda Och Academy
  7. Golda Och Academy High School
  8. HAFTR
  9. HALB
  10. HANC
  11. HANC Plainview
  12. Hebrew Academy New City
  13. Jewish Educational Center
  14. Kushner
  15. Lev Chana
  16. Manhattan Day School
  17. Mazel Day School
  18. Moriah School
  19. North Shore Hebrew Academy
  20. Park East Day School
  21. Prospect Park
  22. Ptach
  23. Rosenbaum Yeshiva North Jersey
  24. RSRH
  25. S/A/R
  26. Shaarei Torah
  27. Shalom Torah Academy
  28. Shulamith School LI
  29. SKA
  30. Solomon Schechter Bergen County
  31. Solomon Schechter of Queens
  32. Solomon Schechter Queens
  33. Westchester Day School
  34. Yavneh Academy
  35. Yeshiva Ahavath Torah
  36. Yeshiva Har Torah
  37. Yeshiva Ketana Passaic
  38. Yeshiva of Flatbush
  39. Yeshiva of Flatbush HS
  40. Yeshivat Noam
  41. David Posnack Lower school (FL)
  42. Ramaz
  43. Yeshiva Spring Valley





Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida Wins Technion Rube Goldberg Challenge


(below article was written on the American techinion website at this link )

April 25, 2017
Jennifer Frey

Some Earth Day events involve volunteer clean-ups, planting flower beds or unplugging your gadgets for a day. The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, however, challenged high school students worldwide to build an Earth Day-themed Rube Goldberg Machine—and three schools came through with flying colors (all shades of green, of course).

Katz Yeshiva H.S. Team 1, winners of the 2017 Technion Rube Goldberg Earth Day Challenge: (l to r) Mrs. Ellen Chait (Science Department Chair), Michal Amar, Ty Kay, Tani Loskove, Noah Bernten, Max Davis, Josh Bernten and Dr. Yosef Wolf

For the uninitiated, a Rube Goldberg Machine is a wacky contraption that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task by setting off a comical chain reaction. Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida (whose team of students ranged from 9th through 11th grades), placed first in this fun but difficult challenge, winning a one-year full scholarship to the Technion.

“When I saw our school’s name appear on the screen, I was overcome with emotions of comradery and school spirit. Tens of hours of hard work had finally paid off,” said student Tani Loskove. Teammate Ty Kay added: “As a high schooler pursuing dreams of becoming an engineer, Technion’s Rube Goldberg Earth Day Challenge was a great stepping stone for me. It was my first real engineering project.”

“It taught me values like teamwork, collaboration and communication, and as the only girl on the team,” said Michal Amar, “it showed me the importance, and sometime difficulties, of making your voice heard.” Other students on the team include: Noah and Joshua Bernten and Max Davis.

Working out of a student’s garage, the winning team concocted a nearly one-minute chain reaction in which Coca Cola bottles activated a toy car, sent a ball down a winding slide worthy of a Water Park, releasing liquid gallium to complete a circuit, which eventually set off a stream of water that spun a home-built Ferris wheel, knocked down popcorn boxes that activated a fan—illustrating recycling (plastic, metal and paper) and alternative energy sources (hydro, solar and wind power).

Some 24 high school teams around the world participated in the challenge. A team of judges led by Prof. Alon Wolf, Director of the Biorobotics and Biomechanics Lab at the Technion’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, selected the winners based both on their creative renditions of Earth Day themes and the complexity of the energy transfers from one action to the next. Le Hong Phong High School for the Gifted in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam placed second, while the International Bilingual School at Hsinchu-Science-Park in Taiwan came in third.

“It’s very exciting for us,” says Dr. Yosef Wolf, who heads up Katz Yeshiva’s STEM courses and started a robotics club at the school (no relation to Prof. Wolf). “It’s the first engineering contest that we have ever entered, and we came in first place! We’ve been growing our engineering opportunities recently and we have plans to further expand our STEM offerings next year. This result has further helped to increase our students’ excitement for the upcoming initiatives.”

Note: the contest is not over yet! May 1st is the deadline for the Most Popular Clip Contest. Winners will be announced May 3rd.

Click here to watch a video of the winning Earth Day entry. And don’t forget to “like” your favorite video by viewing them all here.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology. The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a vital component of Cornell NYC Tech, and a model for graduate applied science education that is expected to transform New York City’s economy.

American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion —more than $2 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its supporters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.