Eleven High Schools Compete in Yeshiva Science Olympiad at Lander College for Men

Date: May 05, 2015
Media Contact:

Gabe Kahn
212-463-0400 x5404

New York, N.Y. –Students from 11 Jewish high schools around the tristate area participated in the annual Jewish Education Project-Lander College Yeshiva Science Olympiad. The team from Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy (SAR) won first place in the competition, with North Shore Hebrew Academy, Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC) and Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls (SKA) in Long Beach rounding out the top four spots. Several students who excelled in individual competitions were honored, as well.

This was the fifth consecutive year that Lander College for Men (LCM) hosted the Olympiad. Students from grades 9 through 12 from each of the participating schools competed in at least one event, which tested various aspects of biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, earth science and physics, as well as applications of engineering and technology. Schools were required to send at least two faculty coaches to the Olympiad to supervise students and serve as judges. Teams from Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School for Boys of the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach (DRS); Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston, N.J.; the Frisch School in Paramus; Ramaz in Manhattan; Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls in Teaneck; Yeshiva University High School for Girls in Holliswood, N.Y.; and the Yeshiva of Flatbush also participated in the competition.

“These are some of the very best science students from yeshivos across the metropolitan area, and their enthusiasm was palpable,” said Dr. Moshe Sokol, dean of LCM. “We expect that they will make significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge and the betterment of humankind as they progress in their careers.”

The competition consisted of 12 events, each presenting a different set of challenges. For one event, “Bridge Building,” participants were required to construct a small bridge out of wood and glue; to test the stability, a bucket was attached to the bottom of the bridge and then slowly filled with sand. Other events, such as “Entomology,” were more traditional, with students writing short essays to demonstrate their knowledge of North American insects.  

The “Write It/Do It” event called for participants to work in tandem with their teammates. One of the two team members was shown an object made of wire, pipe cleaners and assorted other trinkets, and then was required to write instructions on how to build the object from scratch. Without the benefit of seeing the object or speaking with his or her partner, a second teammate was then provided with the instructions—as well as raw materials—and told to reconstruct the original.

Although the national and regional organizations usually hold their Science Olympiads on a Saturday, LCM holds a nationally sanctioned competition on a Sunday to allow Sabbath-observing students to participate. LCM provides the space, custodial staff, faculty and student volunteers to assist with the different events.

“Our campus was abuzz with hundreds of students, teachers and Lander College undergraduates volunteers,” said Dr. Ann E. Shinnar, an associate professor of chemistry at LCM. Dr. Shinnar coordinated the event with the Yeshiva League’s director for the Science Olympiad, Linda Padwa of Stony Brook University and Laurie McMillen of Earl L. Vandermeulen high school. “We’re so pleased to host this event and enable yeshiva students interested in the sciences to participate and compete.”

As has become a tradition at the Olympiad, a professional in the scientific field addressed the students during the award ceremony. Dr. Jessica Langer, the associate principal scientist at cosmetic giant L’Oreal and a graduate of Ramaz, advised them on how they can balance careers in science with their Orthodox beliefs. Last year Dr. Irving Listowsky, professor emeritus of biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, urged the participants to pursue their interests in science.


The Lander College for Men is an undergraduate division of Touro College, in service to the Jewish community. Established in the fall of 2000 and located in Queens, N.Y., the Lander College for Men is grounded in a dual curriculum of intensive Torah study and a wide range of academic programs, and students major in professionally oriented disciplines. Lander College for Men provides students with an environment that produces ethical, mature, and well-rounded professionals committed to scholarship and career growth. Dedicated to Touro’s mission of perpetuating the Jewish heritage, Lander College for Men prepares students to uphold the ideals of Torah and pursue positions of professional and communal leadership. 


About the Touro College and University System

Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. New York Medical College, Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus, as well as Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: http://www.touro.edu/#/news/.