CIJE crew at Mobileye

Over the past decade, the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE), has been committed to improving and enriching the quality of general studies education, with an emphasis on STEM education, in Jewish schools throughout the United States. Currently, CIJE programs are being implemented in 210 schools, in 18 states, addressing the needs of 40,000 students. CIJE-Tech middle and high school programs help prepare our students for the challenges of the work world in the coming decades.

On February 15, a delegation comprised of twenty students and five chaperones, representing Jewish schools from New York, New Jersey, and Florida arrived in Israel to embark on the third annual CIJE Journey to the Startup Nation. The “Journey” organized and led by Judy Lebovits along with CIJE vice president and director, aimed to introduce CIJE-Tech students to engineers, executives, and entrepreneurs and to gain skills in brainstorming, developing and pitching ideas. “CIJE’s Journey to the Startup Nation gave students a unique opportunity to see Israel through a new lens. Israel stands as a world leader in technology and innovation. A chance to participate in activities at university research labs, to visit world renown company headquarters, testing facilities, and hospitals using cutting edge technology, all narrated by the people making it happen, makes a lasting impression. Access to the entrepreneurs makes anything seem possible. “Their passion was infectious,” remarked Rifkie Silverman, Frisch School, CIJE-tech instructor and adviser.

CIJE crew at Mazor Robotics
CIJE crew at Technion
CIJE crew with Airobotics Drones

At Mobileye, in Jerusalem, students were introduced to the technology that will ultimately lead to autonomous vehicles on our highways. The students met with the CEO of Mazor Robotics, in Caesarea, and “participated” in robotic spine surgery (on a mannequin, of course!). Adam Jerozolim, CIJE engineering specialist and mentor, guided the students through a water activity that helped the students better understand the flow of water along the aqueducts in Caesarea. Students were introduced to the many varied uses of drone engineering at Airobotics in Petach Tikva. “A central theme that was pervasive throughout the week was the importance of self-confidence and motivation,” commented Dr. Bracha Erblich, CIJE-tech instructor, adviser at Bruriah High School. The many applications of artificial intelligence were studied at Intelligo, Givat Shmuel. At Rambam Hospital, Haifa, students learned at the most up to date discoveries in biomedical engineering and cures for diseases. They visited the emergency underground hospital at Rambam. A full day of robotics and programming classes at the Technion in Haifa was an amazing experience. Our final speaker, Hillel Fuld, CMO-tech blogger and startup advisor, who discussed the importance of motivation and believing in yourself, was extremely impressed with our students and praised their knowledge, diligence, and enthusiasm. “The experience of meeting with CEO’s of publicly traded tech firms and VP’s of venture capital firms are both experiences that will drive and inspire these students for a lifetime,” remarked Adam Jerozolim. Our students left Israel with a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment, ready to tackle the completion of their capstone projects and their presentations on CIJE Innovation Day: May 6, 2:00-5:00, at the New York Hilton! Save the date!

Below is a letter written by one of the students immediately following the CIJE “Journey”:

Dear Judy,

Thank you so much for taking us on what truly was the trip of a lifetime. I could never have accomplished a fraction of what I have in high school without CIJE. It has provided me with a clear direction for life that I never could have had without CIJE. Each day on this trip I felt like I was being given a glimpse into my own future, I really see myself owning a startup in Israel one day and that’s only possible because of my strong engineering background from CIJE. It was fascinating to see what made each one of the companies successful and find commonalities despite how different their end products were. Also, the business advice they gave us will be invaluable to me- there is no other opportunity that gives this comprehensive a view of the industry before entering the workforce. Also, since I’m in 12th grade and want an internship in Israel next year already, all the business cards in my wallet and connections we made will be incredibly useful. The trip to Technion got me so excited for the future—I want nothing more than to be admitted there so thank you so much for talking to them for me! I made amazing friends on this trip, who I know I’ll be friends with and maybe even work with in the future. This trip gave us a leg up that most high school kids will never even come close to. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone and judging at the CIJE competition!

Thank you so much for everything,

Brocha Silverman (Bruriah High School for Girls)

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