MTA Takes Second Place At CIJE Hack-A-Thon
MTA took second place at the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) Hack-A-Thon. The event, held on Wednesday, January 30 at Yeshiva University, presented teams of students from 13 different schools with the challenge of developing technology to assist the elderly at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh.
Each team had just 4.5 hours to create a prototype. MTA team members created a distance-sensing wheelchair to help provide independence for an elderly, blind woman. The wheelchair uses ultrasonic sensors to detect its position and notifies the woman by increasing the rate of vibrations with a motor as it moves closer to an object. It also includes a button that allows her to directly contact her nurses via a website. Students also built the website and coded the ability for it to send messages from the wheelchair regardless of its location.
MTA’s team members were excited to participate in this unique initiative and felt they learned a lot from the experience.
MTA Sophomore Lobbies In Albany
By Sam Verstandig (‘21)
MTA sophomore Sam Verstandig spent his winter vacation in Albany meeting with state senators and assembly members to discuss the opioid crisis. Sam made his first trip to Albany as an eighth-grader to lobby for anti-bullying legislation. Since then, he has made many return trips, accompanied by his parents, to push for legislation that he feels is important.
On this trip, Sam met with Washington Heights Assembly member Carmen De La Rosa, Senator Robert Jackson, and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. He also attended a Senate session, which began with his father, Rabbi Stuart Verstandig (YC ‘80, FGS ‘83, RIETS ‘84), delivering an invocation reflecting on how the 10 Commandments of Leadership coincide with Parashas Yisro. Sam had the honor of meeting newly elected Senator Anna Kaplan (SCW ‘85 and CSL ‘90) on the Senate floor. Sam was also introduced on the Assembly floor by his local Kew Gardens Hills Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal. “I watched our government in action, as the hallways of the Capitol building were filled with lobbyists and protesters due to the signing of multiple bills by Governor Cuomo,” said Sam. “I hope to pursue a career in politics one day, and appreciate the opportunity to continue learning about how our local New York State government works.”
As founder of MTA’s New York Political Action Club and an intern at Yeshiva University’s Office of Government Relations, Sam enhances MTA’s civic spirit curriculum by sharing his experiences with his fellow students.
MTA Welcomes Yeshivat Makor Chaim Talmidim
MTA is excited to welcome a group of talmidim from Yeshivat Makor Chaim (YMC) in Israel. MTA’s unique Makor Chaim Israel Exchange Program enables a group of MTA sophomores to spend a month learning at YMC and a group of YMC juniors to spend a month learning at MTA.
The YMC talmidim infuse MTA with the ruach and spirituality that their yeshiva is known for. Throughout the month, they can be found greeting MTA talmidim with live music, singing, and dancing. They also host a Likrat Shabbat celebration every Thursday night, where they help the entire yeshiva get into the Shabbos spirit, in addition to bringing interactive Torah learning to every shiur. n