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Small-Town Israeli Students Achieve Big Successes Through Robotics

When Miami and Yerucham – a town in Israel’s Negev Desert – formed a partnership in 2007, one of the goals was for people of all ages to share information, ideas and experiences that would enrich the lives of residents of each community. A major source of pride for both Partnership cities has been Yerucham’s robotics program, which has not only succeeded in igniting passion and enthusiasm among students from kindergarten through high school, but has also garnered international recognition for its innovative robots.

Recently, Dr. Rachel Knoll, Director and Co-Founder of the Yerucham Science Center, and 18-year-old Rotem Stahl, a Yerucham high school graduate and Manager of the Science Center’s robotics department, shared the “six ingredients of Yerucham’s magic recipe for meaningful learning” at a TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Watch the video here.

In their presentation, Knoll and Stahl demonstrate how the study of robotics fills children with curiosity that can lead them to other successes. Knoll believes students of all abilities can “beat the statistics” with hard work, persistence and a strong belief in their potential.

Formerly known as small peripheral town, Yerucham has been transformed in recent years into a “Robotics Empire.” Kids join a junior robotics team as early as the age of 6, with older students mentoring the younger children. Altogether, there are 25 robotics teams throughout Yerucham, with more than 300 students participating; 1 in 4 kids in Yerucham is learning about robotics and engineering.  The “Y-Team” has taken home top awards from numerous international robotics competitions, and through visits to Miami, has inspired local students to pursue their own robotics activities. The Y-Team is also in contact with students at Florida International University and a robotics team at Coral Ridge High School.

With funding from the Annual Greater Miami Jewish Federation/UJA Campaign, the Miami-Yerucham Partnership has a Mission to leverage social, human and financial capital, to inspire community engagement and development. By investing in relationships, education, culture and community-building initiatives, it is hoped that participants will feel a deeper commitment to Israel and the Jewish people, while enriching the quality of life in both communities. 

The Chairs of the Partnership are Lisa Kudish Rosenburg in Miami and Jeff Goodman in Yerucham. Read more about the Partnership here or visit them on Facebook.

For the latest news about the Y-Team, like their Facebook page.  For more information, contact Dahlia Bendavid, Director of Federation's Israel and Overseas Department, at 786.866.8445 or dbendavid@gmjf.org.

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