Block’s Rosenbloom impresses in contest

Block’s Rosenbloom impresses in contest


Rabbi Gabriel Munk, principal of Block Yeshiva High School, called 17-year-old Aharon Rosenbloom a “science-wiz kind of a kid,” who “also happens to be a very brilliant Talmudic scholar.”

In the Third Annual Jerusalem Science Contest, Rosenbloom’s adeptness in these two areas put him in first place.

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The contest — cosponsored by IDT, Inc. of Coralville, Iowa, and the Jerusalem College of Technology — is open to Jewish high school juniors and seniors throughout the country but accepts only students who pass a pre-qualifying exam. Only 18 students passed the pre-qualifying exam this year, and only 14 students qualified for the final oral competition on March 6 in Skokie, Ill.

Rosenbloom said the contest was “a lot of work,” and while he said it did not interfere with his schoolwork — though his course-load currently includes Advanced Placement European History and a course that is equivalent to Advanced Placement Calculus — it certainly cut into his free time.

During the five-month course of the contest, Rosenbloom listened once a week to prerecorded lectures given by professors from MIT, Brandeis and other schools, read parts of a textbook, and took weekly tests. The focus of this year’s competition was on chemistry, and the Judaic focus was on the chemistry of techeilet — the turquoise dye used for tzitzit, and reconciling the age of the universe with the six days of creation.

Rosenbloom said the oral competition in Skokie was “a little scary.”

Students gathered in Skokie waited together in one room before being called in and asked two different oral questions each — one on chemistry and one on the Judaic aspect.

For first place, Rosenbloom received $1,000 in cash, a free trip to Israel and a four-year tuition scholarship to the Jerusalem College of Technology.

A senior at Block, Rosenbloom is planning on studying in Israel next year, “at least for one year, and probably two,” and said he is definitely thinking about studying at the Jerusalem College of Technology, “but I still have time to think about it, so we’ll see.”

Keren Douek is a staff writer and can be reached at [email protected].