Lander College for Men Announces Jacob Goldfinger Memorial Mathematics Contest for Yeshiva High School Students in the U.S. And Canada

Date: October 12, 2012
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Barbara Franklin
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Contest Believed to be First Such National Competition for Yeshiva Students.

New York, N.Y. - Touro College’s Lander College for Men (LCM) has announced its inaugural Jacob Goldfinger Memorial Mathematics Contest. The competition is open to full-time yeshiva high school students in the United States and Canada who are 19 and younger as of December 31, 2009. Participants can register and start preparing for the contest as early as October 12th, but must register for the contest no later than November 15th, 2009.

The contest is designed to broaden and enrich Yeshiva high school students' knowledge of mathematics and to enhance their mathematical creativity.

“We believe this is the first such national contest designed specifically for yeshiva students in the United States,” said Dr. Moshe Sokol, dean of LCM. “For generations, Jews have excelled in mathematics and their mathematical knowledge and creativity has greatly benefitted humankind. Unfortunately, the study of mathematics has declined both in the Jewish and the secular arenas, though the world has become more complex and knowledge of mathematics has become more critical.”

Dean Sokol added that this mathematics competition is more than just a contest in that LCM is partnering with yeshiva high schools in providing enrichment materials for their use.

The contest examination will be based on preparatory reading material to be provided to all participants in advance via a password-protected site on the Internet. The preparatory material will consist of readings, challenging problems, and their solutions. The material is divided into learning modules and participants are strongly encouraged to complete them in accordance with a schedule on the Web site.

The final examination will be administered on Sunday, March 14, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST and final results will be announced approximately two weeks after that date. Three prizes will be awarded: the first place prizewinner will receive $1,000; the second place winner $350; and the third place winner $150.

Dr. Morris Snow, associate professor of mathematics at LCM and contest chairman, said that the field of mathematics is an exciting and lucrative place to be for today’s college graduates.

“There is a growing need today for Internet-age mathematicians, statisticians, and data analysts,” said Dr. Snow, adding that the subjects the contest covers are probability, which is the basis of all statistical analysis; mathematical induction, a powerful methodology for mathematical proofs; and methods of problem solving.

“Statisticians and data analysts can look forward to rewarding careers in academia, at Internet search engine companies, at insurance companies, within the U.S. government, and at top American companies such as I.B.M., to name a few,” Dr. Snow said.

The Prize Advisory Committee, which helped design the contest and provided the overall guidance on content and structuring of the exam, consists of Dr. Sylvain Cappell, Silver Professor, New York University Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and chair, New York University Faculty Senate; Dr. Wallace Goldberg, professor of mathematics and chairman, mathematics department, Queens College; Dr. Nouri Levy, deputy chairman, mathematics department, LCM; Dr. Stanley Ocken, professor of mathematics, City College of New York; Micah Segelman, Ph.D. candidate in statistics, University of Rochester (formerly instructor of mathematics at Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim and Shevach High School); Dr. Moshe Snow, associate professor of mathematics, LCM; and Dr. Joel Wolowelsky, dean of faculty and instructor of mathematics, Yeshivah of Flatbush.

Born in Poland in 1914, Jacob Goldfinger immigrated to the U.S. after losing his entire family in the Holocaust. The father of two children, grandfather of nine, and great-grandfather of 15, he did not have a formal education but possessed a very sharp mind and an exceptional aptitude for mathematics until his death at 93. His son, Solomon Goldfinger, senior vice president and senior advisor to the president at New York Life Insurance Co., is a member of the Board of Trustees of Touro College.

Further information about the contest can be found at