Lander College for Men Announces Winners of Second Annual Jacob Goldfinger Memorial Mathematics Contest for Yeshiva High School Students in The U.S. And Canada

Date: May 09, 2011
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Barbara Franklin
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New York, N.Y. – Dr. Moshe Sokol, Dean of Touro College’s Lander College for Men (LCM), has announced the winners of the second annual Jacob Goldfinger Memorial Mathematics Contest, created to broaden and enrich Yeshiva high school students' knowledge of mathematics and to enhance their mathematical creativity.

This year, two sisters from Passaic, N.J.—Tzipporah Greenberg and Rivka Greenberg from Bais Yaakov of Passaic High School for Girls, took first and third places, respectively. Mark Kollmar of Edison, N.J., a student at Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck, N.J., took second place. An honorary mention went to Sion Siyanov of Rego Park, a student at Ezra Academy of Queens in Flushing, N.Y.

Both Tzipporah Greenberg and Mark Kollmar received honorable mention in last year’s inaugural competition. The first place prizewinner received $1,000; the second place winner, $350; and the third place winner, $150.

The competition, which consisted of both word problems and equations to solve, was open to full-time yeshiva high school students in the United States and Canada who were 19 and younger as of December 31, 2010. In its second year, the competition is believed to be the first such national contest designed specifically for yeshiva students in the U.S. This year’s contest focused on number theory, the branch of mathematics concerned with the properties of numbers in general, and integers in particular.

"We were most impressed with the students’ abilities to tackle these problems and equations, some of which proved extremely challenging," Dean Sokol said. "Should they choose to pursue careers that involve mathematics, all of them can be expected to do well."

The dean added that this competition, sponsored by LCM, was open to both genders, as The Lander Colleges seek to encourage and cultivate the mathematical talents of all yeshiva students, male and female. Additionally, the Dean added that as in 2010, the mathematics competition allows LCM to partner with yeshiva high schools in providing enrichment materials for their use.

The contest examination was based on preparatory reading material that was provided to all participants in advance via a password-protected site on the Internet. The preparatory material consisted of readings, challenging problems, and their solutions. The material was divided into learning modules and participants were strongly encouraged to complete them in accordance with a schedule on the web site.

The final examination was administered on April 3, 2011.

Dr. Moshe Snow, associate professor of mathematics at LCM and contest chairman, said that the field of mathematics continues to be a lucrative place for today’s college graduates who show aptitude since there is a growing need for Internet-age mathematicians, statisticians, and data analysts.

"The need for quality mathematicians is continuing to grow while the number of college graduates pursuing careers in mathematics or related fields is shrinking," he said. "We hope that through our mathematics competition, and through the sharing of pertinent academic materials among yeshiva high schools, we will encourage more students to take an interest in this very rewarding field."

In addition to Dr. Snow, the Prize Advisory Committee, which helped design the contest and provided the overall guidance on content and structuring of the exam, consisted 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); 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 and daughter, Solomon Goldfinger and Regina Fischbein, are proud to have sponsored this competition and are gratified by the strong interest and participation it has engendered.

Lander College for Men/Beis Medrash L’Talmud, located in Queens, N.Y., is committed to the pursuit of excellence in Jewish and academic studies in a personalized environment. Established in the fall of 2000, the purpose of LCM is to provide a superior college education for students committed to serious Beis Medrash learning in an atmosphere of Torah.