May 26, 2024
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May 26, 2024
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Jerusalem College of Technology Transforms Lives and Bolsters Israel’s Economy

“I didn’t even know the difference between a rectangle and a square”—the astonishing words of charedi JCT graduate Aharon S. Aharon is currently the cybersecurity consultant for Ernst and Young in Israel. Elisheva Epstein found her way to JCT, and is now a software developer with one of Teaneck’s own native sons, Cross River Bank in Israel. These two amazing stories are but a small sample of the impressive and lengthy record of JCT successes since their inception in 1969.

At a lavish backyard siyum barbecue hosted by dedicated Teaneck JCT supporters Tamar and Ross Rothenberg recently, Friends of JCT brought some stories as well as the wares of their success. Starting off with a siyum on Mesechta Horayot by Rabbi Shmuli Zema, he then introduced alumna Dr. Natalie Fardian Melamed, “the poster child of JCT.” Rabbi Zema serves as executive director of Friends of JCT and coordinated the event. Melamed holds a portfolio of impressive credentials and is currently conducting post-doctoral nanoparticle research at Columbia University in the area of colored laser use in cancer and other potential treatments. Rabbi Zema interviewed Melamed about her experience at JCT, and she shared a brief biography of her education at JCT and how it has been instrumental in her current career path as a respected researcher and expert in her field.

“JCT is one of Israel’s major religious academic institutions with over 4,800 students on three campuses, and the second largest academic institution in Jerusalem,” according to JCT, which specializes in high-tech engineering, industrial management, business administration and the life and health sciences. “As a Jewish religious institution, JCT’s mission is to produce highly skilled professionals for Israel’s rapidly developing industries who possess a strong commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel.”

Host Tamar Rothenberg also shared her passion for supporting the organization. “JCT stands for empowering women. 20% of women studying computer science in Israel do so at JCT, graduating with six-figure American salaries out of the gate.” She also told the approximately 100 guests about the new International Program option now being offered. “Our children graduating high school can now consider making aliyah with an affordable degree in English that will set them up with a career for life, in a frum environment … the best bang for your buck!”

Judy Lebovits, director of recruitment for the International Program spoke briefly, encouraging the attendees to consider JCT for their own children.

Host Ross Rothenberg spoke about the benefits to Israel and to the charedi community. “Israel’s charedi population comprises about 14%, growing at a rate twice that of any other demographic. Only half are employed due to [communal] social stigma and insufficient academic training,” taxing Israel’s economy to the tune of $2.3 billion annually due to lost income-tax revenue and welfare costs. “Many Dati Leumi and secular populations grow increasingly frustrated paying for the unsustainable charedi way of life.”

Ross Rothenberg said he became involved with JCT because “they are solving the charedi issue with greater success than any other program in Israel, training more than 2,000 charedim annually as top engineers, accountants and health care professionals; allowing them to integrate into the workforce while retaining their cultural identity. With a 90% employment rate, we are getting them off the public payroll, strengthening their families, communities and the economy of Israel for generations to come.”

The tuition is an unbelievable $3,800 for a full year, complete with a dual curriculum including religious studies. Where can you get a technical, business or trade school education for this kind of money? Only in Jerusalem at JCT!

Concluding the evening, Rabbi Zema called upon Menachem Srulowitz in recognition of his efforts to obtain a $100,000 donation to JCT from former Congregation B’nei Jeshurun of Monsey. Three years ago, following the closing of the shul, there remained funds from the sale of the shul’s assets. Srulowitz campaigned for the shul to make a donation in memory of their esteemed Rabbi Yisroel Flam, also legendary dean of the Yeshiva of Spring Valley, and in honor of their esteemed Rebbetzin Noa Flam.

Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, deputy mayor of Jerusalem said in an interview, “JCT offers an education that provides quality employment and is moving the Israel economy forward.”

Co-president of the board for Friends of JCT, Joel Strauss said he got involved because “JCT is transforming the face of Israel. As chareidim integrate into the workforce, they and their non-dati colleagues are learning more about each other and learning to respect each other.” 

Jerusalem College of Technology has much to offer to graduating seniors as well as older students, many of whom enroll following their tour of duty with the IDF. For more information about enrollment, to make a donation or a dedication as their campus expands; to view a five-minute video about JCT https://www.youtube.com/atch?v=IbjVRS- or visit the website friendsofjct.org/

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