Bridging Tradition and Innovation in Chicago – Walder Science’s ‘Young Innovators Challenge’ Transforms Orthodox Jewish Life

By Tamar Snyder

Orthodox Jewish life presents unique challenges, particularly when it comes to adherence to Halachah. That didn’t stop the ninth- and tenth-grade girls of Walder Science’s Young Jewish Innovators Challenge from embarking on a problem-solving journey. On February 6, the students presented their innovative products designed to make observing Shabbos more convenient, safe and enjoyable.

Earning first place, the Shabbos-Friendly Timer and App will change the game of Shabbos prep, streamlining the process with user-friendly checklists and a timer synced together via an app. Coming in second place, the Hot Water Urn Safety Cover prevents contact burns and hot spills from conventional water urns. This groundbreaking invention provides safety and peace of mind. Rounding out the top three, say goodbye to the heavy and cumbersome traditional blech with a revolutionary alternative: the Blech Board. It’s built to be thinner, lighter, easier to use and most importantly affordable.

Against the backdrop of this spirit of innovation, the three top-scoring inventions from the Walder Science Young Jewish Innovators Challenge serve as a testament to the dedication of these young minds in shaping a more comfortable and fulfilling future for the Orthodox Jewish community. These winning innovations simplify Shabbos observance, making the experience more enjoyable and stress-free.

These remarkable ideas were inspired through collaboration, independent study and insightful field trips. Participants engaged with leading scientists, toured life science labs and worked alongside industrial engineers, gaining invaluable insights into the inventive process and valuable tips to help them refine their prototypes.

As a rewarding culmination to the challenge, all the participants enjoyed a trip to Florida to visit the Kennedy Space Station, gaining exclusive insights into NASA’s cutting-edge space exploration innovations.

Founded by Dr. Joseph and Elizabeth Walder in 2000, Walder Science is committed to providing educational science enrichment through the prism of Jewish values. For more than two decades, Walder Science has enriched the lives of children and adults in the Chicago area with innovative opportunities to explore, research and interact with a variety of scientific disciplines.

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