Seder plate HAFTR students made through 3-D printing and laser equipment.

Many New York Jewish day schools have demonstrated their ability to pioneer e-learning during the coronavirus crisis. UJA is proud to support our day school network as they lead the way with these educational innovations.

Here’s a glimpse into how students at Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) in Long Island are putting their STEM skills into action and giving back to the community.

“In the last week 20 students submitted designs for a seder plate we could create through a 3-D printer and laser equipment,” says Benjamin Gross, director of development and innovation at HAFTR.

He had the foresight to bring the school’s tech equipment home with him when school closed, with an eye toward keeping students engaged in STEM projects during the coronavirus crisis.

HAFTR students used one design to produced 30 seder plates, including one with Braille.

Working together with the Marion and Aaron Gural JCC, a UJA partner, the seder plates were cleaned and wiped with disinfectant and distributed to seniors who are unable to attend a seder this year. Many of the seniors didn’t have seder plates of their own at home.

“The project allowed students to learn more about the coronavirus crisis and also help people in a time of need,” Benjamin says and noted that the school plans to continue using this difficult time as a good learning opportunity.

What’s up next?

HAFTR students have started working on designs for a new 3-D printing project to create plastic face guards for doctors.

“Students are attending a virtual school,” Benjamin says. “These projects offer a chance to do something in real time, with real benefits for our community.”