JHSML – Why We do What We Do

What’s the Jewish High School Math League? Why should I care?

As is stated in our mission statement, the JHSML was created in order to promote and contribute to the development and growth of mathematics among the new generation of Jewish youth by holding national competitions and establishing a network of Jewish teens passionate about math. While this sounds nice, it still doesn’t answer why it’s necessary.

Really the answer is that it was created in order to address the recent decrease of interest in mathematics among Jewish youth, which is reflected in the participation of Jews in international competitions. This is seen in a study by Ron Unz in his famous Unz Review article “The Myth of American Meritocracy” where he reveals a shocking study conducted that tracked the Jewish achievement and participation over the past few decades in national academic competitions and standardized tests. The study found that in the 1970s, Jews were 40% of those chosen for the annual Math Olympiad and since 2000, this figure has dropped to 2.5%. This is surprising considering academics, and more specifically mathematics, has always been highly regarded in the Jewish Community. Jews have always been known for their aptitude for math, but this reputation now seems terribly inaccurate. The explanation for this sudden change is not that Jews have become less intelligent, rather that there has been a shift in focus away from mathematics and academia.

Our hope is that with this organization we can bring back the involvement of Jewish youth in mathematics and place Jews back on the competitive academic stage. The way we want to do this is to create an international Jewish high school math competition as well as a website which will host a number of programs focused on promoting the study of mathematics in the Jewish community. We also felt that the traditional educational system, particularly in the study of mathematics, is repulsive to young students and draws them away from pursuing the field. This is why we’ve created an infrastructure of online resources, so that we can spread our passion for mathematics through an alternative method of education.  

We really hope that you utilize the resources provided on the website and participate in the competitions so that you can help us spur the interest in mathematics of Jewish students worldwide.  

Please contact us at jhsmathleague@gmail.com with any questions regarding our website or provided materials.