How My Son Met The Rubik’s Cube Inventor

Today, was one of those days my 10 year old will remember forever.  Aryeh got a taste of what it’s like to grow up in the Start Up Nation. On a quiet Friday morning in Israel, he got to play hooky from school and join a group of “cubers” who had the privilege of meeting Prof Erno Rubik, the Hungarian inventor of the Rubik’s Cube. So what’s the back story?

The Cubers Rubik's Cube Collection
The Cubers Rubik’s Cube Collection

Aryeh is a 5th grader in Jerusalem, who loves to play challenging games. This summer, when he chose to go to a Hacker & Robotics Camp, he decided that he needed to solve the Rubik’s Cube before camp began.

He did what any boy his age would do. He found the You Tube video and taught himself the Rubik’s strategy. After he mastered the 3×3 “cubia Hungarit” (Rubik’s cube in Hebrew), he moved on to the 2×2 and then 4×4. Now Aryeh can often be found walking around with a Rubik’s cube in hand.

So when I heard that Prof Rubik was going to speak at the Design Museum in Holon, I knew that Aryeh had to be there. I was disappointed to hear that the tickets were already sold out, but then excited to hear that there was a pre-event for cubers (the first time I had heard that term). The pre-event took place at the Mediateque right next to the Design Museum. We entered the building and found a group of kids, mostly teenagers sharing tricks, strategies and even selling each other new and exciting versions of the cube. Before the professor arrived, we got to meet Eyal Alfasi, the teenage Rubik’s cube champion in Israel.

Israel's Rubik's Cube Champion with Prof Rubik
Israel’s Rubik’s Cube Champion with Prof Rubik

Each kid walked in with a backpack full of cubes and a friendly attitude. This actually really impressed me because although these kids have talents that could express themselves very competitively, they were actually all sharing their knowledge with each other.

Prof Rubik entered the room while Aryeh was trying to solve his new pyramid Rubik’s but I was able to pull him away from the game for a minute for a quick picture and an autograph on Aryeh’s oldest cube (which is now a display item and not a toy!).

The Israeli Cubers
The Israeli Cubers

It wasn’t just an eventful day for Aryeh but it was also a milestone for me as a Olah. By meeting the “cubers” and their parents and learning about the Rubik’s in Israel facebook group and the brain games conference at the Weitzman Institute each year, I feel like I have just opened a new door for my kids into a part of the Israeli Start Up society.

 

About the Author
Joanna Shebson runs Fun In Jerusalem, a Jerusalem tourism website that inspires family fun & Party in Jerusalem inspiring families to celebrate Bar/Bat Mitzvas in Israel. She and her husband made aliyah in 2007 from Los Angeles and love living in Jerusalem with their three kids. Joanna has an MBA from Kellogg Business School and is known for thinking out of the box especially when entertaining her kids.
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