Plenty of Israeli kids have reached the heights of success while still in their teens.
We’ve got high-achieving teens like Shaked Reich, 16, and Eden Rozen, 17, studying physics at Tel Aviv University through a national academic accelerator program for future scientists. We have high-tech entrepreneurs like Iddo Gino, 17, and Reuven Karasik, 16. We have recording artists like Hatrempistim (The Hitchhikers) – Haifa high school seniors Idan Kogan, Tom Bunzel, Tom Goldstein and Tomer Borenstein.
Listed below alphabetically are 19 of the most accomplished Israelis under the age of 19, excelling in music, sports, academia and business.If you know of others, we’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.
1. Linoy Ashram, 15, started competing in rhythmic gymnastics internationally in 2011 and won the all-around gold at the 2014 Junior Grand Prix Final in Innsbruck, Austria. She is a two-time Israeli Junior National Champion and earned bronze medals in clubs and ribbon at the 2014 European Junior Championships, qualifying her for the Israeli delegation to the Youth Olympics Games.
2. Or Assulin, 17, is one of 14 outstanding Israelis chosen to light an Independence Day torch at the annual ceremony on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on April 22. The teen from Acre (Akko) heads an enterprise to develop young entrepreneurs, and studies brain science at ORT Braude College of Engineering once a week through Atidim, an advanced science program for the top 10 to 30 percent of high school students from Israeli periphery towns.
3. Motti Fang Bentov, 17, son of a Chinese mother and Israeli father, began playing piano at five. At age 10, he appeared as a soloist with Symphony RG in Rishon LeZion and won first prize in the Chopin Competition in Tel Aviv. He has since won several national prizes and scholarships, and performed twice in New York. He now studies with Prof. Tomer Lev at the Israel Conservatory of Music, Tel Aviv.
4. Avital Boruchovsky, 17, became the 2014 European Youth U18 Chess Champion after winning a four-hour game against a Spanish opponent last October. The 12th-grader from Rehovot won both the 2012 European Individual Chess Championship and the 2013 European Club Cup, and was crowned the youngest Israeli Grand Master in January 2014. He plays four hours a day at the Kfar Saba Chess Club.
5. Linoy Dalmidi, 13½, recently lectured before 1,000 people at a Bar-Ilan University Night of Scientists event about her experience as a science reporter for Young Galileo, Israel’s popular science magazine for kids. She writes a monthly column, “Diary of a Young Researcher.” Linoy is also an accomplished opera singer whose soprano voice recently earned her first place In a singing competition.
6. Tzuf Feldon, 16, is considered Israel’s leading junior gymnast. Last summer she placed first in uneven bars, beam and floor events in the national junior championships (which were interrupted briefly by an incoming rocket from Gaza). She’s competed in Hungary and Czechoslovakia and is a likely future Olympian.
7. Maya Fishman, 16, is a first-year medical student in Tsameret, the Elite Military Medicine Track at the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine in Jerusalem. She is set to become Israel’s youngest doctor when she graduates at 22 and enters active service. Maya aced her college-entrance exams at 14 and won a competition for exceptional Bible students at Bar-Ilan University.
8. Yulia Gordichuk, 16, is a Paralympic swimmer with a prosthetic leg. A panel at the Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sports chose her “Most Promising Young Athlete” for 2014, calling her an outstanding example of an accomplished athlete with a disability. Yulia placed fourth in the 400-meter freestyle in this year’s European Championships in the Netherlands, assuring her a spot on Israel’s Paralympic squad.
9. Nadav Guedj, 16, will represent Israel in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna this May following his victory in the TV singing competition Kochav Haba (Rising Star) on February 17. Nadav, the youngest contestant, wowed the judges and voting viewers with his renditions of John Legend’s “All of Me” and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.”
10. Marc Hinnawi, 17, set a new record for his age group when he won a gold medal in swimming at the 2013 Youth Olympic Games in Holland. He finished the 400-meter freestyle heat in 3:57.73. Marc, an Arab-Israeli from Jaffa, is expected to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
11. Ariel Lanyi, 17, began playing piano at age two and has performed across Israel and in London, Paris, Rome, Prague and Belfast. In 2012, Ariel released “Romantic Profiles,” a recital album featuring works by Schumann, Liszt, Brahms and Janacek. He studies piano, violin, chamber music and composition at the High School and Conservatory of the Jerusalem Academy of Music, and is concertmaster of the High School and Conservatory Orchestra.
12. Neta Mark, 18, is making her mark in international modeling circles and is represented in Tel Aviv and Paris. She has said that kids in school used to make fun of her disproportionate body and thick lips, but agencies love her unusual look. Watch for more of it in print ads and runways.
13. Tal Mordoch, 16, became Israel’s first national yo-yo champion in 2014, and captured second place in the 2015 European Yo-Yo Championship held in Poland on March 5-7. Tal, who lives in Ramat Hasharon, is now training for the world championships in Tokyo to be held in August.
14. Yshai Oliel, 14, captured two Junior Orange Bowl tennis titles in two years. He bested Taiwan’s Chen-jui Ho in the finals of the international tournament in Florida on December 23 last year, becoming only the ninth male in the tourney’s 53-year history to win both the Boys 12 and Boys 14 title. He’s likely to be Israel’s next Dudi Sela or Andy Ram.
15. Ido Shkuri, 17, is an MVP guard on Israel’s national basketball wheelchair team for athletes under 22. Ido was an avid soccer and tennis player until four years ago, when surgery to remove a tumor in his pelvis left him unable to walk without crutches. His talent for wheelchair basketball was discovered at the ILAN Foundation for Handicapped Children’s Ramat Gan sports facility. In September 2014, he was part of Israel’s first delegation to the European Championship team of young disabled athletes, held in Spain.
16. Avraham Terifa, 16, made history in 2013 when he became the first Ethiopian Israeli to be accepted to the Young Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then, the young violinist from Jerusalem has performed solos with the Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He began his training at age eight at the Jerusalem Conservatory’s Hassadna program.
17. Nicole Trosman, 18, is considered a table-tennis prodigy, winning the European Youth Championships in 2011. She played for Israel at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing last August and is expected to represent Israel at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. Her father, a table-tennis coach, started her on the sport when she was six and a half.
18. Eyal Walach, 12, is studying for a BA in mathematics and physics at Bar-Ilan University. In fourth grade, the Hod Hasharon youth took an exam normally administered to seventh-graders by Bar-Ilan’s Center for the Advancement of Mathematical Sciences. His results were so outstanding that he was offered an opportunity to take the high-school matriculation exam, which he aced. Eyal is expected to earn his bachelor’s degree before he turns 15.
19. Raz Zuaretz, 17, was last year’s youth recipient of the Presidential Medal for Volunteerism. He began volunteering at age 12 in the Netanya chapter of Krembo Wings, a national voluntary organization for children with special needs. Later he was elected coordinator of all Krembo Wings mentors,giving him responsibility for managing 80 volunteers aged 14-18. Raz also volunteers with Latet, collecting holiday essentials for needy families, and with Psagot, which mentors high-potential children from disadvantaged backgrounds.