Jew You Should Know: Joshua Bloch

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By Daniel Chavkin, Staff writer, @dchav96

Freshman aerospace engineering major Joshua Bloch with a four-by-four Rubik’s Cube at Mary- land Hillel. Amos Remer/Mitzpeh.
Freshman aerospace engineering major Joshua Bloch with a four-by-four Rubik’s Cube at Maryland Hillel. Amos Remer/Mitzpeh.

Everybody has a hobby, but freshman aerospace engineering major Joshua Bloch went one step further. When he is not studying or attending services, Bloch solves Rubik’s Cubes as fast as he can. This includes solving bigger cubes, solving cubes one-handed, and solving cubes blindfolded. Bloch currently holds the unofficial world record for average of 100 solves for a specific type of cube: the gear cube with 13.88 seconds.

“I find the whole process of solving the cube extremely enjoyable,” Bloch said. “It provides a good source of stress relief.”

Bloch grew up Silver Spring, Maryland, in a modern Orthodox Jewish family. Before college, Bloch spent his whole educational life at Jewish day schools. He was an active participant at his local synagogue’s youth prayer group where he was gabbai for a year. He continues to stay active in a Jewish community as he attends services and other programs at Maryland Hillel.

In addition, he has participated in many Rubik’s Cube competitions.

“Competitions are a lot of fun, not just because of the cubing itself, but because you get to hang out with friends who enjoy cubing as much as you do,”  Bloch said.

Freshman Tommy Szeliga is in the same Rubik’s Cube club as Bloch. Szeliga says that Bloch is always looking to improve.

“While most people, like me, are satisfied with the knowledge they have now and just want to improve with that, Josh always tries to learn something new,” Szeliga said.

However, Bloch hasn’t let his Rubik’s Cube solving affect how he practices Judaism. “I had never met someone before that felt so strongly about religion that they would sacrifice doing something they are passionate about for it,” Szeliga said.

In the future, Bloch doesn’t know whether he will continue solving Rubik’s Cubes, as he isn’t sure he will still find it fun.

Bloch chose to come to this university for its aerospace engineering program. He said his interest in engineering began at an early age.

“I’ve always loved planes, but not the planes themselves, so much as the beautiful piece of engineering they represent,” he said. “Even at the age when most kids want to be pilots, I wanted to build planes, not fly them. As I grew older, that interest stayed with me, and I’m fortunate enough to get to pursue it as an aerospace engineering major.”

After he graduates, Bloch would like to become an aeronautical engineer who works on machines such as military aircrafts and missiles.

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