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April 1, 2019


Boys Town Jerusalem (BTJ) was established in 1948 in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Jerusalem. The mission of the school is to turn young boys from limited backgrounds into young men with limitless futures. For over 40 years, Canadian Friends of Boys Town Jerusalem has been raising funds to support the mission. The annual enrollment of over 950 students come from impoverished and challenging circumstances - broken homes, poverty, illness and abuse.


The school is one of Israel's premier educational institutions. From Junior High through the college level, students learn from a three part curriculum - academic, technological and Torah – which prepares the students for the future. In addition to this first class education, the students get emotional and psychological support from a team of social workers and psychologists and they enjoy three nutritious and delicious meals a day.


Upon graduation, all students enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). More than 250 BTJ graduates are now career officers. Others, of the over 7,000 graduates, contribute to Israel’s booming high tech industry; while some have become Rabbis, government officials or civil servants. Many have gone on to establish careers in education, engineering, medicine, law, and accounting.


The time at Boys Town not only provides the students with the knowledge and skills they need, it is also designed to instil them with outstanding moral standards and a sense of responsibility. The experience allows the students to excel in whatever they do…..



A sophisticated robot hand-built by three BTJ ninth graders was awarded first prize for Mechanical Design in the Jerusalem Regional FLL (FIRST LEGO League) -Israel Robotics Competition, beating out over 51 other contestants.

The international FLL contest challenges students to build, program and operate a robot. Like its fellow contestants, BTJ’s winning robot consisted of hundreds of Lego pieces precisely designed and assembled for innovative, vigorous performance. Each robot must autonomously solve a set of missions in a series of nail-biting 2½ minute sessions on the FLL Tournament floor.

Yair Zabbit, 15, was the BTJ team member who masterminded the prizewinning mechanical design, in collaboration with classmates Netanel Hanau and Yehudah Zeevi. “Our robot excelled thanks to the fast-acting arms and higher wheels we custom-built to enable it to carry out simultaneous missions,” Yair explained. The team worked for over three months to create a project aimed at solving a real-world problem related to this year’s theme of space travel. In addition, these ninth graders also serve as mentors for the 7th and 8th grade FLL team members. As Yair notes, “I’m happy to share my experience and knowledge with the younger boys. After all, teamwork is the most important part of what we do here and everywhere.” 

BTJ Principal Doron Taib commented that the FLL program is vital for the school’s large number of disadvantaged students. “The enthusiasm, knowledge and confidence that they gain from the robotics activities have enormous value for their future and the future of Israel as a whole.”



In a sweeping victory, the BTJ High School soccer team clinched First Place in the 2019 National Yeshiva High School league. The team scored its decisive win in a three-game final held in Tel Aviv against over 30 teams from across the nation.

Doron Deutch, head of BTJ’s physical education department, said “The team members practiced very hard for this match and it showed in their performance. Support from donors across the globe has given our athletics program the facilities and encouragement that makes every student a winner. For each boy, but primarily those from disadvantaged families, sports play a crucial role in bolstering physical and emotional health.”

Students practice on the high-quality Kaswell and Beren sports fields on campus as well as in the state-of-the-art Kaswell Fitness Center. They focus on building overall stamina and strength. Turning from body to soul, Deutch noted a recent gift of professional uniforms gave players a huge boost of confidence. “We were definitely the best-dressed team at the tournament,” Deutch smiled. “Our boys felt professional, and their opponents stood up and took notice.”

By the end of the grueling back-to-back three-game final (scores 2-2, 2-1 and 4-1), the champs were close to exhaustion. “Their positive energy kicked in to keep them going,” said Coach Deutch. “Of course, I’m delighted with the results. But I’m most proud to see how our boys mastered the art of sportsmanship – they respected every player and team. That’s what makes champions.”





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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.