BTJ student returns “home” after 20 years

ronen-atiaWhen the door opened to Dr. Yaakov Fuchs’ classroom last month, the long-standing Boys Town Jerusalem English teacher welcomed a tall, slim young man. As he shook Dr. Fuchs’ hand, 36-year-old Ronen Atia, Dr Fuchs was reminded of the frail student, who was plagued by a lack of confidence and very low self-esteem.

Dr. Fuchs was thrilled to hear that Ronen was inspired by his teachers at Boys Town Jerusalem to reach great heights. Now married and the father of three, Ronen has worked for the past seven years as an educator in the Kedma Youth Village, an educational and therapeutic facility for adolescents and youth at risk, helping to give them the confidence and belief that they too can achieve their dreams.

“You gave me the belief that it’s always possible to succeed, that I had the power to change my life. The four years that I lived and studied at Boys Town Jerusalem turned my life around,” he declared. “Now this is what I am trying to do for others.”

Ronen, a native of the port city of Ashkelon, notes that Boys Town Jerusalem principal Rabbi Elimelech Yaakov had been a great inspiration to him as well. “Rabbi Elimelech imbued us with the spiritual strength and knowledge we needed to move forward with our lives. These two teachers had a tremendous influence on my life, and their example guides me to this day.”