As all Israeli schools and universities have been ordered closed (in effect since 15 March 2020) in the latest stringent government measures to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus epidemic, Boys Town Jerusalem has shut its doors.
Although only the most essential maintenance and executive personnel remain at their desks, the faculty, social services and public relations staff are working full-time from their homes.
BTJ instructors will now be teaching their students each day through the means of video lessons and assignments. In a video message today to his year 8 class with guidelines for a research project, Rabbi Doron Book admitted, “We’re not used to this method, but this is your golden opportunity to research and learn independently – and to learn the art of patience as well.”
As always, teachers remain available by phone for individual assistance and extra help to any and all students in need. Special efforts will be made to prepare high school students for the upcoming critical Bagrut matriculation exams.
Although the dormitories have been closed, careful arrangements have been made for boys in the direst straits, with nowhere to “go home” to, to be placed in safe environments.
Students in Crisis
Working from home, social workers and guidance counsellors are making daily phone calls to the many BTJ students whose family crisis situations are constant – and now far worse. “For them, and for us all, it’s now crucial to talk, communicate and share emotions,” says social worker Hadas Knopf.
Parents in Crisis
Registrar Rachel Cohen-Pur, who is continuing to work on campus, reports a deluge of phone calls today from parents whose financial situations have reached crisis proportions. Among the saddest calls was from a single mother who has been struggling desperately to pay her son’s already-reduced tuition. Today she was fired from her job as a tour guide, and she has no idea how she will support her children. She thanked Rachel for her understanding in suspending tuition payments indefinitely.
The IDF Connection
BTJ officials are working closely with the Israeli military to determine the status of our College of Applied Engineering (CAE) students scheduled to graduate in late April and be drafted into the IDF in May. The young men are currently at the height of preparation of their Graduate Projects for examination by the Ministry of Higher Education.
In addition, we are reaching out to our grads now serving in the IDF, many of whom are now restricted from leaving their bases.
Kol Yisrael Chaverim Zeh Lazeh
In these trying times, we pray for the good health of all of our friends and associates and for the Almighty’s mercy upon all.
Additional Updates to follow.