Now, more than two long months since the school was closed by the pandemic, one magic hour has become a balm for Boys Town Jerusalem students’ souls.

In a new program, students now leave their homes and “Zoom” screens behind once a week to return the school’s campus for an outdoor session led by a teacher. The “social activity” is strictly bound by Ministry of Health corona restrictions: no more than 16 students per group, each at a 6-foot distance, with sports activities and academic lessons prohibited.

The goal: a pure opportunity for these young boys to get together again and discuss their feelings.

“Students AND teachers have been confined to home for so long that they greatly need to meet up once again,” says seventh-grade teacher Rabbi Doron Book. “Parents call to tell me that their homes have become tinderboxes with arguments flaring constantly.

Unemployment is rampant amongst our families, and in the many single-parent homes the situation is desperate. Students are so happy just to get out of the house and be on campus with their friends.”

First and foremost, Rabbi Book crafts the one-hour meetings to give the boys a chance to talk. “At the first session two weeks ago, I told them about my own darkest days when I was wounded during the Yom Kippur War. In any difficult situation, I stressed that you have find the good. And then it was their turn to talk.”

One by one, the boys opened their hearts, sharing their frustration and pain. “One student spoke about his little sister who died last year, and how he and his family dealt with the tragedy. Each boy spoke, and each boy listened.” True to his word, Rabbi Book constantly seeks to find the good in today’s corona-struck world. “I tell my students that now it’s more essential than ever to be good friends and help each other. We all have the inner strength to persevere.”

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