When Giora was still a youngster, his parents went through a difficult divorce. For years, Giora was shuttled between living with his parents, grandparents and other relatives. After his father remarried and started a new family, there was no room in his father’s home or heart for Giora to join them. His mother, who has been involved in several relationships, is presently living with a non-Jew. Not only are Giora’s parents unwilling to give their son a home, but they are in no position to pay a penny for his tuition or dormitory expenses.

For the past years, Boys Town Jerusalem has been Giora’s only home. Now in eleventh grade, he lives in the BTJ dorms 365 days a year. Over the summers, he joins the school’s work crew where he’s on the job from 7 AM to 4 PM and beyond, and over the school year he’s employed to do odd jobs on campus. Dorm mother and registrar Rachel Cohen-Pur keeps a careful eye on providing him with clothing and shoes, and his teachers and rabbis make every effort to give him extra attention and warmth.

“It’s no surprise that Giora’s social skills are lacking,” says Rachel. “He’s certainly not shy, but he exudes a hunger for attention, a constant need to connect to others.” For certain, Giora holds a special place in “Mother Rachel’s” heart. “At the end of one day as I was leaving the office, he looked at me wistfully and said, ‘You have where to go home to. I don’t,’” she recalled. “’That’s why you’re here,’ I told him. ‘This is your home, and we love you.’”

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