Sometimes the weakest students at Boys Town Jerusalem are the luckiest. These days, the biggest winners are the students having the toughest time in their high school English classes. Thanks to the kindness of a caring volunteer tutor, those boys are now making extraordinary strides.
Sam Zimmerman, a native of Teaneck, New Jersey who has lived in Israel since 1996, is an experienced social worker. When his schedule allowed for a free day each week, Zimmerman sought a school where he could voluntarily lend a hand towards students in need. Fortunately, helping Boys Town Jerusalem was already a family tradition set by his father Morris Zimmerman, a longtime BTJ donor and enthusiast, and even the 40-mile commute from his home to Jerusalem and back does not deter Sam from a commitment to “his” students.
“Each period I take several kids out of their English class and work with them on grammar, speaking, vocabulary, composition – whatever the teachers request,” Zimmerman explains. “Progress is slow, but incredibly satisfying for both the boys and for me.” And what’s his secret to success? “The job entails much more than ‘just’ teaching English. These students need love, support, attention – in short, somebody to listen to them. I’m sure that my social work skills enable me to contribute even more to these boys.”
“Sam Zimmerman is giving new hope to the weakest boys, those who got lost in class,” declares Yaakov Fuchs, head of the BTJ English Department. “The school has a minimum budget for tutors, so someone as devoted and skilled as Sam is a major gift for us. Because of him, weak students are able to pass their bagrut matriculation exams. That’s a crucial accomplishment for life.”