Sixty-two “masked” students recently graduated from Boys Town Jerusalem’s prestigious College of Applied Engineering (CAE) in a ceremony unlike any other in CAE’s 49 years.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic halting classes for months, the students managed to complete the intensive two-year curriculum of electronics, software engineering, and electrical engineering. Next week the young men begin their five years of duty in topnotch IDF technological units.

The graduation ceremony, bereft of parents, guests or a keynote speaker, was held in strict accordance with government Corona regulations.

“Wherever your military duty or lives now take you, we remain your home and your family for as long as needed,” Dean of Students Rabbi Meir Linchner assured the new grads.

For two of the 2020 Exemplary Students, Elazar Leynov and Telahun Gete, the award marked new milestones in their diverse life journeys.

At age nine, Elazar immigrated to Israel with his mother from the Russian city of Tambov. Barely able to communicate when he entered Boys Town in Grade 7, he enthusiastically met (and conquered) the new worlds of computer science, physics, English, and Hebrew. Best, he joined the then-fledgling Robotics program where he found friendship, competitions to excel in, and the chance to voluntarily cultivate the “next generation” of BTJ robotics champs. The software engineering major will now serve in an elite IDF technological communications unit.

Telahun Gete, the scion of generations of Ethiopian farmers, has struggled with his family to overcome poverty since immigrating to Israel ten years ago. Yet Telahun’s indominable will to succeed propelled him to the top in his challenging Electronics major. Beyond a full scholarship, the cost of Telahun’s desperately-needed orthodontics was covered in full by BTJ. In turn, he has voluntarily, zealously tutored his fellow students. Headed now to join a top Air Force unit, Telahun declares, “Boys Town has given me everything I need for life!

Thank you to the Reuben Foundation for sponsoring their scholarships and giving these boys the opportunity they needed to succeed.


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