For Gabe,* this entire year has been one painful nightmare. The 13-year-old’s family has disintegrated, he is failing in school, and he’s never been so hungry.

“Like so many others, Gabe’s family suffered very traumatic issues during the long Covid crisis,” explains Boys Town Jerusalem social worker Mrs. Hadas Knopf. “In his case, tensions rose when the family business began to fail. At a certain point, Gabe’s mother took the two younger children, left the house, and severed all ties with Gabe and his father.

“Gabe’s life then became all the more tormented,” Hadas notes. “His father works nights and sleeps during the day. When our campus reopened in April, Gabe rarely woke himself up early enough to arrive at school on time, and he was simply starving. His father was too poor and too distraught to care for his son.”

The terrible stress soon took its toll on Gabe’s schoolwork and interaction with his friends. “When he did show up for class, his conduct was appalling,” says Hadas. “His grades plummeted, as his distress was clearly eating him up.”

Working closely with his teachers and rabbis, Hadas scheduled intensive sessions to counsel Gabe, some of which his father joined as well. Simultaneously, the school is providing private tutoring to help Gabe catch up on his studies.

“Gabe now looks forward to attending BTJ’s school’s summer day camp, thanks to the generosity of an overseas donor,” Hadas reports. “When school resumes in September, we will move Gabe to a Special Education class with fewer students and more personal attention. Here we can help this very deserving young man to heal emotionally, gain the confidence he needs to overcome the trauma, and to thrive.”

*not his real name

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