Lessons From a Fallen Grad
In his lifetime, Boys Town Jerusalem graduate Ofer Tiri had a zeal for helping others, from his family to his classmates to needy people from all walks of life. Only his death in a 2005 terrorist suicide bombing could halt the young man’s endless acts of kindness. Today, a new generation of Boys Town students has discovered Ofer Tiri and resolved to share his memory and his passion for life.
This year, 11th-graders Lidor Yusipov, Maor Maliach and David Ben-Ari have volunteered several hours weekly to perpetuate Ofer’s memory. Via Israel’s Department for Commemorating Victims of Terror, the BTJ students are producing a memorial album for the Tiri family and the school. In the process, they’re gaining insights for life.
The youngest of 10 children of Yemenite immigrants, Ofer Tiri lived and studied at Boys Town Jerusalem for six years, graduating with honor in 1999. The electronics major then enrolled in BTJ’s College of Applied Engineering before enlisting in the Israel Air Force, where he was named an Exemplary Soldier. Following his discharge at age 23, Ofer began working as a security guard at the Carmi Crossing in Gaza, the scene of his murder six months later.
“When we first met Ofer’s family, I was touched as his mother spoke of his joy for living and his dedication to helping others,” Lidor recalled. Later, the students met with Ofer’s best friend, Ronen Attia, who is part of a group of BTJ graduates meeting regularly to honor Ofer’s memory by studying Jewish texts and assisting the needy.
At the upcoming ceremony for Boys Town’s 70 fallen grads on Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism, Lidor, Maor and David will share Ofer Tiri’s story with the entire student body. “We’re walking the same paths he once took in this school,” Lidor said. “Now we’ll pay tribute to his memory. Ofer’s character and love of life are an inspiration to take with us always.”