As Covid 19 played havoc with his 11th grade high school studies on campus, Boys Town Jerusalem student Yair Zabbit found that “remote” lessons left him with plenty of time to spare. His precedent-setting solution: to enroll in the Israel Open University for freshman courses in Computer Science. Now in his second semester, Yair is excelling in both his high school and university studies – plus advancing BTJ’s Robotics team, his true passion.

The only high schools student to take college courses

As the sole BTJ High School student to tackle college courses, Yair readily admits that this is not easy.

“The Open University lectures are given via Zoom and recorded, so I only begin them in the late afternoon after I finish my remote BTJ classes and homework. I put in quite a few hours of studying every day, including for matriculation exams. Principal Rabbi Doron Taib has really helped and encouraged me to go for the challenge.”

Yair found his place in robotics

Back in seventh grade, Yair was attracted to Boys Town Jerusalem by the school’s advanced technological and computer studies. Yet the day that he joined the extracurricular BTJ Robotics Team, he entered a new life-changing world. “Each year since, I’ve been part of teams involved in designing, programming, building and operating the robots for competitions. Now I’m the one who presents our work (and our robot) to parents, guests, and supporters who visit the school,” Yair says proudly, adding that he particularly enjoys mentoring younger robotics students in the school’s Follender Robotics Laboratories.

He has big plans for the future

The profound hurdles thrust by COVID 19 have spurred Yair and his BTJ Robotics teammates to successfully invent new ways to work via remote spheres instead of meeting together. On the scholastic front, the shift to distance-learning has given Yair the opportunity to start his university studies. In time, his path may lead straight down the runway. “I plan to be a pilot in the IDF,” he declares unequivocally. “I’m well prepared.”


  1. Judith & George Cohen says:

    These human stories from BTJ are why we donate monthly. We feel so rewarded when we read of the caring and successes…struggles won. THANK YOU!!!

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