THESE BOYS ARE IN DESPERATE NEED
Although 16-year-old Shaul* did not contract COVID-19, he has become a victim of the pandemic’s consequences.
Over the past years, Shaul’s mother’s chronic illness only aggravated his parents’ already-rocky marriage, and Shaul admits feeling pleased the day his troublesome father left the house. Last year, as Shaul became lonelier during his mother’s lengthy hospital stays, he moved into the Boys Town Jerusalem dormitory. Moving in was a relief and a pleasure to him and his mom.
This spring, the corona crisis that abruptly closed the dormitory thrust Shaul into the nightmare of returning home. His father lost his job almost immediately and had to move back into the house. As his mother’s illness steadily worsened, she tried valiantly to avoid the dangers of a hospital stay and remain at home. The family’s poverty reached painful new heights, and tensions soared. Worse, Shaul’s father became increasingly abusive to both his wife and son.
“Throughout the crisis, Shaul and I kept in regular touch by phone,” BTJ social worker Hadas Knopf reports.
“The school sent money and food to the family, and we supplied Shaul with a laptop to enable him to study remotely with his class. In time, I helped him find a part-time job which kept him out of the house several hours a day and brought in just enough to buy the second-hand bicycle he desperately needs. Only instead, he lovingly spent the money on a used air-conditioner to install in his mother’s room in their stifling apartment.”
Despite the fact that summer vacation is at its height, Hadas continues to come to the campus to meet with Shaul and other students in acutely difficult situations.
“With no school, no dorm, and the pervading threat of corona, these boys and so many others are in desperate need. Boys Town is their only hope, and we’re doing all we can to help.”
*not his real name