Breaking The Ice

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The rare raging storm and heavy snowfall that recently struck Jerusalem paralyzed the city with its frigid force. Yet for students and staff at Boys Town Jerusalem, it provided a (white) backdrop for an outpouring of heartwarming acts of kindness. School was cancelled Thursday as the teachers could not make it to the campus, but our boys who study and live at Boys Town all year round stayed put.

Boys Town chef Avi Chamal had just finished serving breakfast Thursday morning when the snowstorm began and school was dismissed. He and his staff then set about to preparing a stock of meals for the stranded students. Hours later, the kitchen crew finally ventured out into the now‐impassable streets of the city. “Our cars got stuck, and it took hours to make our way home,” he recalled. Yet Avi and several of his cooks continued to return to the school over the next few days to prepare and serve food for “their boys.” Avi noted, “We each walked for nearly an hour from wherever we had to stop and park our cars. The icy, snowy hills leading to the school could only be maneuvered by foot.” Yet once there, the crew made very special treats for their captive diners. “We wanted to spoil them a bit,” said the chef.

As for the Russian‐born students, the storm’s hardships had a silver lining, explained Rabbi David Ben Zimrah, who heads the Russian‐language “OhrDessa” program. “The massive snow reminded them of home, and eased their homesickness,” he smiled. Over the six days that the school was closed, Rabbi Ben Zimrah walked more than an hour from his home to Boys Town—and back— to be with his students and fill their time with special activities.

The Russian students were quite appreciative of the efforts made on their behalf. In turn, they volunteered to tackle the formidable task of shoveling and clearing vital paths over the campus grounds to the classrooms and dining hall. With snow accumulations of over two feet tall and tens of fallen trees along the way, this was one daunting task.“Everyone at Boys Town is grateful to our Russian students for their hard‐working efforts and their sincere goodwill,” said Natan Tal, managing director of the school. “It’s times like these that bring the Boys Town Jerusalem family all the closer.”

Yet, sadly, storm damage to the Boys Town campus was extensive. A preliminary estimate puts the damage at a minimum of $50,000.

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