Elazar Leynov, a new Russian immigrant, barely spoke Hebrew when he began Grade Seven at Boys Town Jerusalem. When Orel Offner entered BTJ the following year, his lack of math, English and other core subjects forced him to first repeat a semester of Grade Eight. Today, one decade later, both well-accomplished young men proudly accompanied BTJ’s Robotics Team – their “baby” – to the Regional Championship in India to reach the semifinals.
The Robotics club changed their lives
“From the start, Principal Rabbi Elimelech Yaakov urged us to join BTJ’s then-new Robotics Club,” recalls Elazar. “There, together with Yehudah Neimark, we happily morphed into a trio of robotics enthusiasts and great friends.”
Over the coming years, the three went on to advance their robotics skills, forge a champion team, prepare the “next generation” of BTJ robotics members, and serve in top IDF units. Elazar and Orel became coaches for the now-famous BTJ Robotics Team.
Orel and Elazar had their fair share of difficulties
“When they first enrolled, both boys’ families were in dire financial straits,” recalls Rabbi Elimelech. “Thanks to generous donors, we awarded them full scholarships, tutoring, and much more. When Orel and his single mother were repeatedly evicted from rental flats, we gave him year-round dorm premises. Both boys grew to give of themselves to the next BTJ generations and the Israeli nation at large.”
They are now successful young men
After graduating high school, Orel was tapped for an advanced IDF cyber unit. Following his three-year term of duty, he was promptly hired by an acclaimed Israeli hi-tech corporation. Elazar, now a Staff Sergeant in a cutting-edge IDF Radar Unit, will advance to become an officer. Despite fatigue, the two soldiers have seized every free moment to return home to BTJ to guide the Robotics team.
“We cultivated a new, amazing generation that’s continuing to cultivate younger students and help other teams,” Elazar proudly notes. Orel adds, “We are all grateful for the generosity of BTJ supporters. The help, guidance, education, care and love I got here have changed my life.”