When was Boys Town Jerusalem established?
The school first open in 1948.
What age are the students who attend Boys Town Jerusalem?
Boys Town Jerusalem is a high school (secondary school), the children start at age 12 and graduate at age 18.
Beyond 18, a proportion of students defer their IDF service for two years to study in the College of Applied Engineering (CAE). Students are also able to enroll in an undergraduate degree program in conjunction with the Jerusalem College of Technology. Boys Town Jerusalem is now one of very few Israeli institutions to offer the opportunity to study from 7th Grade through college.
How many students are there in the school?
Numbers vary from year to year but on average 950 students attend Boys Town Jerusalem at any one time.
Since its establishment, more than 7,500 boys have graduated from Boys Town Jerusalem.
Where is the school?
Boys Town Jerusalem’s 18 acre campus has been situated in Bayit Vegan since the 1960s. The neighborhood is in southwest Jerusalem to the east of Mount Herzl and borders the neighborhoods of Kiryat Hayovel and Givat Mordechai.
Is the school only for Jewish students?
The students at Boys Town Jerusalem are all Jewish. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of religious practice.
How religious is the school?
Learning about Jewish heritage, laws and customs is an important aspect of the curriculum and is used to inspire and prepare students for their duties as citizens of the Jewish State.
Students at Boys Town Jerusalem come from every possible religious background and all are accepted and respected as equals. Their distinctive religious customs and dietary preferences are respected and provided for within the parameters of halacha (Jewish law).
How many students receive a scholarship / financial support?
All students receive some level of scholarship assistance. Boys Town Jerusalem is one of the only educational institutions in Israel that accepts students solely on the basis of their potential, without regard to their economic situation or ability to pay.
The majority of students come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and require considerable financial assistance. Without the opportunities they get at Boys Town, most students would have little chance to break out of the multi-generational circle of poverty.
Is there a Girls Town Jerusalem?
When Boys Town Jerusalem was founded, it was decided that the boys and girls institutions should be separate due to the different perceived needs of each group. There is a sister organization to Boys Town Jerusalem which was founded at the same time, but it is not associated with BTJ.
What is Boys Town Jerusalem’s annual operating budget?
The school’s annual operating budget is approximately $18 million. As it is a state school it receives funding from the government which amounts to approximately two-thirds of the annual operating budget. The deficit needs to be made up by worldwide fundraising efforts.
Do all students live on campus?
Not every student lives on campus but every student has a room on campus where he can study and relax. Whether or not they live on campus depends on their age and personal circumstances.
Students are encouraged to live on campus and this is seen as key to BTJ’s success. It means that students separate themselves from challenging home environments which are often detrimental to their educational development and allows students to receive the support they need.
How long is the school day?
The school day begins at 7:20 a.m. with morning services and can continue to as late as 8 p.m. for older students.
The school week runs from Sunday to Thursday and the Friday schedule ends early in order to allow preparation for Shabbat. There are no classes on Saturday.
When do the boys get a chance to relax?
Each student’s daily schedule typically includes several breaks during which he may take advantage of the school’s many recreational facilities. After hours, students have access to study halls, libraries and computer centers on campus, as well as a fully equipped gym, lounges and several illuminated outdoor areas suitable for team sports. In their free time, the boys may engage in a wide selection of extra-curricular activities and clubs, including volunteering in the community.
Are there any students from overseas?
Boys Town Jerusalem has always been a haven for Jewish boys coming from the four corners of the world, many without their families. Over the years boys have come from post-Holocaust Europe, North Africa, Ethiopia and the Soviet Union. Currently, there are students studying and living at Boys Town from France and the Former Soviet Union, particularly Ukraine.
What is the admission process?
The school is heavily oversubscribed given its very excellent reputation and above average academic results. Unfortunately, the number of places it can offer is “capped” by the Jerusalem Municipality Department of Education.
Boys Town Jerusalem offers places on the basis of potential and desire to succeed, regardless of ability to pay. Many potential pupils arrive at the school directly from the Jerusalem Municipality Department of Education due to their challenging familial circumstances.
Are there any other schools like BTJ in Jerusalem or Israel?
No other school in the Greater Jerusalem metropolitan area offers the high level education and pastoral care as well as the financial support that Boys Town Jerusalem gives.
None offers 3 freshly-prepared meals a day, full-time professional social care team, the option of living on campus and the multitude of extracurricular, enrichment activities.
What type of secular education do the students receive?
All students receive a high-level academic high school education that follows the national curriculum and meets the strict standards set by Israel’s Ministry of Education. In order to graduate, students must pass the Bagrut (the national matriculation exams), which qualifies them to enter any Israeli college-level educational institution. BTJ students typically score far above the national average on these tests.
In addition to this and the full spectrum of Jewish studies, each student receives an introduction to the living skills they will need to adapt to the rapid changes in our modern technological world through the Comprehensive Interdisciplinary Technology program. All students must also learn English.
Finally, depending upon their individual talents and preferences, Boys Town students may enroll in specialized programs of advanced instruction emphasizing academic studies, computer technology, and electronics.
Do BTJ graduates serve in the Israeli army?
Yes. Boys Town Jerusalem emphasizes the responsibilities the boys have as Israeli citizens to do everything they can to strengthen and defend the Jewish state, including service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The IDF recognizes that Boys Town graduates make highly motivated soldiers, with strong personal values and excellent technical skills. At the specific request of the IDF, BTJ established the College of Applied Engineering, a special post high-school engineering program in which our most talented graduates defer their military enlistment for two years to learn advanced technical skills most needed by the IDF.
Over the years, 67 Boys Town graduates and three faculty members have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Where do graduates go after their army service?
The broad, quality education at Boys Town Jerusalem gives our graduates a solid foundation for pursuing the career of their choice. Because of the emphasis on technology, many of our graduates go on to careers in Israel’s high-tech industries.
Many of our graduates have gone into education, law, professional services, academia or public service. A significant percentage of our graduates choose to remain in the army as career officers, many holding key technical positions throughout the IDF.
A number of Boys Town graduates have returned to our campus as counselors and members of our teaching faculty. Our current CEO, Amir Kisar, is a BTJ graduate.