Harvests of Hope

As their fathers, brothers, relatives and friends are fighting on the Gaza battlefield, Boys Town
Jerusalem High School students have enlisted in an urgent rescue mission within Israel. Each week, several classes travel to farms across the country to roll up their sleeves and help save the wartime harvest. In the process, BTJ students are reaping major benefits for life.

Helping farmers helps boys cope with anxiety

“Many students continue to feel fear and anxiety in these precarious times,” BTJ High School
Principal Alon Madmoni shares. “Enabling our boys to help farmers in distress, desperate for workers, is an empowering experience.”

The farms desperaely need help

This week, two BTJ tenth grade classes travelled to a large farm in southern Israel. “It was so sad,” 15-year-old Eliezer Sommer reports. “The farmer was in tears as he showed us his ruined fields, full of rotted eggplants lost when the farmhands all left at the war’s outbreak. Handicapped from a work accident, the man was helpless to save his farm.” Eliezer and his classmates put in an intensive day of prying out countless irrigation pipes from the earth, deeply entangled in plant roots. “The farmer told us we’re helping him to save his farm, his family business,” the youngster reported with pride.

It is important to help whomever we can

Principal Madmoni described the weekly “rescue missions” by BTJ High School students as an important contribution to the hard-hit agricultural sector. “Over the weeks, our boys have planted tomatoes in a hothouse stripped of its crops at the war’s start; planted and picked flowers and crops in a farm in the south, helped harvest 30 tons of sweet potatoes, and more. The farmers cannot thank us enough.”

Farming is beneficial on both sides

The principal stresses that this present wartime initiative to aid desperate farmers will not end with the ceasefire. “We will continue lending a hand to farmers after the war as well. Working the land is a crucial, challenging, rewarding experience that will give our students strength.