Eleventh grader Menashe Agachi is one of the select few Boys Town Jerusalem students chosen for the school’s new cutting-edge Cyber Security course. Yet for Menashe, this is not his first attempt at learning to decode a new world of communications. “I volunteer with special-needs kids,” he explains. “At first I couldn’t comprehend their world at all. But they’re the ones who gave me the key to understanding.”

Last year, within the framework of Boys Town Jerusalem’s community service program, Menashe chose to volunteer at the Shalva Center for children with disabilities. “I wanted to do something different,” he explains, “but the first month was very difficult for me. Little by little, as I learned how to communicate with them, I realized that kids who looked so pitiful on the outside were actually kids with beautiful souls on the inside. And I’m their soulmate.”

Menashe’s new friends at Shalva, aged 14-18, run the gamut from those with Down Syndrome to the hearing and speech impaired, plus more. At the start, Menashe committed to volunteering there twice weekly after school for three-hour sessions. “Within a short time, I took on more hours, worked there over my summer vacation, and increased my volunteer hours this year.”

To his delight, Menashe is also involved in a new program at Boys Town Jerusalem that enables him to work hand-in-hand with disabled youth – including many of his Shalva soulmates – to help others. In conjunction with the Nitzanim Special Education School, Boys Town Jerusalem high school students are teaming up with their new Nitzanim friends to pack food boxes for the poor, deliver holiday treats to policemen and firemen, and other community service projects. “These kids were born to do good for others,” Menashe declares. “They are thrilled with this great opportunity to give.”

As for his own giving, Menashe is especially pleased that through his work at Shalva he can offer the families of these “special” children a respite while he and other volunteers are with the kids.  “I can feel that this experience has influenced my character. I’ve changed since I came to Boys Town Jerusalem, and changed since I began volunteering. I’m learning to understand people and be sensitive to who they are inside. That’s my very valuable reward.”

Help BTJ students help the less fortunate by partnering with us in these important community service projects. For information, contact Rabbi Gray at 800-469-2697 /


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