Rami’s* classmates in Grade 7 at Boys Town Jerusalem could not help but notice his hardship. The quiet, serious young boy tried his best to keep up with his studies and be a good friend. But they saw – and worried – that Rami wore the same tattered shirt day after day.
Rami wouldn’t wear a new shirt
In time, a group of Rami’s friends converged on the office of Rachel Cohen-Pur, BTJ’s registrar (and every student’s surrogate mom) to inform her of their classmate’s distress. Rachel, of course, had taken notice long beforehand and made repeated efforts to offer Rami clothes that the school provides needy students. “He wouldn’t even agree to try them on,” she sighed.
Rami’s family cannot pay school tuition
Rachel notes that although Rami’s parents work sporadically at menial jobs, the family is destitute. Generous Boys Town Jerusalem donors have covered the costs of his full scholarship, meals, books, extracurricular activities and more. “When Rami’s mother comes to the school to ask for food before the holidays, we’re happy to provide,” Rachel added.
Rami’s classmates refused to give up
Yet Rami’s classmates refused to give up their resolve to help their friend. Success soon came at the initiative and generosity of Jesse,* a boy they often taunted for his rowdy behavior in class. With his parents’ permission, Jesse invited Rami to go shopping with him after school for what he called a “one-plus-one” sale on shirts. “I only need one shirt,” he told Rami. “Could you please take the second one?” When Rami proudly came to class the next day wearing his brand-new shirt, everyone celebrated. And Jesse’s new- found respect made a powerful difference.
“When you help others, G-d will help you,” BTJ Principal Rabbi Yehudah told the class soon afterwards in a lesson. “We must all be ready to find and aid those in need. I can assure you that everyone gains,” he smiled.
*not their real names