In his professional career as a foreign correspondent for the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Norman Frankel of Skokie, Illinois, travelled the globe to interview top experts and statesmen. Now retired, Dr. Frankel recently came to Israel as a volunteer to tutor high school students at Boys Town Jerusalem in their English studies and in the universal art of communicating.

Putting in seven-hour days for over a week on the Boys Town Jerusalem campus, Dr. Frenkel vigorously approached his assignment to help 7th through 12th graders with their conversational English. “At this stage of my life, I try to put my time and money in helping young people,” he said. “These students are lively, enthusiastic, and fun to teach.”

The dynamic tutoring endeavor marked a new milestone in Dr. Frankel’s friendship with Boys Town Jerusalem. His first visit to the campus in 2005 inspired him to increase his support for the school and ultimately to join the board of directors of American Friends of BTJ. Now, a planned visit to Israel offered him the chance to personally give his time, effort, and skills to the students. “Once I got the go-ahead to volunteer, I phoned Dr. Yaakov Fuchs, head of BTJ’s English Department, for pointers. Among other ideas, Dr. Fuchs suggested that I bring illustrated posters to help stimulate conversation.”

Armed with a stack of carefully-selected posters featuring scenes of Darth Vader, Clint Eastwood, Snoopy and a host of others, the rookie English tutor took his students by storm. “They were fascinated by the pictures, and quickly opened up to talk about what they saw. Some didn’t want to leave after class, and I had to pull them out!” In addition to bolstering students’ fluency in speaking, Dr. Frankel also helped with grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension.

“The fact that I do not speak Hebrew was actually an advantage,” he admitted. “The boys tried all the harder to communicate.” The seasoned journalist also shared tips with students for effective communications, including how to listen well, establish eye contact, speak clearly and observe the impact of your words.

For their part, Dr. Frankel’s students were exceedingly grateful. When they discovered it was his 70th birthday, the boys surprised him with a birthday cake and celebration. At a recent Board of Directors meeting in New York, Dr. Frankel was surprised with another gift. Boys Town Jerusalem Executive Vice President Rabbi Ronald Gray presented him with a “First Responder” vest, noting, “Whenever there is a need at Boys Town, Dr. Frankel is always the first to respond!”

“I highly urge retired mathematicians, engineers, and those from the applied sciences to volunteer at Boys Town Jerusalem,” Norman Frankel said. “The rewards are great, all around!”

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