THE REAL REWARD FOR PRIZEWINNING BTJ TEACHER
Boys Town Jerusalem instructor Rabbi Doron Book has been named one of the “Best 100 Teachers” by Israel’s Ministry of Education. He has taught over 1,000 students in his 45 years at BTJ, and each one will vouch that he is one of the happiest people they’ve ever known.
“Whoever doesn’t wake up happy shouldn’t teach in school,” Rabbi Book declares simply. “Teaching is a mission that demands you to care and to love, and that’s what happiness is about.”
Famed for his innovative teaching methods, Rabbi Book delights in making the Bible come alive. Recently, he and his 7th graders worked to cook up a hearty lentil soup, sampling patriarch Jacob’s fare for his brother Esau.
The prizewinning teacher admits that he reached the profession by chance. “My immigrant father struggled as a tailor in Tel Aviv. To make ends meet, my two sisters went to work after 8th grade, and I was next in line,” the rabbi recalled. “Fortunately, my teacher convinced my father that I could best contribute to the family by learning a trade in mechanics at Boys Town Jerusalem. This saved my life.”
Just months after his 1973 graduation, Doron Book fought and was injured in the Paratroop Corps during the Yom Kippur War. Immediately upon discharge, he became a Mechanics instructor at Boys Town Jerusalem, decades before he acquired his BA and MA. “By then, Boys Town had transformed from a vocational school to an academic institution. I now became a Jewish Studies instructor, my true passion.”
Beyond the intense energy Rabbi Book brings to teaching his students, he happily dotes on his 25 grandchildren. At Bar/Bat Mitzvah age, he takes each one parachuting.
“My real prize is discovering that I made a difference in my students’ lives,” says Rabbi Doron Book. “Many of them have become teachers themselves. What better reward could I ask?”