Helping one another adjust their makeshift camping gear, Noah, Nadav and their Boys Town Jerusalem Summer Day Camp friends were all smiles as they put their newly-honed skills into action in a wilderness survival workshop.

For Noah and Nadav, 13 1⁄2-year-old twins long accustomed to facing survival challenges of a different sort at home, every minute of camp has been sheer joy.

“The two are pulled between their divorced parents, dividing their time between a psychotic father and a poverty-stricken mother,” explains BTJ instructor Rabbi Yossi Ben-Zruel. “These kids have a very tough life. But when they’re at Boys Town, they are really at home. All year long, the staff gives them the love and attention they thrive on. For them and all nearly 400 campers, our Day Camp is really a dream come true.

The coronavirus crisis has posed a daunting, unprecedented challenge to this year’s day camp activities, notes BTJ Junior High Principal Rabbi Yehudah Rosencrantz. “Fieldtrips are no longer permitted, so we’ve brought activities like the wilderness survival workshop, laser tag, bicycling, scavenger hunts, sports events and other outdoor fun straight to the campus.” The rabbi points out that breakfast and lunch are served with only two kids per table, in strict adherence to Ministry of Health regulations.

As always, BTJ’s Summer Camp also includes tutoring to give students a head start when school resumes. Other summer programming at the school includes enrichment courses in English and math for upper- grade students.

“This summer, the Day Camp has filled a particularly vital role in the lives of our students whose homes are extraordinarily tense and difficult. Just look – even their masks can’t hide the boys’ enthusiasm and smiles,” exclaimed the principal.

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