At the end of Grade Eight in 2007, “Eliezer” was hurt, but not really surprised, to be informed that he was under serious consideration to be transferred out of Boys Town Jerusalem for high school. Over the past two years he’d spent at the school’s Junior High, he’d only excelled in troublemaking. Now to his chagrin, his troubles got worse: no other high school agreed to accept him.

I had no alternative but to phone BTJ Principal Rabbi Yaakov Elimelech and beg him for another chance,” Eliezer recalled. “The rabbi listened, paused, and then invited me to his home to join his family for dinner. That 1½-hour visit changed the course of my life.”

Speaking at the recent reunion of his BTJ High School Class of 2011, Eliezer recalled, “Rabbi Elimelech told me, ‘The day I have to decide whether to kick out a student from Boys Town is like Yom Kippur for me. I fast and pray for the wisdom to make the right decision.’ That hit home. I suddenly realized how much he genuinely cared about me and others, and that turned my life around.”

As he agreed to reinstate the youngster to Boys Town Jerusalem, Rabbi Elimelech gave him three principles upon which to base his life. One, Eliezer shared, was to always acknowledge the kindness that you are shown. “To this minute, that directive has guided my life. Thanks to the confidence and love I was given at Boys Town Jerusalem, I became a serious student, graduated university, and began studying medicine.”

Beaming at his beloved student, Rabbi Elimelech noted, “Eliezer had a tough time as a new immigrant to Israel. But he found tremendous inner strength, and we are all proud of his accomplishments. He will be an extraordinary physician who will made a profound contribution to Israel and to mankind.”

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