Boys Town Jerusalem – The Past
Boys Town Jerusalem was founded by Alexander S. Linchner, a Brooklyn-born Rabbi who, after the Holocaust, devoted his life to building a school for Jewish boys who poured into Israel from countries around the world. These boys had either been orphaned due to the horrors of the Shoah or were the children of poor and destitute parents. His goal was to provide them with a quality education that would prepare them to build the State of Israel with technological skill and traditional Jewish idealism.
Rabbi Linchner also realised that these boys did not just need to be educated, they also needed to be housed. Boys Town’s slogan, “We turn young boys from limited backgrounds into young men with limitless futures,” could not be more apt, as those boys who arrived at Boys Town over 60 years ago may have arrived at the school with nothing, but like today, they graduated and subsequently were able to contribute substantially to the growth of the State of Israel.
Rabbi Linchner wanted Boys Town Jerusalem to be a memorial to the 1.5 million Jewish children who perished during the holocaust.
Boys Town Jerusalem – today
Today, the beautiful, 18-acre Boys Town campus in the Bayit Vegan neighbourhood of Jerusalem is one of Israel’s leading educational and residential developments. Approximately 900 Jewish boys and young men, ranging in age from 12 to 20, study and live on the incredible 18 acre campus. These students come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds; they may come from countries where they have been the victims of anti-Semitic attacks and/or it is difficult for them to practice their Judaism. Indeed there are many students on the campus who come from countries such as France, Iran, Iraq, FSU, and Brazil. There are, of course, also many students who have arrived at Boys Town from all over Israel.
At Boys Town Jerusalem, there are boys from France and FSU who make aliyah before, or without their families. These young immigrants live and study at Boys Town Jerusalem, within the framework of the Jewish Agency’s Naaleh programme. Naaleh gives these boys a strong education in Jewish studies and an in-depth familiarity with Israel whilst ensuring that they also learn all the usual academic subjects.
In addition to receiving a fine technological and academic education, all the Boys Town students are deeply imbued with traditional Jewish values and ideals, and pride in their Jewish heritage. These boys learn about their culture and their history, and to be proud of their Judaism. As a result, Boys Town graduates are proud to serve in the Israel Defense Forces and then go on to build fine Jewish homes and families, while making important contributions to their communities and the State of Israel. Among Boys Town’s more than 6,200 graduates are many engineers, technicians, educators, fine craftsmen and professionals. Also, many of the teachers at Boys Town are former graduates from the school.