Jerusalem—Osher (Hebrew for “happiness”) was just 15 when he suffered end-stage kidney failure, triggering a downward spiral of deterioration that even two years of intensive dialysis could not halt. Yet the closer he came to death, the harder Osher fought for life. His indomitable will, his strong faith in the Almighty, and the tireless assistance he received from Boys Town Jerusalem and others ultimately gave Osher the strength to persevere. Today, only a few short months after undergoing a complex kidney transplant, Osher has miraculously mustered the strength to return to class at Boys Town.
“Osher’s courage has spanned more levels than ‘merely’ his health,” noted Boys Town Dean of Students Rabbi Meir Linchner. “His parents themselves are in precarious health, thus at age 15 Osher had to take control of saving his own life. Our social worker, Lizzie Atzlan, became involved from the start, staying at his side during his first painful, frightening dialysis treatment. Throughout the entire ordeal, we’ve focused on giving Osher strong moral support and encouragement to sustain his spirit.”
From the moment he entered Boys Town’s special-needs class in junior high, Osher made steady progress in his schoolwork. When kidney failure struck, his teacher, Rabbi Yisrael Broyer, promised to help him keep up with his studies. Following the painful, weakening four-hour dialysis treatments three days each week, Osher found the strength to go from the hospital to Boys Town to attend his remaining classes.
As Osher’s condition worsened, his sole hope was to find a suitable donor for a kidney transplant. Twice a donor was found, yet both surgeries had to be cancelled at the last minute. Finally, a young yeshiva student sacrificed a kidney to save Osher’s life in a successful transplant. Despite his weakened physical and emotional state, Osher continued to attend Boys Town until just two days before the surgery.
His long, hazardous recuperation period included nearly a month in Schneider Children’s Hospital, followed by three weeks at home. Yet Osher willed himself to return to school as soon as possible. “This is part of my recovery,” he notes. Together with Principal Yossi Cohen, Osher (now in his senior year) has planned a program of study to enable him to graduate, bolstered by tutors from the school.
Boys Town Jerusalem is one of Israel’s premier institutions for educating the country’s next generation of leaders in the fields of technology, commerce, education, the military, and public service. Since its founding in 1948, BTJ has pursued its mission of turning young boys from limited backgrounds into young men with limitless futures. From junior high through the college level, the three-part curriculum at Boys Town—academic, technological, and Torah—is designed to turn otherwise disadvantaged Israeli youth into productive citizens of tomorrow. Boys Town’s 18-acre campus is a home away from home for its more than 900 students. More than 7,000 graduates hold key positions throughout Israeli society.