Special gifts for special forces

August 31, 2018 by Melanie Rosenberg
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Just after their graduation from Boys Town Jerusalem’s College of Applied Engineering – and just before they began their five-year service in the Israeli Defence Forces – 50 young men were given a special gift of love.

Elana Dror-Rein

At a festive ceremony on campus, Elana Dror-Rein, an engineer and a mother, personally gave each grad (and new recruit) a $130 gift certificate to purchase supplies for his upcoming military service.

For donor Elana Dror-Rein, the gifts were inspired by family tradition. “Boys Town Jerusalem was one of my father Jess Dror’s favorite charities,” she explained. “At his death in 1978, my mother suggested BTJ for contributions in his memory. When my mother passed away just over two years ago, I already knew that Boys Town was the place to commemorate her as well.”

After donating a number of much-needed scholarships and clothing stipends, Elana looked for a more “personal” type of gift to give in her mother’s name. “My father had been an officer in the Israeli Army, and my son will be enlisting next year,” she said. “We’ll be buying him things for the service, and I said, ‘Why not buy for the Boys Town Jerusalem students going in the army as well? It’s a chance to do some good for people who will be doing good for our nation.’”

Elana went even one step beyond giving the grads a gift: she also took a professional interest in their final electronic engineering projects. California-born Elana Dror-Rein, who immigrated to Israel in 1989, is an acclaimed engineer who works in a defense-related industry. Several students demonstrated their graduate projects for her at the ceremony, followed by a lively exchange of ideas and suggestions. As BTJ Dean of Students Rabbi Meir Linchner quipped to the students, “Unlike most of us who appreciate you, Mrs.  Dror-Rein actually understands what you’re doing!”

Grad Yaniv Moradov represented his grateful classmates in thanking their donor. “We are at the start of a new chapter in our lives when we enlist in the IDF, and we’re ready to do our work with good will and diligence.  As we thank you for your wonderful gifts, I’m reminded of the adage that everything we are given in our youth increases our ambition to give of ourselves throughout life – to the land of Israel and to the world. This is the power of your gifts and your faith in us today.”

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