The need: Every year, thousands of released Israeli combat soldiers face the difficult transition back into civilian life. Many spend months overseas as a means to discharge and mitigate the psychological impact of intense combat experiences faced during their military service. Despite the well-known image of the resilient Israeli soldier, long-term effects of veterans’ exposure to stress from combat are well documented. Veterans can suffer from a myriad of psychological difficulties ranging from difficulties in relationships, aggressiveness, sleep disturbances, substance abuse, and even PTSD.
The intervention: Metiv’s 9-month Peace of Mind (POM) intervention consists of four phases; a two-day opening workshop, a week-long intensive overseas seminar, a full day of follow-up activities and a concluding workshop. Throughout the nine-month intervention, team members receive approximately 65 hours of group counselling, with those who need it receiving additional one on one follow up therapy.
About 15 veterans from a high-risk combat unit, within which there is a profound depth of trust, work with two therapists to process their experiences. Participants do not suffer from PTSD, yet are sorely in need of a place and time to process their combat experiences in a facilitated group setting.
A week with a Jewish community abroad: The most intensive part of the therapeutic process takes place while the unit is hosted by a Jewish community overseas. The distance from Israel, and the community support during this phase of the therapeutic process, play a crucial role in creating a safe, quiet and supportive environment. Participants report they have greater ability to process their combat experiences while abroad. An equally important element is the gratitude and warmth received from Diaspora Jewish communities, which gives veterans a sense of love, support and added purpose in defending Israel.
Benefit for IDF veterans: Two-thirds of participants show significant post-traumatic growth following their participation in the program. Other measures show significant increase in social support, functioning in everyday life, emotional regulation, decrease in depressive symptoms, better communication with their families and more. There are profound connections between families, communities, and Israel, with many soldiers not realizing the depth of support for them, and for Israel, in the Diaspora.
Benefit for host Jewish communities:Through POM, host communities demonstrate their active commitment to Israel and those who defend it. Members of host communities, especially young adults, are afforded the opportunity to spend quality time with Israel’s best young men and women, in the process creating long-lasting personal ties and relationships.
Since the program’s inception, over 65 groups have been hosted in Jewish communities in the UK, Canada, and the United States. Another 100 groups are on our waiting list. For more information please contact POM director Alon Weltman
Community Honor Roll
We are deeply grateful to our partner host Jewish communities who have taken it upon themselves to be part of a global network with the purpose of healing our IDF veterans and providing them with a better future. Please contact us if your community would like to be part of this initiative.
- Congregation Ahavath Torah. Englewood NJ. 2018
- The Hampton Synagogue. New York. 2017, 2018
- Fire Island Minyan. New York. 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017
- Highland Park/Edison/New Brunswick NJ (Anshe Emet, Highland Park Conservative Temple, Ohr Torah, Ahavas Achim). 2012, 2014, 2016
- The Kabbalah Center. New York. 2016
- The Jewish Center. NY. 2013, 2016
- Hebrew Institute of White Plains. NY. 2014
- Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple. New Brunswick, NJ. 2012
- Congregation Beth Shalom. Oak Park, Michigan. 2012
- Great Neck Jewish Community. New York. 2012
- Beth Haminyan/Village /Shul. 2018
- Beth Tzedec. Toronto. 2016, 2017, 2018
- Darchei Noam. 2018
- Muskoka Summer Community. 2018
- Shaarei Shomayim. Toronto. 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
- Beth Sholom Synagogue. Toronto. 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
- Beth Torah Congregation. Toronto. 2016
- Sephardic Kehila Centre. Toronto. 2012, 2013
- Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue. Toronto, Canada. 2011, 2013
- Chabad @ Chabad Gate. Toronto. 2011
- Chabad Flamingo. Toronto. 2010
- Hampstead Synagogue. London. 2018
- Persian Minyan – Kinloss Synagogue. London. 2018
- The S&P Sephardi Community. London. 2017, 2018
- West London Synagogue. London. 2016, 2017, 2018
- Western Marble Arch Synagogue. London. 2016, 2017, 2018
- St John’s Wood Synagogue. London. 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018
- Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue (Norice Lee). London. 2016, 2017
- Yeshurun Synagogue. Edgware. 2016, 2017
- New North London Synagogue. London. 2013, 2015, 2015, 2017
- Ner Yisrael. London. 2016
- Bernard Goldstein Memorial Group. London. 2016 (funded by the Goldstein Family, held at SJW Synagogue).
- The Kabbalah Centre. London. 2015
- South Hampstead Synagogue. London. 2010
- Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue. London. 2009, 2010
Kehilat Gesher. Paris. 2008, 2009
Il Convento Mincione. Umbria, Italy. 2009