“These are the soldiers who give Israel ‘Peace of Mind.’ So friends, it is our duty to help them find their Peace of Mind” Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
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 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 Peace of Mind, host communities demonstrate their active commitment to Israel and those who defend it. By hosting the veterans, Jewish communities play an active role in shaping a healthier Israeli society. 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 85 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 Peace of Mind director Alon Weltman or Director of Partnerships Chaim Landau
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, 2019
- Temple Beth El and Boca Raton Synagogue, Boca Raton FL. 2019
- Irving Place Minyan, Cedarhurst, NY. 2018
- Highland Park/Edison/New Brunswick NJ (Anshe Emet, Highland Park Conservative Temple, Ohr Torah, Ahavas Achim). 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018
- Kemp Mill Synagogue, Silver Spring, MD. 2018
- East Hill Synagogue. Englewood NJ. 2018
- Young Israel and Temple Israel of Sharon, MA. 2018
- The Hampton Synagogue. New York. 2017, 2018
- Fire Island Minyan. New York. 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017
- 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 Sholom Synagogue. Toronto. 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
- Shaarei Shomayim. Toronto. 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
- Adath Israel. Toronto. 2019
- Beth Haminyan/Village Shul. Toronto. 2018
- Beth Tzedec. Toronto. 2016, 2017, 2018
- Darchei Noam. Toronto. 2018
- Muskoka Summer Community. 2018
- Beth Torah Congregation. Toronto. 2016
- Sephardic Kehila Centre. Toronto. 2012, 2013
- Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue. Toronto. 2011, 2013
- Chabad @ Chabad Gate. Toronto. 2011
- Chabad Flamingo. Toronto. 2010
- New North London Synagogue. London. 2013, 2015, 2015, 2017, 2019
- St John’s Wood Synagogue. London. 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019
- The Village Shul. London. 2018
- 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
- Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue (Norice Lee). London. 2016, 2017
- Yeshurun Synagogue. Edgware. 2016, 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
Safra Synagogue, 2019
Kehilat Gesher. Paris. 2008, 2009
Il Convento Mincione. Umbria, Italy. 2009