Founded in 2012 by Leibish “Big Mike” Gondelman who has 13 years clean and sober, Jerusalem Sober House provides sober living along with comprehensive therapeutic services for newly clean and sober Jewish men with co-occurring disorders. Located in Jerusalem, Israel, the house is the first English-speaking facility of it’s kind. It also observes the Jewish heritage, which is woven into the curriculum.
Accommodations and Amenities
Jerusalem Sober House accommodates no more than 12 men at a time between the ages of 18 and 30. The house includes a spacious living room with tile floors, and wall-to-wall bookshelves stocked with books. The room is furnished with contemporary leather couches, a wooden table and an entertainment center with a television. Residents are paired in furnished rooms, which include twin beds and closets.
At Jerusalem Sober House, all meals are provided and the food is Kosher. From Sundays to Thursdays, Kosher dinners are catered. Entrees include Moroccan stew, meat and chickpeas on couscous, lasagna, chicken and rice and shepherd’s pie. The house includes on-site staff.
Rules and Regulations
Prior to admittance, clients must have undergone detox. Length of stay is typically between six and nine months. During the first month, residents undergo a black-out period and focus on their recovery, which includes on-site individual and group therapy and attendance at local 12-step meetings. Jerusalem House utilizes several evidence-based modalities during individual therapy including CBT, solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). At Jerusalem Sober House, there is the belief that trauma is the source of many addictions, and EMDR is used to help clients with traumatic issues when appropriate. Group therapy topics include recovery tools, relapse prevention, Big Book study, reflection and gratitude. Traditional psychotherapy and a 12-step approach are two modalities implemented during group.
After 30 days, clients incorporate outside activities into their recovery protocol. These activities include attending Yeshivah (an Orthodox Jewish school of higher learning), volunteering or finding gainful employment. At Jerusalem Sober House, the Sabbath is observed. Residents are encouraged to connect with their Jewish heritage at a level that makes them comfortable. There is the belief that connection to one’s heritage makes it easier to click with the 12-step concept of a Higher Power.
Founder and clinical director Gondelman is a certified addictions and substance abuse professional (CASAP) who also holds a Bachelor’s in Judaic Studies. Besides Gondelman, the staff includes a substance abuse professional who holds a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University, a Master’s-level clinical social worker, a chief operations officer, a case manager and a program manager.
Additionally, there is an on-site Cholent Anonymous meeting provided, which is an open spiritual 12-step meeting. Residents also have the option to participate in weekly yoga and daily meditation groups.
As a native New Yorker, Gondelman moved to Israel in 2001 to pursue his dream of opening up a sober living home to help others the way he had been helped. His wife Tatiana is the chief operations officer on board.
Jerusalem Sober House is definitely one of a kind. Not only is it a labor of love on Big Mike’s part, but this unique sober living home in the ancient city of Jerusalem provides a holistic approach in helping young men recover emotionally and spiritually from chemical dependency and co-occurring disorders. The only downside of Jerusalem Sober House is that it is geared only to men, but perhaps, a female-only version might open in the near future.
Jerusalem Sober House
4 Aliyat Hanoar St
Ramot, Jerusalem, Israel 97234
Jerusalem Sober House Cost: $5,000 (30 days). Reach Jerusalem Sober House by phone at (077) 540-3715 (Israel), (845) 400-1024 (cell) or by email at [email protected]. Find Jerusalem Sober House at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Google+
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