Unique therapy program offers troubled Jewish youth a distinctly Israeli alternative


January 6, 2023

Larry Luxner

Keren Shema, Yuval Goffer and Tzahi Billet, left to right, form part of the 12-member staff at Free Spirit, a program for at-risk youth at Kibbutz Hazorea in northern Israel.

KIBBUTZ HAZOREA, Israel - Throughout high school, Ben rarely did his homework, struggled to complete school assignments and used marijuana on a daily basis.

Frustrated with his situation, Ben, 18, decided in early September to leave his U.S. home and enroll in Free Spirit Experience - an in-residence therapy program in Israel's Carmel Mountains. Three months on, it has ended up changing his approach to life.

"I went there to work on my studies, but I ended up figuring out who I was independent of my parents and learning how to prioritize," said Ben, whose last name is being withheld to pres...

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