Keren Hateshuva's Jerusalem program is generously supported by the
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Yonatan became addicted to drugs from a very young age. He was hosted by the Israel Prison Service in most of their prisons, and even managed to get himself indicted overseas. However, fate decided to intervene in his life. In one of his frequent prison stays, he discovered an audio tape of Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak; it caused him, for the first time in his life, to pause and question where he was heading. He decided to change his ways, repent and begin to observe a religious life. Learning that smoking on Shabbat is forbidden, he went cold turkey on marijuana and hashish.
His greatest fear however, was facing his parole. “Where do I go from here? Outside of the prison, the only people I know are criminals, like myself.’ It was only after lengthy convincing on the part of his lawyer, that Yonatan was accepted into the Keren’s residential program. His life had been saved. “It was like a rollercoaster for me”, he notes, “The staff were fantastic. For the first time in years, I actually got to sleep before 11PM, and awoke at a normal hour, ready to go to work. The food was great and the study sessions with the rabbis opened my mind. They took us on excursions to widen our horizons, and to pray for help, at the tombs of great Jewish personalities from the distant past. Even during the most difficult times at the hostel, we stuck together and supported each other, feeling like family. And just imagine, amongst us were murderers, robbers, thieves and former drug dealers, and yet, there wasn’t even one incident of theft or violence. The Keren saved us all…”