What it’s like to be admitted to a mental institution in Israel

One night, he decided that he could not take it anymore.

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“Michael” B. was the kind of little boy you couldn’t help but love. He had an infectious laugh, a beaming smile, and he had a large group of friends. After a private trauma, however, his behavior began to change. Michoel started to have nightmares, and flashbacks.

As the young boy grew up to be a teenager, he spent every waking moment in extreme pain. On the outside he smiled and did his best but internally all he could do was relive the horrors of his trauma over, and over, and over again.

One night, he decided that he could not take it anymore. The yeshiva student with the love for learning and his friends, the young boy with so much potential ahead of him, swallowed a bottle of pills in an attempt to take his own life.

What happened after was a swirl of chaos. After being found by his father "Rabbi B," Michael was rushed to a nearby emergency room, where his stomach was pumped. With his father by his side, the teenager wept. He was ashamed, he didn't want to die, he had just been in so much pain. What he did not know, however, was that once he had recovered, he would not be released: The psychiatrists at the hospital had decided to give the boy a temporary mandatory hospitalization, until they were sure he would not try to hurt himself again.

In the dark of the night the ambulance weaved its way down the road and arrived at a high security building, with armed guards keeping watch. A friendly male nurse greeted Michael at the door and began to take his details. He & his father looked around nervously at the other patients: Some stared into the distance, others wept or mumbled. Michoel’s phone was taken, and with a tremendous amount of pain, his father was forced to leave, and allow him to heal.

When Michoel came home 10 days later, he was quiet. His father, however, was relating to him differently: They were determined to help get Michoel the help he needed. Slowly, slowly, and through hard work and commitment on his part, the teen underwent a transformation that his friends & family could hardly believe. Through intensive therapy and medications, he was able to stop experiencing flashbacks, develop coping skills, and lead a functional - even happy - life. The sense of relief was overwhelming.

Rabbi B, however, knew that all was not as rosy as it seemed. They had not only run out of money, they were in debt. The therapist was pulling out. Soon they would be out of medication. And as much as he had grown, Michael simply was not ready.

With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Rabbi B went to visit his beloved rabbi, Rav Naftali Nussbaum. Rav Nussbaum & Rav Dovid Cohen spent much of the night discussing the matter and wrote up a letter with the strong belief that it is a matter of pikuach nefesh ("life and death") to help this family get the medical treatments they need. Amazingly, Rav Nussbaum & Rav Cohen are also dedicating personal time to pray for all those who help.


Just one year ago, Michoel B, a young boy with potential who endured tragedy through no fault of his own, stood at death’s door. He was given a second chance, and he has blossomed and thrived. His father, mother, and 11 siblings (and two of the biggest rabbis in the world) are begging you to help him survive.


*Details changed to protect the family’s privacy.