Building Resilient Communities

Since its War of Independence in 1948, Israel has experienced major outbreaks of hostilities in every decade of its existence, along with continuous acts of terror, both within its borders and against its citizens around the world. The ongoing conflict has elevated high levels of stress and trauma among the population which have always been close to the surface of daily life, even during relatively quieter periods.

Evidence of this is seen in many aspects of Israeli life, which is also challenged by tensions with the country’s multiethnic makeup as well as having one of the largest socioeconomic gaps in the developed world. The need for effective tools to reduce stress and build connection is clear. CMBM has been working with its Israeli Faculty to better cope with these pressures and foster overall resilience for over 20 years.

Program Update

The merciless October 7th attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians and security forces created an urgent need to help the victims and ever-widening circles of those traumatized that day. The trauma quickly escalated in scale and magnitude, as over a quarter of a million citizens from both the southern and the northern border communities were immediately displaced. Virtually every home was touched by a personal connection to relatives, neighbors, and acquaintances lost in the massacre. The stress included a nationwide concern for those kidnapped and still being held hostage, and triggered a national call-up of reserve forces, pressed into combat duty to fight terror in the face of rocket attacks raining down on Israeli civilian centers throughout the country and the specter of an Iranian nuclear threat.

In response, members of CMBM’s Israeli leadership mobilized to provide immediate services to a wide range of traumatized populations. The Amuta (Hebrew for nonprofit, referring to CMBM-Israel)—alongside hundreds of CMBM-trained professionals—is scaling to reach those experiencing high levels of stress and trauma, including, but not limited to, first responders, survivors of Hamas attacks, released hostages, and their families.

The team is preparing a blueprint for a sustained, long-term program of hope and healing that will provide much needed emergency trauma relief and resilience building services. These will include emergency mind-body self-care workshops, Mind-Body Skills Groups, and training for clinicians, physicians, psychiatrists, and other healthcare providers.

CMBM Faculty and Kibbutz Kfar Aza resident Dr. Ronit Eilon in a session with fellow survivors from her border community, where 61 residents were murdered and another 17 were kidnapped.

Our Work

Since 2002, CMBM has trained over 500 Jewish and Arab-Israeli health, mental health, and education professionals to facilitate Mind-Body Skills Groups. While the focus has been helping build resilience among a variety of Israeli population sectors such as children and adults who lived in heavily shelled areas, it is interesting to note that CMBM implemented several joint programs with Israelis and Palestinians, such as a workshop to implement CMBM techniques in assisting cancer patients. In those programs, CMBM’s model regularly helped Israelis and Palestinians overcome fixed fears and prejudices. Many of them spoke with gratitude for having this unique opportunity to see each other as partners in learning and serving their communities, rather than opponents or enemies.

By addressing the root causes of stress and trauma, CMBM’s model brings people together in a manner that does not force peacemaking but instead allows for divides to be organically bridged. We provide a non-threatening setting and culturally-sensitive methodology to bring people together as equals in a safe space. The model has helped to develop active listening and self-reflection, skills that are critical to bridging differences and reducing the perceived threat of the “other.” With over 70 partner organizations across the country, the model has reached over 50,000 children and adults.

In 2009, CMBM helped local Faculty establish the independent amuta (nonprofit) “The Training Center for Mind-Body Skills” (now CMBM-Israel) to bring its evidence-based model of stress and trauma-relief to as many children and adults as possible. Since then, CMBM-Israel Faculty members have continued to implement the CMBM intervention. CMBM-Israel is now eager and ready to start working on a larger scale within the education, health and social service sectors.

Israeli schoolchildren participate in a meditation led by CMBM Faculty Adi Fishman (not shown). Then Minister of Education, current Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant participates.


CMBM-Israel, established in 2009, offers ongoing training and certification to Israeli clinicians and educators.

  • 50,000+ children and adults served
  • 500 Jewish and Arab-Israeli health, mental health, and education professionals trained
  • 70 partner organizations across the country currently using our model
  • 100+ school psychologists and counselors, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, trained
  • 16 Israeli faculty (MD, PhD, MA, LCSW) who have, alongside Dr. Gordon and CMBM Faculty, co-led 5 mind-body medicine training programs and CancerGuides®, in conjunction with Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva

Our Research

Halberstadt N, Staples JK, Addesky R, Gordon JS. Mind-body groups: concepts, practice, and results (The First International Conference of the Unit of Applied Neuroscience on Training the Mind: Mindfulness, Brain, and Behavior, Dec 30, 2009 Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, Israel).

Data gathered at the Initial and the Advanced Mind-Body Medicine Training Programs in Israel in 2006 showed an increase in the use of mind-body modalities, both personally and professionally, as well as an increase in optimism, a decrease in anxiety, anger and fatigue, and improved spirituality scores.

Our Work in Action