The ‘Soul Key’ Program – Music Studies for people suffering from military related post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

לעברית לחצו כאן


Listen here, my child

Daddy has a scar

Long since the times of war

Shards never hit his body, only his soul

That’s why daddy can’t calm down

Avichai Hollander

Avichai Hollander, 30, a former participant in the “Soul Key” program. A fighter of the Egoz Unit, who lost friends and part of himself in ‘Protective Edge’ Operation [‘Tsuk Eitan’], wrote the lyrics and music, and directed the campaign song “Can’t find peace” .

Play the Clip:

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The ‘Soul Key’ Program enables sufferers of post-trauma to integrate as students at the Conservatory, learn to sing and play music in individual classes, and enjoy group music sessions while discovering the variety of activities that the Conservatory offers.


The Key to restoring the Soul rests on a number of working assumptions that are reflected in the program structure:

1.Rehabilitation through Music – Music as an ongoing key activity brings meaning and a source of interest, a drive for further development and a path for emotional expression.

The process of studying obliges students to engage mental and emotive faculties, on their healthy sides, thus helping strengthen their competence and self-esteem.

2.Recognition and appreciation by Israeli society – Rehabilitation at a recognized prestigious establishment for music education means that the participants are integrating into a fundamental social activity. In this way their difficulties and special needs are given the due social recognition and appreciation they deserve, as is their contribution as combatants.

3.Support – Understanding the participants’ struggle to manage and organize their lives, we have established a support system comprising a group of volunteers who assist with administrative issues, student-teacher communication, as well as encouragement and care in moments of crisis.


The program

The program, launched in November 2016, with 12 participants (casualties from the Yom Kippur War to Operation Protective Edge), has since expanded and now has about 60 participants. Some learn to sing and play various instruments at individual weekly lessons with Conservatory teachers; some play in ensembles with weekly rehearsals under the guidance of a Conservatory teacher; and some participate in group sessions – meetings with well-known artists – workshops and lectures.

Group meetings are intended for all participants and staff, and deal with various different music issues:

1. Meetings with artists and musicians – Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor, Alon Olearchik, Shem Tov Levi, Shlomo Gronich, Shlomo Yidov, Yoni Rechter, Ester Rada, Eviatar Banai, Yirmi Kaplan and others.
2. Lectures on composers and musical genres – by Yoav Kutner.
3. Music workshops led by musicians teaching at the Conservatory
4. Participants are invited to take part in all the numerous musical activities at the Conservatory and are entitled to free admission to concerts. 

“>For a short video about the program, click here

The program was founded by Yifat Greenwald-Cohen, a clinical psychologist who treats post-trauma victims, Yifat manages the program voluntarily together with Michal Arad Abramov, the director of organizational development at the conservatory.

The support system is operated by ‘coordinators’ from the Conservatory’s circle of volunteers, accompanied by a professional team from the field of mental health. Outstanding Musicians in the IDF serve as mentors for those learning to play instruments.

The program is based on understanding the fundamental importance of engaging in music, its contribution to the soul and its therapeutic value. Music is a unique and creative language, an unmediated channel for expressing emotions, and a healthy way of dealing with life’s experiences and difficulties.

Media Articles about the Program

“>Kan 11 – This week with Yaron Dekel

The New York Times

The Jerusalem Post

“Kan 11 – Culture Agent”

South African Jewish Report

To donate to the program click here