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Special Forces IDF Training for Rabbinical Students

MORRISTOWN, NJ [CHI] — It’s late at night, the woods are dark and threatening. Many consider it not the time for a casual stroll. Never the less, all alone, clad in ordinary attire, a Rabbinical Student walks along this path doing his best to be at total ease. Startling outbursts of noise from a planted and concealed air horn surprise him, yet he forges on from Point A to point B undeterred.

This night exercise was part of a new beta workshop held earlier this month at Yeshiva Tiferes Bachurim in Morristown, NJ. The goal: Learm to implement Chassidic teachings in everyday life. The workshop was focused on our natural ability to control emotional responses to anxiety. Participants practiced self control using Special Forces Commando training techniques. Throughout the workshop, participants were exposed to a range of premeditated internal and external triggers that resulted in some level of stress. The triggers covered, audio, visual, vocal and physical. The formula: a simple 3-step process that impacts awareness and response to stress.

The instructor, Dr. Gill Heart a serial entrepreneur of Atlanta Georgia, holds a PhD in Bio-Medical Engineering and was a Special Forces Commando in the IDF. During his army service, Dr. Heart learned to successfully maintain and maximize performance even under extreme circumstances. “Special operations require dealing with stressful circumstances. Being physically fit helps, but falls short of being the solution.“ ”Ironically“ – says Dr. Heart – ”it is all in your mind”.

Following his army service and higher education, Dr. Heart took up Chassidic Philosophy – “Recently, it became clear to me, that there is a lot in common between training of Special Forces and Chassidic teachings”. “For example, take the fundamental Chassidic concept of ‘Mind In Control’. The teaching is that while a person should be aware of his surroundings, stressful circumstances should not have an emotional impact. During the workshop, we utilize Special Forces training techniques to practice and implement Chassidic concepts that, in turn, enable a person to address the continuum of daily, stress-related events”.

The students went through a series of mental and physical exercises. One of these was to have the participant make his way through rows of human blockades while blindfolded, not allowing the commotion to discourage him from reaching his destination nor loose focus of his thoughts. Another was to hold both hands stretched out horizontally for a substantial amount of time until becoming highly uncomfortable. Then to have another participant engage the former in conversation which is demanding full concentration. They then implemented the 3-step process by utilizing the newly learned techniques, which enabled them to practice self-control under duress. This now brought to life the idea of ‘mind in control’ and self discipline in a very tangible productive manner.

“All of us are exposed to some level of stress. It can take place at work or at home; with friends or family; due to internal or external triggers; often caused by financial, health or other stressful circumstance.” says Dr. Heart. “What’s important is to be able to identify the problem, deal with it and continue to function at your optimum level and not allow it to bend you out of shape. Now, you do not have to go through Special Forces Commando training in order to implement and practice these techniques. Nor do you have to find yourself in a life threatening situation in order to find the strength to stay in control. Rather it is applicable to and can be practiced by everyone, and in practically any situation”.

For more information about upcoming talks and workshops – please contact Dr. Heart at



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