Yankel Meislin is a sofer (Torah scribe), author, public speaker and mentor who lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and five children. To the casual observer, he looks like your typical Chabad rabbi, spending his day in prayer, holy work, and raising a family.
While that may be true now, there was a time when Yankel’s identity couldn’t be more of a contradiction to what it is today.
Yankel grew up in a small town in Long Island, NY. As a physically small child with a unique personality and ideas, he was the target of school bullies for many years. Deeply unhappy and anxious, he turned to weed, alcohol, and other drugs as a way to self-medicate and soothe his battered sense of self.
Eventually, his drug habit grew to be too expensive to cover with his high school allowance money. That’s when Yankel turned first to stealing, which soon became unsustainable, and eventually to dealing drugs, which came along with handling weapons, associating with mafia members, and engaging in dangerous behaviors.
It wasn’t until Yankel was forced to flee from threats to his life that he truly committed to rehab and AA gatherings, where he discovered religion, spirituality, and a new direction in life.
Now, Yankel joins us on the Neshamos Podcast to share his story of leaving his personal exile, which included addiction, bullying, drug dealing, violence, and constant running, to find his redemption in sobriety, accountability, happiness, fulfillment, and peace.
Today, Yankel has been sober for 14 years.
“I firmly believe that everything that I went through from the day I was born until today is in the service of helping someone else,” Yankel reflects. “Otherwise, why would I have gone through such crazy things? And since that’s the way I view it, I must pass it on in order to help someone else.”
Yankel can be reached via Whatsapp at 718-714-8201 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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