My Book Ben Oni L’Benyamin: From Sorrow to Strength draws from my history of clinical depression and my work as a rabbi in a series of accessible reflections on Jewish traditions through the lens of mental illness. The book explores the holy days of the Jewish calendar along with select stories from the Torah. By drawing parallels between these important elements of Judaism and the devastating effects depression has on its sufferers, the reader can gain a deeper understanding of what it is like to live with this condition. From Sorrow to Strength also includes my own journal entries, advice and commentary from other people with depression, and my daughter’s firsthand experience witnessing my struggle to provide the reader with a complete and sympathetic portrait of this illness. By sharing my reflections on my personal experience with clinical depression, I hope to help end the stigma of mental illness. I am an ordained rabbi and board-certified chaplain. My earlier publications include a chapter on illness in Walking with Life, an adult curriculum series published by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. I did a chaplaincy residency at UCLA and worked in the Neuropsychiatric Institute as one of my assignments; years later From Sorrow to Strength connects themes of Judaism with the experience of depression by using the Jewish calendar and Torah passages as a guide. This unique yet utterly raw take on a common experience for many Americans could earn it a spot in the self-help, memoir, and religion sections of any bookstore.
I am a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and would love to teach Mental Health First Aid to your community.
Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds an understanding of their impact and overviews appropriate supports. This 8-hour course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health crisis and connect people to the appropriate professional, peer, social and self-help care. The program also teaches common risk factors and warning signs of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia.
Mental Health First Aid is included on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)