One in four Americans will experience mental illness in their lifetime. Many of the figures in the Hebrew Bible experienced severe emotional distress. And yet, due to stigma, most of us feel isolated when we are personally impacted. At the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center, we believe that mental illness is often a pathway to profound spiritual experience and demands a meaningful spiritual care response.
I am weary of my life; my speech gives out; I will speak from the bitterness of my soul.
-The Book of Job 10:1
We are here for you.
The rabbis of the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center have worked at the individual, family, synagogue, and community levels to support individuals experiencing mental illness. People often bring their mental health concerns to clergy even before seeking the help of any other healthcare professional. We provide individual rabbinic counseling, partner with your Bay Area synagogue on uniquely tailored community support, and offer collegial consultation to clergy and mental health professionals.
For your congregation
- Tending To Your Community (a congregational guide to visiting people who live with mental illness)
- Ten Things Your Congregation Can Do To Reach Out To Those Living With Mental Illness
- In 2000, we made a commitment to the spiritual care needs of those who live with mental illness. We are grateful to the Newhouse Fund of the Jewish Community Federation, San Francisco, for its early support of this transformative vision. Our intention was to build the capacity of the community to care. We developed a conference model for synagogues to implement change in their own settings. In 2005, Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, convened our conference model and developed a community of support. We are honored to share with you this film as a long-term outcome of our spiritual care in our beloved community. (We are honored that these synagogues convened their own synagogue-based conference to implement change: Congregation Rodef Sholom, Congregation Beth Sholom, Temple Isaiah, and Congregation Beth Jacob)
For Jewish clergy
- Give Me Your Hand (a congregational prayer by Rabbi Eric Weiss)
- Clergy-Congregant No-Harm Contract (for use with suicidal congregants)
- A Rabbi’s Role in Providing Spiritual Care to Those Who Are Mentally Ill
For your reflection
- A Prayer of Healing for Mental Illness
- Despair and Suicidality (Biblical sources)
- Group Prayer for Healing (Poem by Shoshana Hadassah)
- Glimmer of Hope (Poem by Shoshana Hadassah)
- A Moment of Blessing (Poem by Shoshana Hadassah)
- The Torah of Despair (By Rabbi Elliot Kukla)
- The Spirituality of Madness (By Rabbi Elliot Kukla)