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March 4, 2015 | 13th Adar 5775
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Rabbi Edythe Held Mencher L.C.S.W.

Caring Community / Family Concerns

Rabbi Edythe MencherRabbi Edythe Held Mencher LCSW serves as a specialist at the URJ, offering consultation to congregations, lay leaders, educators and clergy on creating caring communities that address the concerns of individuals and families. By providing ways of enhancing congregants' emotional and spiritual resilience as they face different life stages and emotional and health challenges, membership is strengthened and transformed to a sense of belonging. When synagogue members feel a sense of being understood, supported and valued as they deal with such stressors as loneliness, family changes, depression, substance abuse, caretaking of children, spouses or parents, acute or chronic illness or unemployment and under-employment, they come to cherish their tradition and community even more. Rabbi Mencher writes for Reform Judaism magazine and presents regularly on issues related to leadership development, spirituality, health and family life at congregations, schools and organizations throughout North America. She recently served as Rabbinic Consultant to UJA Federation of New York in developing programming for congregations relating to mental health issues and wellness. She has previously served as the Associate Director of the URJ's Department of Jewish Family Concerns and as Associate Rabbi of Temple Israel in Westport, CT. She has also served as a staff consultant to Gilda's Club of Westchester (a cancer support program) and has been involved in supervision, mentoring and teaching at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York campus. Prior to her ordination she was a member of the faculty of New York Hospital's Department of Psychiatry and a child and adolescent therapist at the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services.

Rabbi Mencher is the major author of Resilience of the Soul - Developing Spiritual and Emotional Resilience in Adolescents and their Families, a program guide focusing upon how Jewish communities and tradition can help adolescents and their families develop positive ways of managing stress and difficult emotions. The book also provides information and suggestions about ways the Jewish community can address depression, eating disorders, binge drinking, substance abuse and self-inflicted violence. Very involved in the building of communities of caring, Rabbi Mencher has sought to bring together the wisdom of Jewish tradition and the knowledge derived from training as a mental health professional. She has been a keynote speaker and workshop leader at a number of conferences including those on Judaism in 2030:The Meaning of Belonging in the Jewish Community of the Future; Social Work, Depression and Spirituality and Creating Communities of Inclusion for People Living with Disabilities. She has created on-line materials including webinars and downloadable letters and articles drawing upon traditional and contemporary sources to help individuals and congregations to respond to the current economic crisis.
Rabbi Mencher was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (New York) in 1999. She received certification from the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in 1989 and currently serves on the faculty of the Training Institute. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from Hunter College School of Social Work. She has participated in advanced training seminars on reconnecting helping professionals with their core mission, promoting positive child and adolescent development, pre-marital and marital counseling, supporting bereaved children and adults, integrating mindfulness/meditation and emotional regulation skills in managing depression and anxiety and on facilitating empowering and calming responses to chronic and life threatening illness.
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Phone: 212.650.4296

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