Rabbi Edythe Held Mencher, L.C.S.W.

Rabbi Edythe Held Mencher, L.C.S.W.

Inside Leadership
Hands holding a geometric red heart

With the start of February, so too begins Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptence, and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Of course, there is nothing uniquely Jewish about disabilities, nor is there a greater need for inclusion in February than in any other month. So why observe Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month this February?

We encourage Reform congregations to observe and participate in this important community-wide initiative because it is Jewish to cherish each and every life and to support every struggle for dignity and justice; it is Jewish to work directly with each...

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to consider how we can help prevent and treat mental illness – including the agonizing scourge of clinical depression, which too often results in suicide.

It’s also the month leading up to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, when we read the Book of Ruth. In it, we hear of Naomi, a widow at midlife so despondent and hopeless that she tells her daughter-in-law, Ruth, to call her Marah, the Hebrew word for “bitterness” rather than her actual name, which means “pleasantness.”                         

Recent statistics cite a dramatic...

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Adolescence is one of the most change-filled periods of life, a time that’s both turbulent and exciting. During this confusing period, teens may find that previously cherished relationships – including those with parents, old friends, and congregations – now feel confining or suffocating, even though such connections can provide stability and support. Sometimes, they can even provide a lifeline.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five teens and young adults lives with a mental health condition, which can include eating disorders, mood disorders,...

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“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

During our celebration of Purim, we read these words Mordecai spoke to his niece, Queen Esther, whose Jewish identity was unknown to King Ahasuerus when he signed an order permitting the slaughter of the Jews of Shushan. Mordecai’s words moved Esther to act, enabling her people to fight against this injustice and removing both their...

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A sweet new year begins with audacious hospitality, making sure everyone feels welcome in the Jewish community. As part of High Holiday preparation, congregations can take a number of simple steps to help create an accessible and sacred space for people of all abilities so that everyone can fully participate.

Ask people what they need. The best way to make sure that everyone can participate is to ask people what will make this possible for them. Congregations can invite feedback through emails, registration, and membership forms, as well as in bulletins and handouts at services. Use... Read More

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