For some people, Rosh Hashanah means looking ahead and being grateful for a new year. Yom Kippur follows, guiding and encouraging individuals to ask for forgiveness. These two concepts of gratitude and forgiveness connect deeply with mental health and recovery.
In July, The Blue Dove Foundation released its 2019 Mental Health High Holiday Toolkit — a compilation of tools and resources created to begin a community-wide conversation around mental health and substance abuse. The Toolkit includes:
- Speaking points for rabbis and synagogue leaders
- Sermon talking points
- Suggested texts to reference
- Sample texts to use
- A flyer to distribute to congregants with national assistance hotlines
- A mi sheberach for those in recovery
- A special tekiah gedolah shofar blasts to #QuietTheSilence
With the assistance of rabbis, synagogue leadership and staff during the high holidays, The Blue Dove Foundation hopes Jewish populations across the country will:
- Have open and honest conversations about the challenges we are facing as a community related to mental health and substance abuse.
- Continue creating communities of caring.
- Learn about and share resources as well as organizations available to assist with mental health and substance abuse struggles locally and nationally.
- Initiate ways for individuals to get involved in their communities.
Rabbi Larry Schuval in South Florida used the toolkit last year and shared this:
“In 2018, while wearing a Blue Dove Kippah at our Jewish High Holidays services, I spoke about the Blue Dove Foundation and discussed mental health, suicide and addiction for the first time in front of my congregation. Many people came up to me at the end of services. It was the first time in 23 years that people shared with me their mental health and addiction stories and talked about the overdose deaths of children and family members. I’m glad I shared the resources and used the mi sheberach prayer for those in recovery.”
Through continued education and conversations like this, the Jewish community can begin to break down the shame and stigma associated with mental health and substance abuse.
A nonprofit organization offering resources and programs for communities to easily implement, The Blue Dove Foundation is transforming the way the Jewish community responds to mental health and substance abuse. Learn more at www.TheBlueDoveFoundation.org and stay a part of the conversation by following us on Facebook and Instagram.
Gabrielle Spatt serves as Executive Director of The Blue Dove Foundation.