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Sunday, March 6 • 4:00pm - 4:50pm
Tackling Mental Health Stigma through Jewish Learning

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My Chevrutah study session aims to reduce mental-health related stigma within Toronto’s diverse Jewish community through Torah text study. Although mental health stigma is a society-wide problem, existing research – coupled with my own experience – suggests that it manifests itself uniquely within the Jewish community. At the same time, I believe that our community possesses unique resources to combat mental health stigma – particularly Torah study itself. As such, I have chosen text study as a vehicle for having potentially uncomfortable conversations around this critical issue. We will examine biblical, talmudic, rabbinic, and Jewish historical texts, media articles, and personal narrative. From within our own tradition, we will counter judgement and blame, and even uncover direct contrasts to stigma – such as the dignity and holiness that can be bound with the pain of emotional distress and “mental illness.” This session has been created as part of my training in social work, in collaboration with Rochelle Goldman-Brown and The Chai Tikvah Foundation.

avatar for Aviva Bellman

Aviva Bellman

Aviva is a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) student at Smith College working with The Chai Tikvah Foundation on an initiative called the Jewish Mental Health Anti-Stigma Project. Her interest in mental health stigma – which she views as a social justice issue – and Jewish learning... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 4:00pm - 4:50pm EST