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Rabbi's Week In Review- 08/18/2020

08/17/2020 04:03:38 PM


The Kansas City Jewish community faced a horrific tragedy last week with the death of Stacey Bell, of blessed memory. Her tireless effort to try to find the needed help for her adopted daughter's mental illness and her constant love for that daughter were not enough.

For me, this tragedy provided a stark reminder of our ongoing struggle to adequately address mental illness in our country. I have devoted a past Erev Yom Kippur sermon to the topic of de-stigmatizing mental illness. Seeing the struggle people face in their own lives is not new, and we have made some strides in how we view mental illness.

Yet, particularly with the sense of isolation that has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, I see a wave of  mental-health issues that are being lost in conversations over physical health and the ensuing economic crisis. Simply put, I am urging that everyone approach the issue of your mental health with the same seriousness and urgency as your physical health. While I am always available to provide counseling in my role as rabbi, I am not a licensed therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. If you are struggling or know someone who is, please reach out to me. I am more than willing to talk and, if need be, to refer you to someone for treatment.  

Mental illness is just that — an illness. It is not a character flaw or some sort of failing. Also, as a community, let us be cognizant not only of our own mental health but also that of others in our community. The need will exist for a long time after this pandemic has passed.

Wed, September 23 2020 5 Tishrei 5781