The fifth annual Community Mental Health Awareness Shabbat, spearheaded by Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation in Côte Saint-Luc, will take place May 4 to 6. This year it will feature a hybrid program, with in-person and virtual options for a Mental Health Symposium on Thursday evening, a Friday workshop for high school students and two sessions on Saturday. This format has spread to cities across North America.
This program coincides with Canadian Mental Health Week (https://mentalhealthweek.ca). Dr. Rachel Goodman and Yair Meyers are the program co-chairs. “Our goal is for as many synagogues as possible across the entire Jewish community here, across Canada and the United States, to dedicate that Shabbat as part of the Community-Wide Mental Health Awareness Shabbat,” the co-chairs state.
On Thursday evening, May 4 (7:30 pm to 9 pm) the kickoff symposium will be entitled Reconnecting With What Matters: How Investing In Our Relationships Helps Us Thrive at the synagogue (6519 Baily Road). A livestream will be available at mentalhealth.tbdj.org for the panel, moderated by Dr. Goodman and featuring Rabbi Zolly Claman from TBDJ, Social Worker/Psychotherapist and COO of Agence Ometz Allan Ptack, Connie DiNardo from AMI-Quebec and keynote speaker Dr. Miriam Kirmayer. She is a clinical psychologist and leading friendship expert who has studied the science of connection for over a decade. Her work focuses on helping people to navigate life transitions, cultivate resilience and self-compassion, and build healthier relationships and more connected lives. Dr. Kirmayer sits on the Mental Health Advisory Committee for Wondermind, a mental fitness company co-founded by Selena Gomez, and partners with businesses and organizations to encourage mental wellness, meaningful relationships, and community. It is important to note that the lecture will not be recorded, so if you do not intend on attending in-person you will need to watch the live feed.
On Friday, May 5 (10 am) Dr. Kirmayer will address high school students in a teen mental health workshop. The theme for this talk will be Stay Connected: The Power of Authentic Friendships.
Finally, on Saturday May 6 following services in the synagogue’s main sanctuary, Stuart Katz. Director Nafshenu Alenu, will talk about The Power Of Community: It Takes More Than Just a Village. Nafshenu Alenu is a community-wide initiative out of the State of New York which promotes mental wellbeing and empowers communities to address the ever-growing and increasingly more complicated and critical mental health needs. At 6:15, Katz will join Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger for another session. His topic will be Our Family’s Survival with Suicidality: One of Many while Rabbi Bresinger, the Director of Chabad Lifeline, will focus on Perspective from the front lines: The Struggle of Addiction in the Jewish Community.