One of my favorite prayers of all time is the Mi Shebeirach. Not only do I love how everyone comes together to pray for loved ones, but I also resonate with the meaning. In the Mi Shebeirach, we pray for a r’fuah shleimah (a full recovery). This includes r’fuat hanefesh ur’fuat haguf, which is a healing of mind and body. Many people don’t see mental illnesses as “real” issues, because they can be less overt than something like a broken leg. However, just because they may be harder for some people to see doesn’t make them any less real. The Mi Shebeirach succeeds in recognizing mental illnesses as real illnesses that sometimes need prayer. And guess what? That’s completely okay.
At Young Judaea, we strive to create a community where we make each other whole. For me, I know that I feel my best when I’m at camp, and I’m sure many other people can relate. As you may know, one of Young Judaea’s pillars is Jewish Identity. I feel like it’s hard to form a sense of Jewish identity when you’re still struggling to form a general identity. That’s why it’s so important to take time for yourself. When you’re able to recognize what makes you happy and what makes you anxious you’ll be able to get the most out of your life. You can then go on to discover how that relates to your Judaism, and make the most of your Young Judaea experiences.
As Jews, we are all a part of a marginalized group. This makes it all essential to stick together and support each other through challenges. Some of these challenges may be harder to see, like mental health issues. ⅕ of adults suffer from mental illness, including people within our Jewish community. So, everybody knows somebody who’s fighting this battle. In order to be an effective ally to those who may be struggling, it’s essential that we try to cultivate a loving, caring environment within our relationships. Make sure that others know you’re there for them. Equally as important (sometimes more important) is being there for yourself. Remember to put your own oxygen mask on first.
If you or a loved one are suffering from mental health issues, please reach out for help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (24/7)
National Eating Disorder Association: 1-800-931-2237
National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264