Rosh Hashanah is a powerful and transformative holiday, from the inspirational and poetic prayers we recite to the powerful and incisive blast of the shofar. This experience, however, cannot be fully embraced in a safe and healthy way without preparation, and for that, we have the month of Elul preceding the High Holidays. We encourage you to take this month to fully embrace and engage with your past with courage. It is only by building better selves that we can build a better world.
Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, can be a challenging subject for a lot of people. For some, it is a chance to make resolutions, accepting the past and committing to a better future. But for those struggling with mental illness, this process of self-criticism and introspection can be devastating to their mental health. Therefore, we all must do our best to cultivate self-acceptance and, above all, self-forgiveness, in a healthy and collected manner.
We would like to thank Rabbi Michael Bernstein of Congregation Gesher L’Torah Alpharetta, Georgia for dedicating his Rosh Hashanah sermon to mental health, as well as his making use of Blue Dove Foundation resources. Start your new year off on the right foot by listening to his incredibly powerful sermon here.
These resources can be used by individuals and/or shared by organizations with their members.
Organizations can reference our media toolkit for images, draft social media posts and newsletter text to share.
- On Brokenness and Becoming Whole in the New Year: How the Jewish Community is Confronting Mental Illness and Addiction
- Physical and Mental Health During the High Holy Days
- Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die: Reflections on Mental Health for Rosh Hashannah
- On Roshannah it is Written, On Yom Kippur it is Sealed
- 30 Days After Yom Kippur: Are We Still Sober? Lessons From Addiction Recovery
- For the Sin We Have Sinned: Reflections on Mental Health for Yom Kippur
High Holiday Guide for Organization Leadership
This is a resource that can be used by organization leadership (clergy, staff, lay leaders) to help bring mental health into High Holiday remarks this year.
“Last year, 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 as well as speaking about the overdose deaths of children and family members. I’m glad I shared the resources and that I used the mi sheberach prayer for those in recovery.”
– Rabbi Larry Schuval, South Florida
ADDITIONAL JEWISH COMMUNITY HIGH HOLIDAY RESOURCES
HighHolyDays.org – Celebration, reflection, forgiveness, hope, community, stillness, appreciation.
Synagogue Connect – a truly global network of synagogues that have opened their doors to warmly welcome Jewish young adults 18-30 for High Holyday services with absolutely no requirement of membership affiliation. Think of Synagogue Connect as your Global Passport into the synagogue of your choice.