#QuietingTheSilence: An Open Conversation About Suicide

September is both National Suicide Prevention Month and the Jewish High Holiday season, a time where we are thinking about how to improve and nurture our own lives and the lives of the people around us. Hear the moving stories of a rabbi, a Jewish educator, and a mental health professional whose families have experienced suicide and suicidal ideation. Featuring: Rabbi David Kirshner, Mel Berwin, Ruby Falk.

About Our Speakers:

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In July, 2007, David-Seth Kirshner became the Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El. A natural leader, charismatic speaker and magnetic personality, Rabbi Kirshner embodies the best in the Jewish people and is an important figure in shaping the Conservative Jewish world.

Prior to joining Temple Emanu-El, Rabbi Kirshner worked at the Jewish Theological Seminary, which he joined in 1999, serving as Senior Director of Institutional Advancement, overseeing the Seminary’s development and outreach efforts. For five years, Rabbi Kirshner also served as Rabbi for the Hebrew Congregation of Fitzgerald, GA, traveling every three weeks to this community in Southern Georgia.

In addition to reinvigorating all aspects of Temple Emanu-El and strengthening relationships one by one, Rabbi Kirshner is involved in the community at-large and holds many positions of leadership. Rabbi Kirshner is the Past President of the New York Board of Rabbis, a member of the Chancellor’s Rabbinic Cabinet at the Jewish Theological Seminary and was selected among 50 rabbis to participate in the inaugural class of the Kellogg School of Rabbinic Management at Northwestern University. In 2013, Rabbi Kirshner was appointed to the New Jersey-Israel Commission by Governor Chris Christie and was re-appointed in 2018, by Governor Phil Murphy. Additionally, Rabbi Kirshner is the Immediate Past President of the NJ Board of Rabbis, sits on the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet, and holds a seat on the Executive Committee of the JFNA and serves on the board of the Leffell School in Westchester, NY. He was recently asked to serve as a Rabbinic Advisor to the Shalom Hartman Institute . Since 2009, Rabbi Kirshner was appointed to the National Council of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and in 2013, he graduated as a Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.

Rabbi Kirshner has written articles for many media sources and is regularly published in the Jewish Standard, the Bergen Record, Haaretz, The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post and the New York Times and has been featured on national radio and television programs including Good Morning America, CBS, CNBC, WABC, WNBC, NPR, The Last Word, with Laurence O’Donnell Nightline, MSNBC, Al Jazeera and Faith to Faith.

Rabbi Kirshner holds a BA degree from York University in Toronto, Canada and earned an MA in Hebrew Letters and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Kirshner is married to Dori Frumin Kirshner. They have two children.

Mel Berwin is a lifelong Jewish learner and educator. She serves as Director of Congregational Learning at Congregation Neveh Shalom in Portland, OR. She leads workshops and writes resources for Blue Dove Foundation, bringing together her passion for Jewish education and conversations around mental health. She is a mom to three young adults. In her free time, you can find her communing with herons in Oregon’s beautiful wetlands.

Ruby Falk is a compassionate couples therapist, dedicated to helping couples navigate the challenges of grief together. After experiencing the shocking loss of her dad, she pursued a master’s degree in counseling with a focus on marriage and family therapy from the University of Colorado – Denver. Ruby brings a robust understanding of family systems to her therapy practice as well as a deep sense of empathy for the human experience.

Beyond her private practice, Ruby is the co-host of the podcast I Love My Baby, and…, where she offers a good balance between therapeutic insight and “a whole lot of validation” for the parenting experience.

A partner of and contributor to the Blue Dove Foundation, Ruby resides just outside Denver with her husband, two wonderful daughters and dog Luna.

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