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Resource Category: High Holy Days

L’SHANAH TOVAH TIKATEIVU V’TEICHATEIMU

With last year in the rearview mirror, and (we hope) a brighter new year on the horizon, we can see the impact of mental health on our lives more and more. As the new year begins, let us reaffirm our commitment to mental health and wellness for both ourselves and our communities.

A conversation on mental health can bring forth powerful connections with the potential to save someone’s life. To help start people talking, we created these resources for individuals to reflect upon and improve their own mental health as well as to contribute to the mental wellness of the entire Jewish community as we look forward to a sweet new year.

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 Kippurthe day of atonement, can be a challenging subject for a lot of people. For some, it is a chance to make resolutions, accept the past, and commit 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.

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Rosh Hashanah is an exciting time of year. It’s a chance to reflect on our past and set our intentions and goals for our future. This opportunity for growth and achievement can be thrilling. But for people who didn’t think they would make it to the new year — because they were struggling with suicidal ideation, survived an attempted suicide, or went through a traumatic experience that left them emotionally drained — entering the synagogue and facing the prospect of a new year can be overwhelming. In those moments that feel daunting, we need to reorient ourselves, breathe, and pause. In other words, we need Rosh Hashanah.
For most adults, these are uncomfortable but benign practices whose pain is quickly forgotten when the fast is over. Unfortunately, the experience of fasting can be much more challenging for someone struggling with disordered eating...
A cheshbon hanefesh is an analysis of the ways in which we can do and be better to ourselves (which, of course, can have an impact on the world around us). It provides a benchmark by which we can measure our progress and see if our goals have changed, and it allows us to think about how best to move forward based on what has worked and what hasn’t. Give it a try!
Personal responsibilities and mental wellness may seem like different conversations. After all, the world is seeing record levels of burnout, anxiety and exhaustion — partially resulting from our overwhelming lifestyles, neverending to-do lists and unforgiving schedules. So how could adding more responsibilities improve things? How could having additional duties benefit our mental health?