Monday, June 17, 2019

The Jewish Center of Teaneck is hosting two events in the coming weeks to promote awareness of, and sensitivity to, specific issues facing the community. Rabbi Daniel Fridman, spiritual leader of JCOT, is excited to showcase the organizations that will be presenting, and hopes that by addressing these topics, the sense of isolation that many feel will be alleviated and a sense of community promoted.

“A congregant, who is a mental health professional, asked about bringing in Yesh Tikva,” said Rabbi Fridman. “Our community is so family-centered and that often makes it painful for those who are having a difficult time with life-cycle issues. We rightly celebrate life-cycle events, but each celebration is painful for the people who are struggling. We need to deepen our sensitivity, and bringing in Yesh Tikva will bring awareness to at least one aspect of these issues: infertility.”

This Tuesday, October 16, at 8 p.m.,there will be a Yesh Tikva presentation titled “Infertility: Raising Awareness and Breaking the Stigma.” Following last year’s successful model, there will be a first-person account—given by someone who has struggled with infertility—as well as a presentation by a mental health professional. This will provide the audience with an opportunity to empathize as well as learn concrete steps that can be taken to raise awareness and their own sensitivity to this difficult issue.

Elie Salomon, one of the co-founders of Yesh Tikva, will speak about her personal struggles with infertility and what led her to found an organization that supports couples facing these challenges and helps raise awareness about infertility in the community.

Dr. Talia Hindin, a psychologist who coordinates Yesh Tivka’s “Fertility Friends” mentorship program, will discuss various topics regarding infertility, including the mental health implications and Yesh Tikva’s services. She will also address how a community can be more sensitive about infertility in its speech and actions.

“We need to become more comfortable talking about these issues in the broader sense. It relieves the sense of isolation that many people feel,” commented Rabbi Fridman. “Hopefully this will be part of a larger series that will touch on all topics of this nature.”

Following this event, on Tuesday, October 23, also at 8 p.m., JCOT will host a presentation by Hinam, The Center for Social Tolerance. Hinam is an organization devoted to furthering understanding among the different social and cultural groups in Israel. It promotes tolerance among all sectors and societies that exist within Israeli culture, and strives to promote sensitivity to the different cultures and their unique characteristics. In short, it tries to create a more harmonious society in Israel by bringing all people together.

Hinam is currently in the U.S. in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of Diaspora communities and to share its philosophy with Diaspora Jewry. Rabbi Fridman believes this cultural exposure is vital to our connection to the State of Israel.

“We want to get a sense of what is going on culturally in the modern State of Israel,” he said. “It is important that we tone down polarizing attitudes and recognize that people with divergent backgrounds have formed deep bonds.”

The Hinam presenters will be individuals representing different backgrounds within Israeli society—religious, economic, cultural, social and more—who have come to know and respect one another, because of and in spite of their obvious differences. This presentation will promote sensitivity on a humanistic level, showing how different people relate and come to a place of mutual respect.

For more information on either presentation, please call the shul office at 201-833-0515, email [email protected] or visit jcot.org. The Jewish Center of Teaneck is located at 70 Sterling Place. The entrance is by the ramp on Sterling Place.

By Jill Kirsch