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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

NEFESH International is pleased to announce its upcoming 23rd Annual Conference that will take place from December 12 to 15 at the Hyatt Regency in Hauppauge, Long Island. New this year is a complimentary program Wednesday evening, December 11, to kick off the conference.

NEFESH International is the world’s leading association of Jewish Orthodox mental health professionals; it is an interdisciplinary organization providing leadership and education in the field of personal, family and community mental health. Its diverse members are Torah-observant psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, psychiatric nurses, chemical dependency counselors, psychotherapists, guidance and pastoral counselors and graduate students. Affiliates include Orthodox rabbis, Jewish educators, attorneys and allied professionals.

For NEFESH members, the Annual Conference is the highlight of the year. This event brings together members from all over the world in an incredible display of achdut. This solidarity among attendees is epitomized by the Shabbat ruach that unites Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Chassidim and Litvish/Yeshivish. The energy begins with the spirited Carlebach niggunim of kabbalat Shabbat and ending with the emotional, musical havdalah. The melaveh malka is an opportunity for attendees to relax and enjoy music, dancing and delicious food. All of this is in addition to the many and varied workshops presented by experts in their respective fields over the course of several days that make up the conference.

Since attendees of the conference are such a diverse group, the conference program and schedule provide times for early professionals, as well as first-time attendees, to meet each other. These sessions are facilitated by NEFESH board members and more experienced NEFESH members to help newcomers to the conference and the mental health profession feel welcome and comfortable in a huge crowd of seasoned professionals.

Seasoned professionals can also look forward to greeting old friends and meeting new ones. For many, the best part of the conference is the networking because it is an opportunity to connect with colleagues and other professionals.

Conference chairs Lisa Twerski, LCSW and Chaim Sender, LCSW put together more than 45 workshops presented by renowned experts in their respective fields to address numerous important issues of interest to mental health and related professionals.

The following are just a few of the many presentations:

Binyamin Tepfer, Psy.D, CSAT-S, CMAT, will present “Making Sense of Money: Understanding and Treating Pathological Gambling, Underearning, Spending, and other Financial Disorders.” David Katzenstein, DSW, LCSW -R, will present “Sexual Abuse Prevention: Why We’re Still Getting It Wrong.” Doctors Shalom Feinberg, Naalla Schreiber, Sharon Nachman, Joseph Goldberg and Howard Forman will present “Contemporary Controversial Issues in Psychiatry: Facts and Misconceptions.”

Some of the other presenters include Laura Barbanel, Ed.D, ABPP, fellow of the American Psychological Association, David Pelcovitz, Ph.D, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Evelyn Rappoport, Psy.D, Somatic Experience Practitioner and Tal E. Weinberger MD, Thomas Jefferson University Department of Psychiatry.

NEFESH is very pleased that well-known speaker and writer, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (YY) Jacobson, will be joining as a scholar-in-residence for Shabbat to address the conference attendees. In addition, Rabbi Avrohom Union, MA, of the Rabbinical Council of California, and morah d’asra, Harav Dovid Cohen, will also address attendees.

NEFESH International presents a yearly award for outstanding contributions to mental health in the Torah community. NEFESH is pleased to announce that this year’s recipient will be Mrs. Faye Wilbur, LCSW. Wilbur is deputy director of Jewish communal services at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. Prior to that served as the director of the Boro Park JBFCS and coordinator of family violence services to the Jewish community. Long before it became a more universally recognized problem, Faye was active in the treatment and prevention of sexual abuse and partner violence in our midst, while advocating for the needs of victimized members of our community.

Last year’s award recipient was Rabbi Shie Pasternak of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Other past recipients of the award include Sendy Orenstein, founder of Relief Resources, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski, Dr. David Pelcovitz, Moishe Wangrofsky, LCSW, David Mandel of Ohel, Dr. Judith Guedalia, z”l, Dr Mordechai Glick, past president of NEFESH, Debbie Fox, LCSW and Rabbi Ronnie Greenwald, z”l.

The conference is open to mental health professionals, doctors, rabbis and educators who will benefit from the many educational opportunities that are offered. Clinicians who need CE credits will be able to sign up and receive them. A record number of up to 26 CEUs can be earned this year! CMEs are available to MDs, PAs, and NPs.

This year’s conference will be catered by Elite under KAJ hashgacha. Elite has catered the event for the past few years and has done an outstanding job.

To register and get more details about the many workshops, please visit www.NEFESH.org