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Coronavirus Mental and Emotional Support Resources

CJP Warmline:

If you’re in financial distress, we’re here to help. Call the CJP Warmline today at 1-800-CJP-9500.

Letter from Rabbi Samuels 3.16.2020:

One of the most difficult parts of being a rabbi is working with people to accept the help that they might need. I am appealing to our members, especially those in higher-risk categories based on age or other medical conditions, but also those with other vulnerabilities, to not endanger themselves and work with the social-support services that our amazing shul community has been developing, such as shopping and grocery/pharmacy deliveries and social connectivity. Please stay tuned for more information to appear shortly.

Equally important, please let me (RBS) know if you are experiencing any level of financial distress. I am not referring to investment-value loss, however painful. I am referring to the ability to buy life's essentials like food and household goods; pay housing-related bills; or equip yourself with the necessary technology (computer, ipad, internet service) to live and work at home. Please do not wait to contact me until you are in crisis!!! The gemara teaches (Tamid 32a): "Who is wise? Ha-Ro'eh et haNolad - someone who sees realities yet to come." I have a Rabbi's Discretionary Fund that is set up to help members who need financial support, whether as a gift, or as a short-term or long-term loan. At this time, before Pesach, when both Pesach needs and general stocking-up exert greater financial pressure, please make a financial needs self-assessment (yes, in this situation you may buy chometz for your pantry stores with intent to sell it for Pesach). You can reach me by email. All requests will be held with confidentiality. 

Another category of great need is emotional support. I cannot emphasize enough how dangerous protracted social isolation can be, especially when occurring during the holiday season (Pesach) - a time when connection to friends and family is so valued and anticipated. Long Shabbatot and Yamim Tovim for people living alone in virtual semi-quarantine, and even for empty-nest couples, can prove to be exceedingly difficult.  Anxiety and Depression often arrive unannounced, and it is often difficult for people to understand that they have moved from emotional wellbeing to a depressive state, especially when we are all in crisis. I stand ready to come up with helpful paths that have halakhic integrity and comport with public health and safety standards to ease this feeling of isolation on Shabbat and Yom Tov. Please contact me with any and all questions! For weekdays, our amazing Shaarei team are also devising a buddy system to connect us interpersonally through the wonders of technology and safe "socially distant" practices. Stay tuned for more information. And, if you find your mental health is being compromised, please be as aggressive seeking mental health professional help as you would be for physical health!

Lastly, this is a time to increase our tefillot and Torah study. We are still transforming our shul into a virtual space, learning the technology, and devising our program. Our Emunah (faith in God) is an equal partner to our histadlut (human efforts). And we must also care for and cultivate our spiritual health. Stay tuned for more informaiton to come shortly on these developments as well.

Thank you for letting us help you, but more importantly, thank you for helping yourself.

We all have a role to play during this time of Mageifah (plague) and societal challenge. And people on the receiving end in the ways mentioned above in this email, can also be on the giving end in other ways as the need for partnership in all our endeavors is great!

Rav Benjie

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Wed, May 5 2021 23 Iyyar 5781