Times have changed
“Life moves faster these days than it ever did before. Technology speeds everything up and also provides easy access to addictive and destructive sites. The news never stops flashing before our eyes and it’s never about the chesed and goodness around us, it always focuses on what’s bad and worrying. This all feeds anxiety. When I unplug my devices on Erev Shabbos, I feel a weight comes off my shoulders as I prepare to focus on connecting with family and Hashem. But when teenagers disconnect, suddenly they feel isolated from their friends. For a teen, there is nothing worse. Now Covid-19 has only increased that sense of isolation. With families cooped up under the same roof without any outlet, we are seeing an increase in rage ranging from more arguments and yelling between siblings or spouses all the way to domestic abuse.”
Emotional distress has an enormous impact on community rabbis
“Much of what community rabbis do is dealing with crises. They serve as the first line of defense for their congregations. There’s always a range of issues that can come up- from an arrest for drunk driving to an eating disorder. Covid-19 has exacerbated underlying issues that were never dealt with, and now these issues surface. Illness, bereavement, financial burdens, family stress- this all takes a tremendous emotional toll on rabbis. Rabbis need compassion to do their job, it’s essential. But they also need training on how to handle these situations. Some rabbis get trained at rabbinic school, but not all. Rabbis are first responders, but they should not play the role of social workers or therapists. They need to know how and when to recommend congregants to professionals for help.”
Why I support Kav L’Noar
“My heart is touched by all sorts of charities and it’s impossible to support them all, though they are doing good work. Emotional, psychological and trauma disabilities are hard to adapt to or to heal from, they can scar a child, teen, or adult for life. I witnessed the fantastic work that Kav L’Noar does with distressed families with children and teens on the edge of despair. I learned that kids and teens come to emotional support programs because bourekas are served and it is hard for their financially strained families to come up with the money for food. I was immediately struck with how easy it is to give a little that could make a difference as to whether a child or teen chooses to attend a life-changing experience. From that time on I chose to become a donor and help Kav L’Noar. Donations small or large can go a long way at Kav L’Noar. Some of these children and teens are victimized by the circumstances that they are born into. Kav L’Noar helps them to rise above their unfortunate circumstances and saves their lives. Those of you reading this newsletter have probably come in contact with Kav L’Noar in one way or another. I hope you will join me in your continuous support of their wonderful work. As the Talmud teaches us, “One who saves even one life saves the world.” Who would not want to fulfill that dictum?
”Rabbi Ronald Schwarzberg is the Director of the Morris and Gertrude Bienenfeld Department of Jewish Career Development and Placement, a division of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF). In this capacity, he has placed many hundreds of RIETS and RCA rabbis in their positions and is a source of ongoing advice and support for them. Rabbi Schwarzberg was formerly the Senior Rabbi at Congregation Ahavas Achim in Highland Park, New Jersey. In 2018, Rabbi Shwarzberg ran for Kav L’Noar at the Jerusalem Marathon, as part of the Rabbis Can Run Program, and has been a friend and a supporter of Kav L’Noar ever since.