May 24, 2024
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May 24, 2024
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Yoeztet Event Accurately Described

The reason the Yoetzet Event was called “community-wide” is not “complicated” at all (“Yoatzot: Both ‘Strongly Opposed’ and ‘Warmly Welcomed’ in the Teaneck Community,” August 13, 2015). Simply:

The event was open to all women in the community.

The event was attended by hundreds of women from a large cross-section of the community, representing many more than the few shuls that officially sponsored it.

Although some segments of the community may not be supportive, many women are voting with their feet and their cell phones.

Ellen Krischer

Teaneck, NJ

Peer Support Recommended for Depression

Many thanks to Shoval Gur-Aryeh, PhD, for the straightforward and informative review of depressive disorders (“Shining a Spotlight on Depression,” August 13, 2015). I agree, as it has been shown in numerous studies, that a mix of psychotherapy and psychiatric medication most often yield better treatment results for the more severe cases rather than with therapy or medication alone. I would also like to add the importance of peer support interventions, in conjunction with therapy and medication, in helping to reduce the symptoms of any form of depressive disorder.

Peer-led support groups provide individuals who have mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder), as well as their loved ones, with an environment in which they can feel comfortable and safe speaking freely about their day-to-day challenges with mental health. Since these groups are “facilitated” by peers, every attendee can feel at the same “level,” so to speak, as all other attendees, including the facilitator.

Peer support groups have many benefits that may not be found in therapy alone and that cannot be found in medicine:

They offer an alternative to isolation and help foster a sense of real belonging, understanding, and companionship; foster hope and empowerment in an encouraging environment; allow peers in different stages of their illness and recovery to share their most private concerns and feelings in a safe environment; provide a forum for those suffering from the illness to feel heard and find empathy, solace and reassurance; reveal successful experiences with treatment and recovery approaches and important long-term coping strategies; help restore self-respect, self-acceptance and belief in the possibility of getting and staying well; and encourage the motivation and determination required for taking charge of the illness.

Refa’enu, an organization dedicated to providing the Jewish community with education about and support for those affected by depression and related disorders, offers peer-led support groups on the first and third Tuesdays of every month. Groups meet at 7:30 p.m. in the Ben Porat Yosef building at E. 243 Frisch Ct. in Paramus.

There are two groups—one for those with a disorder (depression, bipolar) as well as a group for their loved ones. To confirm meetings and for more information, check out or contact [email protected]

The next meeting is Tuesday, September 1st. No reservations are required.

Dena Cohen

Executive Director


Agus Brings Clarity to Shiva Visits

Dr. Michal Agus Fox’s “Reflections on Shiva” (August 13, 2015) is a valuable read. When my mother passed away over eight years ago, my father, siblings and I were greatly comforted by the outpouring of support we received during shiva. The experience made me truly understand the importance of paying a shiva visit, even to those with whom we are less connected. Dr. Fox’s article brings home that point, and much proper etiquette, to those who are fortunate enough to have not yet experienced mourning firsthand.

Shmuel Cahn

Springfield, NJ

S.A.I.L. Program at Bergen Y Needs New Home

Your August 13th article (“Bergen Y to Redesign and Come Back Stronger”), and August 6th article (“Bergen County YJCC Suspends Programming”), describing the “seamless transition of the S.A.I.L. program” (‘Self-determination, advocacy, independence, living,’ a day habilitation program for adults with special needs) are both inaccurate.

These articles, as written, are doing a tremendous injustice to one of the most vulnerable groups in our community, the participants of the S.A.I.L. program at the YJCC.

Contrary to what is written in both articles, no arrangements have been made to relocate the S.A.I.L. program. Your inaccurate reporting feeds on the complacency of the community, suggesting that all is well because new venues have been found for the programs.

The board of the YJCC did not have the courtesy to provide any specific communications to the S.A.I.L. families who now face a serious disruption in their lives. The families only received news by word of mouth/email between the families. These families are now trying to organize to advocate and find a home for the program.

The greatest task at hand is to find a new home for our S.A.I.L. program and move participants and staff to a state-approved provider with space.

There are 15 participants in the program. They are a diverse group that is very cohesive. Ages range from 21 to 40. Many are extremely high-functioning cognitively and many have very serious physical handicaps. There is no similar adult habilitative program that matches S.A.I.L. in our community.

The summer program ends on August 27th. The group is effectively homeless after that date.

SAIL was scheduled to resume on September 16.

No organization has stepped forward to assist this special program and special participants.

Everyone like to read “feel good” articles in the Jewish Link. Our community likes to be charitable with feel-good organizations and events. It is time to make the entire community aware of this dire situation to help mobilize the necessary action to provide a home for S.A.I.L.

The people in the program are meeting on Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the YJCC.

I hope that you will highlight the plight of S.A.I.L.

Nancy and Larry Bravman

Fair Lawn, NJ

Open Letter To Leaders:
Too Much at Stake in Iran Deal

Dear Senator Booker and Rep. Watson Coleman,

There is too much at stake with the Iran deal to repeat the worst mistakes of the past. The world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism cannot be trusted with the world’s most dangerous weapons, and this deal does not prevent the tyrants in Tehran from getting them.

I am disappointed by the tone that President Obama, his administration and supporters of the deal have taken, calling into question the loyalty of Americans, Jews or others, who oppose the deal. I am disappointed that Al Sharpton has injected race into the issue. Most Americans oppose the deal regardless of race or religion. I hope you will announce your opposition as well.

However, it’s well worth noting that a liberal member of the Congressional Black Caucus agrees. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) announced his opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal.

I know it takes a lot to stand up to the pressure being exerted by the White House, and it is reported that without that, some 80 percent of Congress would vote against the deal. If Rep. Hastings and other Democratic leaders have stood up and opposed the deal, and others are sure to do so as well, I hope that you will stand up and let your voice be heard in opposition as well because the deal is dangerous and bad for America and for NJ.

Jonathan Feldstein

Efrat, Israel

Thank You For Hoops Tournament Coverage

I wanted to thank your paper for the piece it printed on the basketball tournament in memory of Netanel Arami (“Netanel Arami Tournament, This Sunday, July 30, 2015). Thank God we raised over $3,000.

Netanel, H”yd, was murdered following the war last summer, leaving his pregnant wife and two children. His widow gave birth approximately five months ago to their third child. After collecting money to help support the grieving family, Max Kirshblum, Yael Beckerman and I decided to throw a fundraiser. JKHA/RKYHS gave us a great deal to use its two gyms for our 3-on-3 basketball tournament. There was a young men’s and young women’s tournament in the two separate gyms. Local kosher establishments were kind enough to donate prizes for the raffle: A candy platter from Chocolate Works in Livingston, gift cards to Dougies in Teaneck; Sammy’s Bagels in Teaneck and The Doghouse in Teaneck were offered as prizes.

Anyone who would like to help the Arami family can donate or email [email protected] for other options.

All donations are tax deductible and a receipt can be obtained. Max has delivered a good portion of the money raised this past Monday. I will take the remainder of the money to Moriyah when she goes to Israel for the holidays next month.

Brandon Bier

West Orange, NJ

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