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The REAL Mental Health Initiative is made possible by a grant from the Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation.

Maintaining Well-Being
Learn More
Favorite Links
Community Resources
Practices to Help Mental Health
Past Speakers and Events

Maintaining Well-Being, Connection, and Joy


REAL Support: Living with our Mental Health Challenges
On Hold till further notice!

​This ​peer-facilitated weekly support group to connect with each other as we live with our own mental health issues on the journey of recovery. Join us to share our struggles and triumphs. You are not alone. Together, we will build a safe place to speak about our experiences and to share from our hearts.  For more information - email

REAL Support for Grief and Loss- Coming Soon

This group will provide a safe space to support each other through this difficult process.  This group is for those who have lost a partner/spouse and are  in the early stages of grief.   This peer-led group will meet weekly, outdoors and in person.  Day and time to be determined by participants.  To find out more contact congregant Patti Blumin at

Weekly Programs at Rodef Sholom

Morning Mindfulness with Rabbi Stacy Friedman
Tuesdays at 8:30am 
To participate by phone, dial 1-669-900-6833 and enter meeting ID  885 1932 9870 and Passcode 059879 at the prompts.

Start your week with a quiet moment. 

Morning Minyan
Wednesdays at 9am

To participate by phone, dial 1-669-900-6833 and enter meeting ID  849 6999 3845 at the prompt.
Passcode: 091329.
A chance to share moments of gratitude, healing prayers and navigate grief through saying kaddish together.

Morning Mindfulness with Sylvia Boorstein and Clergy 
Thursdays at 8:30am
To participate by phone, dial 1-669-900-6833 and enter meeting ID 843 2180 0607 at the prompt.
Passcode 259297.
A guided meditation from a Jewish perspective.

Strings of Holiness with Sharon Lebell Playing Hammered Dulcimer
Fridays at 8:30am

Join us on Facebook.
A half hour of music and meditation.

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Ongoing Community Events

Interactive Parenting Classes and Online Workshops 
Get expert guidance concerning everything from behavior and temperament, to discipline and limit-setting, to separation and divorce, while connecting with other parents. Presented by the Center for Children and Youth (a Division of Jewish Family and Children’s Services). Click here to find classes.

Isolation and Finding Connection
Second and fourth Tuesdays, 2:00–3:30pm 

Hosted by Buckelew Programs-Sonoma
This is an online education and support group about isolation, and connection. This series aims at providing tools and coping skills to navigate feelings of isolation. Email to receive the zoom link. 
SOS Allies for Hope. Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Group
Second and fourth Wednesday monthly at 7:00 pm

Contact 415-492-0614 to get a Zoom link or email

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Learn More

Striving to End the Stigma of Mental Illness in Our Jewish Community

The Mental Health Initiative has influenced the beginning of many changes in our congregation over the past year. People are coming forward and participating in activities, sharing their personal experiences, and meeting to address and improve our caring community. To assist us with this work, we have hired a Mental Health Initiative Program Coordinator, JoAnne Forman, to work with the clergy, staff and congregation to collaborate on ways to end the stigma and shame around the issue of mental illness.

Important Reading/Resources

Why Stigma Reduction Matters to All of Us
The mission of our REAL Mental Health Initiative is:  Striving to end the stigma and isolation of mental illness in our Jewish community.  Over the last year, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what stigma means and why it’s so important that we identify and work to end it.

Approximately 1 in 5 people experiences a mental illness in a given year. Stop and think about what that means: How many people are in your family, or your group of friends? Chances are you, or someone you care about, has faced a mental health challenge this year. In our congregation of nearly 2,000 adults, statistically almost 400 of our fellow community members are likely affected by a mental health issue.

What we know from research is that with treatment and support, 70-90% of people with mental health challenges report an improved quality of life. But stigma makes it difficult for people to reach out for that support; leading to an increased chance of school dropout, difficulty finding or keeping employment, or feelings of isolation and reluctance to engage fully with our religious and spiritual community.

When Rabbi Stacy Friedman gave her 2014 Kol Nidre sermon about mental health, she made a promise that Rodef Sholom would “work to create a safer place for more people to come out from behind the shadows and find the support and care they need to go on with their lives.” Rabbi Friedman also forged the way for Rodef Sholom to start having open and honest conversations about mental health and mental illness. These are the conversations that break down barriers, help family and friends learn how to support each other, and encourage community members to reach out to others.

Stigma reduction happens when we all come together to fight against it - whether we suffer from mental illness, love someone who does, or simply care about being an ally to the cause. By uniting together to reduce the stigma of mental illness we are creating change - strengthening our community, changing the system, and helping to make Rodef Sholom a safe place where everyone - no matter what - feels welcome and comfortable.

To get involved in the REAL Mental Health Initiative or for more information, please contact me at or 415.479.3441 

JoAnne Forman
REAL Mental Health Initiative Program Coordinator

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Favorite Links

For Parents

  • Rainbows in Windows is a children's book about sheltering in place and the feelings that come along with that, and has an art activity that kids and families can do, it's been helpful for some of my families with younger ones.
  • Right now, I am fine - This book explains what you can do to keep your mind and body calm now and during any hard time.

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Community Resources

  • Emergency Numbers and Resources 
  • If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call 988
  • Marin County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services offers prevention and early intervention, suicide prevention and crisis services to all residents of Marin County.
  • The Marin County Crisis Stabilization Unit can be reached at (415) 473-6666.
  • Marin County's Mental Health and Substance Use Access and Assessment can be reached at (888) 818-1115. 

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Proven Practices to Support Your Overall Health and Well-Being 

  • Maintain a daily schedule and routine.
  • Try your best to eat healthy.
  • Limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep.
  • While staying up to date on the news is important, give yourself a break from the constant flow of information.
  • Take time every day to turn the tv off and put your phone down.
  • If you can, take a walk or give yourself a few minutes to sit in your yard or patio.

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Past Speakers and Events

Tuesday, January 19
REAL Discussion with Ronit Matabuena-Lev, MA

Tuesday, February 2
7pm Chaos2… Raising Sexually Healthy Teens in an Unhealthy Time with Ronit Matabuena-Lev, MA

Tuesday, February 23
7pm Self-Care and Taking in the Good to Combat Stressors during Covid-19/Remote Learning with Gina M. Biegel, LMFT

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Tue, March 28 2023 6 Nisan 5783