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REAL Mental Health Initiative


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

May is Mental Health Awareness Month 

Special Events for May

Maintaining Well-Being

Community Events in May


Learn More

Favorite Links

Community Resources

Practices to Help Mental Health

Past Speakers and Events


Rebroadcast—Letting the Light In: An Open Conversation About Identity, Celebrity, and Mental Health
Mayim Bialik with Anita Friedman
Sunday, May 2 at 11:00am Click here to register
Wednesday, May 5 at 7:00pm Click here to register

Mayim Bialik, PhD, uses her celebrity platform and her Jewish values to get funny, honest, and real about the things that matter most. This intimate and timely conversation with Dr. Anita Friedman on Jewish identity, life in the spotlight, and the pandemic’s impact on mental health will shed light on what we all can do to take care of our community, our loved ones, and ourselves. Hosted by JFCS, in partnership with REAL at Rodef Sholom

Tuesday, May 4 at 7:00pm
Suicide Prevention Awareness for Parents and Teens

One of the most tragic impacts of Covid-19 is the alarming increase of suicides among kids and teens. Join us for this vital conversation with Tim Lea, Suicide Prevention Outreach Director at Buckelew Programs in Marin County to learn how to recognize the signs that your child—or one of their friends—might be thinking about suicide and what to do about your concerns. Parents will learn how to approach your teen and how to make and implement a safety plan with them. Teens welcome.
Click HERE to register and receive the ZOOM link.

Tuesday, May 18 
7pm, Lori Gottlieb in conversation with Rabbi Elana Rosen-Brown

Through her massively popular book Maybe You Should Talk to Someone—now being adapted for television by Eva Longoria—and her viral new TED talk, Gottlieb shows us that vulnerability isn’t a weakness, and that our external circumstances don’t have to dictate our lives... we can consciously create meaning anywhere—at work, at home, and in relationships.

Join us to hear Lori talk about how connection, making changes, being kind to ourselves and others, and how revising our stories can drastically improve our lives.

Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and author of the New York Times bestseller Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, which is being adapted as a television series. In addition to her clinical practice, she writes The Atlantic’s weekly “Dear Therapist” advice column and contributes regularly to The New York Times and many other publications. Her recent TED Talk is one of the top 10 most watched of the year. She is a sought-after expert in media such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, The CBS This Morning, CNN, and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” She is also the co-host of the new podcast, “Dear Therapists,” produced by Katie Couric.

This event is free, virtual, and open to the public.  Please register with Eventbrite to receive the zoom link.

Friday, May 21 at 6:15pm
Mental Health Shabbat

Join us as we honor the challenging year we've all experienced, grieve our losses and celebrate our resilience and connections.  


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Maintaining Well-Being, Connection, and Joy


REAL Parent Support
First Tuesday of the month (ongoing), 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Upcoming Meetings: May 4, June 1

REAL Parent Support is a monthly group for parents of adult children who struggle. Join us to connect, support each other and share strategies for self-care. Email to receive the zoom link.

Morning Mindfulness with Rabbi Stacy Friedman
Tuesdays at 8:30am 
Join us on Facebook.
Start your week with a quiet moment. 

Morning Minyan
Wednesdays at 9:00am
ZOOM. 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
Thursdays at 8:30am
ZOOM. 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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Mental Health Month Community Events

NAMI Marin Storytelling Series
Tuesdays at 3:00pm beginning in May 
Register here to get the link . A five-part series featuring people with lived experience with mental health challenges.

JFCS Atlanta and The Wellness Institute present: A Live Interview with Gary Gulman of The Great Depresh on HBO about his personal struggle with depression and anxiety. 
Friday, May 7, 9:00am
Join The Wellness Institute and Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta and for an hour of laughter, vulnerability, and candid inspiration with Gary Gulman of the HBO Comedy special, The Great Depresh. Gary will be interviewed by Jill Harkavy-Friedman (American Foundation of Suicide Prevention) about his journey with anxiety and depression and how he overcame using his talent for comedy. Click here to register.

Breaking the Silence: A Conversation with Men and Boys About Mental Health
Thursday, May 13, 5:00pm
Leaders across the life span from Marin share ways they cope with distress and thoughts they have for engaging men and boys in our community for improved well-being. Click here to register.

Building a Safe Community For Older Adults in Marin: A Suicide Prevention Training
Monday, May 24, 2:00pm
Kara Connors, MPH, BHRS, will share how to care, respond and connect an older adult to support. Click here to register

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Ongoing Community Events

Dynamic, Interactive Parenting Classes and Workshops online
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.

High School Student Wellness Series 2021
Click here for more information.
This speaker series, designed for high school students,  will engage students through a variety of topics from emotional intelligence, anxiety, pressure, and leadership to substance use, LGBTQ+, digital wellness, and mindfulness.
Each session is meant to support our high school students during these unprecedented times. Brought to you through a collaboration with a Marin County high school student leadership group and various local community based organizations.

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 x3011.

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 911.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at (800) 273-8255
  • 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
Self-Care and Taking in the Good to Combat Stressors during Covid-19/Remote Learning  with Gina M. Biegel, LMFT



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Thu, August 5 2021 27 Av 5781