No one but a deeply disturbed individual marches into an elementary school or a movie theater and guns down random innocent people.
That hard fact drives in public longing for a mental health system that produces clear warning signals and can somehow stop the violence. And it is now fueling a surge in legislative activity, in Washington and New York.
New York State legislators on Tuesday passed a gun bill that would require therapists to report to the authorities any client thought to be “likely to engage in” violent behavior; under the law, the police would confiscate any weapons the person had. Read more →
In light of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday this month, I want to reflect on how our COR (Confronting Organizational Racism) Initiative came to be and where it’s heading.
COR got its start in the 1980s, when JBFCS realized that there was a mismatch between the profiles of our clients and the staff who were serving them. The question arose on how staff could understand the background of our clients without reflecting that background themselves. The demographics of New York City were changing and there was a need to change the demographics of our staff as well. Feelings about race were challenging, and Alan Siskind recognized that those feelings needed to be validated and tended to.
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Today and the next few days
With unspeakable shock and sadness, I extend our thoughts and prayers to all those in the Sandy Hook community and their families.
I know many of you are now searching for ways to process the information that is coming out - for yourselves and your own children and families. Dr. Paula G. Panzer, our Chief of Clinical and Medical Services, has made some recommendations and provided some additional resources that I will share with you here.
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To all our JBFCS staff who lightened the load for others while carrying their own - thank you.
To all our JBFCS staff who managed to look beyond these dark days and share a brightness to come with others - thank you.
To all our JBFCS staff who put hope way out ahead of despair - thank you.
I am filled with gratitude this Thanksgiving, and deeply aware of all those people it takes to make a village called JBFCS.
Both A Time of Introspection and Renewal
As the end of summer approaches, I look ahead to the fall and upcoming Jewish New Year, a time of introspection and renewal. This year, the Jewish New Year coincides with National Recovery Month, and the underlining themes are intertwined. It is indeed a time to celebrate strengths and triumphs as individuals, as an agency, as a community--and a time to look within. Read more →
February Observations from Paul Levine
On February 8th I was asked to make some remarks at a UJA-Federation event focused on the state of poverty today and how UJA-Fed agencies are facing this issue. The occasion was a special event at the Jewish Museum commemorating photography done during the Depression of the 1930s by a group of young photographers who were blending their view of the real condition of Americans during the depression and advocacy. Their focus was social justice and this was one of the first groups that went to hard hit communities in New York City to record the experience of the Depression. It was one of the first times that photos were taken, for example, in communities of color such as Harlem.
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