Mental Health Programming

Lecture on Mental Health by Rabbi Shalom Hammer 

On June 7th,  the International Young Israel Movement in cooperation with the Jewish Agency  hosted a lecture entitled: Gila’s way: Lessons to learn regarding the value of life by Rabbi Hammer. The main focus of the lecture was mental health and suicide awareness. Many  gathered to listen to Rabbi Hammer  as he shared his personal experience on this topic. His daughter, Gila, died by suicide in 2019. The audience gained coping tools and deeper insight on this vital topic.  Everyone left the evening enlightened and filled with life lessons they can implement.  

Mental Health First Aid Course 

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the initial help given to someone who is developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional support is received or until the crises resolves.

The Youth MHFA course is taught by Rabbi Shalom Hammer is a 14-hour course that teaches anyone who deals with youth 18 years and younger, how to assist young adults/teens who are developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. Usually 4 modules, each  3 ½  hours – or can be multi modules providing the course does not exceed 30 days.

Participants will learn the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and what sort of help has been shown by research to be effective. They will learn a framework for communication, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person towards appropriate treatments and other supportive help.

The course format caters for all learning styles with opportunities to participate, discuss scenarios and practice skills via interactive exercises. Our instructors provide a comfortable learning environment and are trained to support your participation and learning.

Course participants receive a copy of the MHFA manual guide and certification as a Mental Health First Aid(er) upon completion.

Course content is derived from a number of consensus studies incorporating the expertise of hundreds of researchers, clinicians, service user advocates and career advocates across the western world. The program has been extensively evaluated and found to be effective in improving mental health literacy, reducing stigma, increasing helping behaviors and improving participants’ own mental health. These evaluations have been carried out in the workplace and community settings.

Israel is the 29th country worldwide to offer and license MHFA.

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Workshops  for  families and couples to gain tools and practical tips on how to navigate post- corona family life. 

The module is entitled: Hybrid Life: how to mix pre-corona norms with post-corona insights

The workshops are facilitated by

Rachel Weinstein, Clinical Social Worker Grief and Bereavement Counseling

Aliyah Transition and Adjustment

LGBTQ+ Support

The workshops start in August and will be taught in English in Beit Shemesh

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Meet The Directors

Rabbi Shalom Hammer

Rabbi Shalom Hammer lives in Israel now 31 years with his wife Gabi, his children and grandchildren. He serves as a motivational lecturer and presenter in the Israeli army for the educational branch, Jewish Identity branch, and the Netiv conversion course of the IDF.

Eight years ago he founded and remains the director of Makom Meshutaf (Unified Place), which offers non-denominational and non-coercive Jewish educational programming throughout Israel’s Pre Military Academies and Kibbutzim. Makom Meshutaf also promotes dialogue and cooperation between the different denominations of Judaism in Israel and is now under the auspices of the World Mizrachi organization.

Rabbi Hammer has authored five books, and is a renowned guest lecturer for communities throughout Israel and the Diaspora including USA, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Canada and Hong Kong.

In 2019 Shalom’s daughter, Gila, died by suicide. He decided to turn his tragic loss into a means of helping others in crisis, in Gila’s memory. He became a certified MHFA (MEntal Health First Aid) instructor and was the first person to deliver the course in Israel. He also developed a series of presentations called “Gila’s Way”, through which he advocates for mental health awareness and educates regarding suicide prevention. These presentations have been delivered to the University of South Africa, MDA - Magen David Adom paramedic course, the graduating nurses class of Ichilov Hospital Tel Aviv, as well as communities throughout Israel, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Rabbi Hammer offers his presentations and the MHFA through Young Israel of Israel as well.

Rachel Weinstein

Rachel Weinstein is a licensed clinical social worker from Brooklyn and Chicago and holds a B.A. in Psychology from Stern College and a Master's in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has worked with children and adults in residential psychiatric facilities, schools for the developmentally disabled, nursing homes, hospitals, and hospices. She has extensive experience in grief and bereavement support and is passionate about working with LGBTQ individuals and their families within the Orthodox and greater Jewish community. She strongly believes that everyone has a story that needs to be told and that all of us deserve to be heard.

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