Confessions from the Edge of a Cliff: My Teen Mental Health Journey
By Dani, an 11th grader on eJewishPhilanthropy
Talk loudly and talk a lot, because communication is first step on the path to healing.
Hope is a powerful thing. Hope inspires change. Hope – hatikva – is the reason our Jewish people have survived and thrived in this hostile world for so long. Hope is the ability to look past the darkness of the present and see a brighter future. But when a person loses hope, loses that ability to imagine an eventuality in which anything could ever be alright, it becomes difficult to go on.
I know this because I barely survived four years living without hope. For those four years, I was stuck alone in a dark, empty room, seriously contemplating just getting up and checking out before I realized that those who loved me – my friends, my parents, my rabbis – were only a phone call away. It is an experience I would not wish on anyone, and one I wish never to repeat.
My Nickname Was Retard: How I Survived Bullying
by JerusalemU.org for aish.com
With no friends and no future in sight, Ben cried himself to sleep at night, even contemplating suicide. But then he had a revelation that changed everything.
“When everyone else has given up on you, it’s hard not to give up on yourself.” Ben is a fighter. And there are others out there. People who seem so ordinary - yet contain a hidden greatness. Watch the rest of Jerusalem U’s Hear Me Roar series, and meet young Jewish heroes who have overcome staggering obstacles to reveal their inner strength. Support Bullying Prevention Month, World Day of Bullying Prevention, National Stop Bullying Day, and Anti-Bullying Day - let’s put an end to bullying!
The prize of postponing your lives for one year
By Inbal Arieli for Israel21c
On top of military service, many Israeli teens do a year of volunteering or preparatory studies. It’s a valuable transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Educators in countries without compulsory military service often ask me, “How can we create a stronger connection between youth and community? How can we teach them responsibility and accountability?”
They assume that compulsory military service in Israel inspires these characteristics. I don’t adhere to this assumption. I believe other Israeli frameworks that target positive causes enable these characteristics and can serve as models to replicate. They do, however, come with a price: postponing life for a year. But is it a price, or is it actually a prize?
An IDF Program for Teens on the Autism Spectrum
By Leora Eren Frucht for Hadassah Magazine
In the nerve center of the Israel Defense Forces known as The Kirya, 10 soldiers are sitting in front of computer screens perusing aerial photographs.
There is nothing especially noteworthy about the sight of these recruits at work in an intelligence unit inside this sprawling Tel Aviv base. Which makes the scene all the more remarkable, since all of the young men are on the autism spectrum.
Why I’ve Decided to Join a Synagogue
BY SOFI HERSHER for ReformJudaism.org
When I was 9 years old, I watched several large sections of my synagogue burn to the ground. It was 1999, and Sacramento, California, was in the midst of a spree of white supremacist violence that would claim the lives of two gay men, and see fires set to several synagogues and a local abortion clinic. I can still smell the smoke.
In times such as these, it is not just buildings that are damaged. Acts of hate damage our minds and our bodies, our individual and collective sense of security, our identity, and our place in the world. Back then, the entire congregation, as well as large swaths of the greater community, came together to rebuild. Events were held to reject discrimination; a hate crimes task force was launched; a library was remade. In many ways, Sacramento became a better place to live than it was before. In the aftermath of destruction, came collaboration and solidarity and hope.