Reflections from Rabbi René – Beginnings, Community and Mental Health

A new civil year has started, with its promises for a brighter future. When I started the Ulpan – Modern Hebrew programme – in Jerusalem, our teacher taught us kol ha-hatrachalot kashot, all beginnings are difficult. And yet, she added, it is up to you to make the best of your opportunities. Here at KLS, we have a strong sense of community. Another piece of Israeli wisdom, chaim zeh lo picnic, life is not a picnic, but community helps us to share the burden and to find support.

We are privileged and honoured to welcome this Shabbat Jonny Benjamin, MBE. Jonny is a mental health campaigner. As a young man, he faced dire mental health issues that almost led him to take his life. A stranger on the bridge extended his hand to him and convinced him not to jump in the dark waters of the Thames. “A Stranger on the Bridge” subsequently became the title of his book published in 2018.  Jonny realised that his mission was to speak out, to reach out to those who suffer the same ailments of the soul, and to regain hope in life. Mental health is much more common than we would have thought. One could even say that melancholia is part of the experience of being human. There is still much stigma attached to it and yet, like all human suffering, mental health deserves all our attention, compassion and care. 

If you’re not a KLS member but would like to come along on Saturday morning to hear Jonny Benjamin speak then we’d be delighted to welcome you. However please do contact us first to let us know you are coming.