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Embracing Each Other as Jews

Here are a few of the things I said at the Jewish “Mental Health” System Survivors’ Workshop [see previous two articles]:

It is of key importance to treasure each Jewish person, including the Jews who came to this country with rich cultural traditions and had to assimilate. A line came to me while I was planning the workshop: “Many of us Jews came to this country and lost ourselves.” Some of us who didn’t completely lose ourselves often got called “crazy” for that reason. My mother, a daughter of immigrants, didn’t assimilate much and therefore didn’t “fit in.” There is something very “uncool” about being observant Jews, which the people in my immediate family were. We get to embrace all the kinds of Jews there are, as well as all of our strengths as Jews, including openness, welcoming, and sensitivity, which are sometimes seen as negative in this society.

We may feel embarrassed about some Jewish “mental health” system survivors who don’t have a lot of attention, who may be bringing up their distress a lot. It is only internalized anti-Jewish oppression that makes us feel that way. We get to discharge our internalized oppression and stop disconnecting from our people. 

The Jewish “mental health” system survivors’ team I’ve built over the last thirty-five years has become really solid, making it possible to do this work in a bigger way. Having a group of people in close with each other makes discharging on this subject a lot easier. 

We will get to a place where we will walk around confident that we know what we’re talking about and not compare ourselves to others. We will become nonchalant, and things won’t seem like a crisis. We will know that we can do anything, and we won’t be driven to do everything to prove that we’re “okay.” 

Janet Foner

International Liberation Reference Person for “Mental Health” Liberation

New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA

(Present Time 184, July 2016)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00