NEFESH: The International Network of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals
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Showing Results 1 - 40 (43 total)
The Katrina Effect
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
February 1st, 2016

“Excuse me, is that the Torah that you are studying?”  The woman who posed this question was looking across the way into my Gemara, as our plane prepared for takeoff.  She was modestly dressed and wore a headscarf.   In the dim cabin light, her complexion was mocha.  I tried to answer in as factual a manner as I could, as to the different layers of text that were present on the page.    The woman, wh …
4 comments
Tags: Jewish education, Insularity, Race, Outreach
Had you come knocking at my door...
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
February 28th, 2016

Perhaps I was a bit giddy.  It was the night of the Super Bowl and my oldest son had just returned from a party.  He was showing us a video of a “Kosher Halftime show”, and it was quite amusing.  We heard a knock at the door.    It was someone collecting Tzeddakah.  His frock and his wide brimmed hat hinted that he was a Yerushalmi. Our visitor looked about my age.  His brow was furrowed.  His l …
2 comments
Tags: Tzeddakah, Wealth, Responsibility
Lokshon Hara
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
August 21st, 2016

Author’s note: The privacy and confidentiality of individuals found in this narrative was safeguarded, by modifying identifying details.          I’ve been meeting with Beth and Arnie for a number of years, on issues related to parenting, shared responsibility and intimacy.  The two are insightful, articulate and able to access humor, in ways that reduce tension and allow for playfulness.  …
3 comments
Tags: Shabbat, Lashon Hara, Kugel, Anxiety
Crazy-making
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
October 23rd, 2016

This election season gives us pause for concern as to how candidates (more than one) sidestep questions about their personal and professional integrity.    There comes a point, though, where political discourse strays into a disturbing zone, well known by mental health professionals and the clients they serve.  I am referring to a dynamic that surrounds trauma – particularly complex trauma, associated with sexual abuse.  …
0 comments
Tags: Politics, psychology, Complex trauma
Beyond earshot
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
November 13th, 2016

Let's study some Torah verses that are read right around this time of year.  We would be doing so, with an eye for uncovering the nuggets of wisdom – psychological or otherwise – that lie immediately beneath the surface of the text.    Avraham has just sent away, Yishma’el, his eldest son.  Sarah had ordered that he be driven away and G-d had endorsed the plan.  Hagar, Yishmael’s mother leaves with …
3 comments
Tags: Torah, Abandonment, Repetition compulsion
Born to Run
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
December 16th, 2016

A few days ago, my youngest son celebrated his Bo Ba’yom – that is the very day of his becoming Bar Mitzvah.  His mother and I braved sub-zero wind chills, showed up at the Yeshiva he attends and joined him, his classmates and his Rebbeim.  There was a modest spread waiting for us.     One Rebbi asked me if I was planning to speak.  I noted that the printed protocol for these celebrations made no mention of pa …
0 comments
Tags: Adolescent Development, Parenting, Bar Mitzvah
Mirrors of Desire
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
March 17th, 2017

What does the Torah have to say about sexuality and eroticism?  More specifically, how does the Torah view the passion and desire that occur within a marital relationship?  Is eroticism viewed as dangerous –something to avoid?   Are passion and desire viewed simply as necessary preconditions to bringing children into the world?  Then again, might desire, passion and eroticism hold intrinsic value, in a loving marita …
2 comments
Tags: desire, passion, holiness
Whose body?
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
May 5th, 2017

I’m going to ask you an important question.  (It’s kind of personal.) Who owns your body?    Did you answer that you own your body?  Perhaps you answered that Hashem/G-d owns your body.  A good many Orthodox pre-teens would, in fact, answer just that – “Hashem owns my body,” and it seems that they are correct.   After all, Hashem is the Creator of the world and Hashem is present in the c …
5 comments
Tags: Parenting, child sexual abuse, prevention
Mothers Day with a twist
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
May 12th, 2017

In honor of those who are mothers and those who were mothers In honor of those who’ve longed to be a mother   In honor of those who, by way of teaching mentoring or counseling, have mothered their young charges   but also For those who have a mother or had a mother (and most of us fit into one category or the other)   For those who celebrate this day religiously For those who are too religious to celebrate it For those w …
0 comments
Tags: Mothers Day, Children
Winnicott and the Wailing Wall
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
May 24th, 2017

I am not the kind of person who cries at the drop of a hat.  I have experienced, over the decades, more than one sudden, profound loss and have found myself almost unable to shed tears.  My stoicism has led others and, at times, myself to wonder whether I was capable of caring.    A number of years ago, I came across a history series produced by a prominent American Rabbi.  One of his tapes (yes, it was that long ago) foc …
1 comments
Tags: Bereavement, Yom Yerushalayim, Object Relations
Korbon Copy
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
June 27th, 2017

    Around this time of year, we read the Torah portion of “Chukas” and are shown two contrasting models of parenting.    We encounter the first model, when the Torah relates the narrative of Aharon’s death.  Moshe is commanded “קח/take” Aharon and his son, Elazar, to a secluded mountain spot. Moshe is told to remove Aharon’s special garments and dress Elazar with those selfsame garme …
0 comments
Tags: Torah, Parenting, Aharon, Parah Adumah
Not even a target
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
July 2nd, 2017

“Gabriel” is one of the higher functioning residential clients I treat. He is tall and has an athletic build.  Gabriel is articulate: He can deliver razor sharp sports analyses.  (Decades ago, Gabriel attended college on a sports scholarship.)  He speaks with sensitivity, intelligence and wit, on a wide range of other topics. Gabriel holds a Community Pass. He takes long walks, shoots baskets at a local park and interac …
0 comments
Tags: Random violence, Personhood of victims
Bar Mitzvah Handbook: Part 1
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
July 13th, 2017

This is for anyone who is about to become or who has recently become Bar Mitzvah.  Mazal Tov!  You are now an adult…well sort of.   You see, you may be counted toward a Minyan, you can read from the Torah and you can lead the Tefilot.  On the other hand, you can’t yet sell the family farm, or house, or any land for that matter.  You are also not yet fully a Bar Onshin.  This means that you will not …
0 comments
Tags: Adolescent Development, Bar Mitzvah
Bar Mitzvah Handbook: Part 2
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
July 20th, 2017

(In our first post, we started a conversation about the ways that you are leaving childhood behind, and that you are now thinking in more grown up ways.)   There are more factors that are broadening your horizons.  Your body, has either already started or will soon start to grow rapidly.  Your hips may get thinner and your shoulders will get broader.  Yet other changes will occur.  You will likely become interested in peo …
0 comments
Tags: Bar Mitzvah, Choosing, Creating
Bar Mitzvah Handbook: Part 3
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
July 28th, 2017

(In our last post, we began to discuss the importance of connecting.   There was an understanding that we would not go into specifics, until – this – the next post. What follows is a conversation about connecting with Hashem.)   Whether you understand the story of Bereishit in its most literal sense – that everything started a little more than 5775 years ago – or whether you believe in things like the Big Ba …
0 comments
Tags: Bar Mitzvah, connection, Divine
Bar Mitzvah Handbook: Part 4
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
August 6th, 2017

 (This is the last post of the series.  It continues our conversation about being connected and it then it summarizes.)   Choosing connectedness also means identifying who your friends are and forging potentially lifelong relationships with them.  Choose friends who are wholesome, who are supportive of you and your growth and to whom you enjoy giving.    Invest in these friendships.  I’m speaking less abou …
0 comments
A tale of two clerics
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
August 25th, 2017

One lived during what could have been the best of times; the other lived through what was undoubtedly the worst of times.  One blighted the religious life of a young student, in what had been the spring of his hope; the other cast brightness on the life of a young refugee, in the winter of her despair.       Clive Hazell, professor extraordinaire, at the graduate school I attended, spoke with a delicious English accent.  …
0 comments
A student's memories of Rabbi Aaron Brafman
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
September 15th, 2017

Our class was not all that receptive to him.  He taught us during an era in which the entertainment world placed a premium on being “cool”.  He was anything but cool. He wore his feelings – even the uncomfortable ones, like sadness and apprehension – on his sleeve.  He wasn’t anti-establishment.  He couldn’t afford to be.  As Menahel, he was part of the establishment.    Our c …
2 comments
Find YOUR way back
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
September 24th, 2017

As we stand in the midst of the Aseres Yemai Teshuvah, the ten days of repentance that stretch from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, many of us likely recall what we’ve been taught, over the years, about Teshuvah.  For some of us, the lessons remain deeply moving.  Others may be burdened by painful memories - the baggage of repeated failure.  Yet others may feel unable to relate to Teshuvah, having been numbed to and by the proce …
0 comments
TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
October 9th, 2017

The ancient Jewish custom of Hoshanos focuses our attention on crops, rain and vulnerability.  It includes the act of parading around the Bimah, (synagogue's centrally located table) once a day, for each of the first six days of Sukkos (The Festival of the Booths), and then circling the Bimah seven times on the seventh day.  The seventh day is referred to as Hoshanah Rabbah.  The above parallels the manner that Joshua led the Jewis …
0 comments
You better listen to your Dad!
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
March 20th, 2018

There is a remarkable video that has, of late, been making the rounds, on social media.  The video is shot through the windshield of a moving automobile.  The wipers are operating; it is raining outside.  A father, whom we can’t see, narrates, as he drives.  He draws our attention to a 10-year-old child, wearing a backpack, who is running a short distance ahead of the car.    "Dad" informs viewers that his son …
2 comments
You'd be better, if you listened too, Dad!
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
March 21st, 2018

This post is a follow up to my “You better listen to your dad” post, in which I described an evocative parenting video, making the rounds on social media.  The video is shot through the windshield of a moving car. It opens with a father narrating how his bullying son was suspended from using the bus to school.  “Dad” demonstrates, on camera, how he now makes his son run to school.  At various points, Dad sha …
0 comments
Sister Jean
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
March 27th, 2018

So, I am a Chicagoan, and I probably care more than most people about the fate of the Loyola Chicago Ramblers, an NCAA men’s basketball team that has reached The Final Four – that is the semi-finals of the national championship.    There is, though, something (or more accurately someone) remarkable about this team that has much broader appeal.  Any of us who experiences disability and the effects of aging, whether in hi …
0 comments
Tags: Aging, Disability, Regard
Kiddush Hashem, from the inside out
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
May 24th, 2018

A short while ago, a student I know informed me of a Kiddush Hashem that occurred at his Yeshiva.  The administration found out that a local police officer who’d been helping the school with dismissal, for years, was about to retire. In appreciation, staff hosted a school-wide assembly in which they recognized the officer’s service and dedication. The event was videoed and widely shared on social media.    In relating t …
0 comments
Tags: Kiddush Hashem, American Flag, Memorial Day, Genuineness
Forgiving G-d
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
September 17th, 2018

On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, while many Jews recite, in undertone, the formal script with which they ask for forgiveness, some might simultaneously be conducting an even quieter, personalized conversation with their selves. The personal conversation takes on a different tone and tenor than does the forgiveness formula: I’ve been reciting the litany of my sins for weeks, on end. It’s starting to grate on my nerves. I&rsqu …
1 comments
Alternate realities
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
February 10th, 2019

Around this time of year, we read, in Parshas TeTzaveh, G-d's instructions to Moshe, regarding the construction of the Mizbe’ach HaKetores.  In and of itself, the passage of the Mizbeach in unremarkable. What is surprising, though, is the timing and placement of this commandment.    G-d had, in the previous week’s reading, instructed Moshe to build the other Keilim that populated the Mishkan.  G-d also instructed M …
0 comments
The bind of Avraham
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
November 14th, 2019

The Torah reading, around this time of year, includes a unique and remarkable narrative – The binding of Yitzchok. It is a story that illuminates, first and foremost, the values of fidelity and sacrifice.   A careful reading of the text and its commentaries, though, yields a bonus lesson. There is a clear illustration of how an individual can meaningfully address a bind in which he’s been placed.  A bind is a situation that …
3 comments
Valentine's Day: An Orthodox Therapist's perspective
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
February 14th, 2020

A number of years ago, an Orthodox Jewish teenager described for me in session how he and his friends “ditched” their evening Study Hall, in order to participate in a Valentine’s Day tryst with their girlfriends.  Toward the end of his narrative, he grinned and wondered aloud how his religious teachers could not have anticipated that their students would try to “get some action” on this day.  I co …
1 comments
Hallowed Grounds and Suffering: Part 1
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
February 26th, 2020

It happened a while ago, but I vividly recall the scene.  It was Yom Tov, and a middle-aged member of the Shul had, months earlier, suffered the loss of an adult child.  Even from a distance, I couldn’t help but notice the sense of pain that seemed to radiate from him.  The congregants sitting nearby tried to make conversation with him.   He answered politely but in a manner that not too subtly conveyed his preferen …
0 comments
Hallowed Grounds and Suffering: Part 2
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
March 4th, 2020

In my first post, I started a discussion about suffering and holiness. I focused on the narrative of Moshe and the S’neh to identify particular models of transcendence that lead to holiness. I concluded the first post with the question: Can holiness occur, in suffering that was neither preceded by choice, nor followed by a transcendent response? The pathway to answering this question leads through a particular detail – actually a comm …
0 comments
Hallowed Grounds and Suffering: Part 3
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
March 11th, 2020

In the last post, I introduced a Chassidic approach to Hallowed Grounds in which holiness allows for vulnerability. The converse is also true; vulnerability oftentimes precedes and leads to holiness. Let’s start with an illustration:                                      …
0 comments
Hallowed Grounds and Suffering: Part 4
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
March 16th, 2020

A brief note on timing: The foundations to this series, on suffering, were laid months, even years before I started posting. I don’t believe that I or anyone else could have foreseen the uncertainly, the fear, and the disruption that accompany COVID-19, the new coronavirus, as it spreads across the world.   As I review parts of this, the last installment, I read new meaning into such sections as those that describe Hagbalah – the …
0 comments
A Wordless Paradox
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
May 3rd, 2020

I can’t be boxed in. I may show attraction or revulsion. I broadcast power, alongside of vulnerability. I contribute, in equal measure, to comfort and tension. I am handmaiden of acceptance, but also weapon of disapproval. I can express submission or defiance, respect or disdain, connection or detachment. I am bright, when golden; dark, when guarding secrets of the grave. I am fence around wisdom, yet marker of incapacity. I accompany heart …
1 comments
When Pandemic Leads to Abandonment
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
June 5th, 2020

COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down.  It’s killed many and sickened many more. The safety measures adopted to limit the spread of the coronavirus have greatly restricted our freedom of movement, shutting down community events, family visits, and play dates.  Government-based restrictions have, until recently, shuttered businesses, schools, and houses of worship. Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 crisis also impacts on our feeli …
0 comments
The Pain of an Individual
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
July 9th, 2020

Author’s note: The privacy and confidentiality of individuals found in this narrative was safeguarded, by modifying identifying details.     It didn’t dawn on me the first week of the shutdown, or even the second or third week. The pandemic had shuttered our schools and synagogues for more than a month, before I recalled my earlier conversation with Hank.    Hank is a bright, sensitive young man.  He is a …
0 comments
Just in Time!
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
November 15th, 2020

Author’s note: The privacy and confidentiality of individuals found in this narrative was safeguarded, by modifying identifying details.     Mordy, a 40-something father of three, has been meeting with me, for about a year. We focus on issues of intimacy, productivity, and accountability. His wife, Leah, works downtown, in an executive position. Mordy’s graphic design job allows him to work part-time from home. He is pr …
0 comments
Frum Fatigue
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
December 2nd, 2020

There’s a thought that’s been percolating inside of me.  Most recently, it was activated by the surprising response of large segments of the Frum/Orthodox community, to the COVID crisis.  The thought actually starts with a question: Why is it that a good many of the most observant members of our community seem almost allergic to rules that broader society tends to abide? In particular, why do a large number of Frum Jews make …
0 comments
Protective Gear
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
February 21st, 2021

There are lessons nestled not only in what the Torah tells us, but how the Torah speaks to us. A prime example occurs around this time of year, when we read the detailed instructions for fabricating the Bigdei Kehunah – Priestly Garments.   One of those garments is the Me’il, a poncho of sorts, that is worn underneath the Ephod - Apron. The most salient features of the Me’il are its shape, its brilliant blue pigmentati …
0 comments
Is the Wheel just a Spiel: A conversation about personal responsibility
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
March 1st, 2021

A number of people have puzzled over why some observant Jews seem unconcerned about contracting COVID and/or following medical recommendations, while other observant Jews seem very concerned. I believe that a key factor relates to a discussion, within Judaism, as to the relationship between two seemingly opposing beliefs. In Jewish thought, we are given the conceptual tools, on the one hand, to feel safe and secure, and, on the other hand, to exp …
0 comments
A Fragile Process
Author: Yehuda Krohn, Psy.D.
March 5th, 2021

Around this time of year, we spend several weeks reading about the construction of the Mishkan and its Keilim/vessels. Moshe is, early on, instructed to build the Aron. He is then told to place, in the Aron, the עדות/Edus - literally the testimony. We are taught elsewhere (Melachim 1: 8) that this includes the Luchos - the two tablets, given to Moshe, at Sinai.  There are two difficulties with the above. Why doesn’t Hashem simply …
0 comments
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