Recent Suicides

Last week we read of the suicides of two high profile public figures; both held in high regard, and both leaving young daughters behind. There was also a report released showing an alarming increase in suicides; including in the state of Kansas.

I do not pretend to have any special insight in regard to why this happens. I do know that while a community like Kol Ami cannot absolutely prevent suicides, it should be our stated goal to be a concerned and caring community where it is less likely to occur.

I spoke last year on Yom Kippur about the need to de-stigmatize mental illness. In a recent conversation, in which I was discussing the emotional challenges faced by one individual, the truth is we all have our “stuff” that makes life more difficult, and harder to see the joy.

Let us endeavor to make our Kehilah one in which challenges are not faced alone, and empathy is our guidepost.

Read about respectfully reacting to suicide from Kol Ami congregant and Mental Health Coalition Coordinator at Jewish Family Services, Sarah Link Ferguson, who has personal experience with losing a loved one to their battle with mental illness.

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Congregation Kol Ami is led by Rabbi Doug Alpert. A life-long Kansas City resident, Doug completed his rabbinic studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion in Riverdale, New York, and was ordained in May, 2012. Doug was the rabbinic intern at Congregation Ohev Sholom in Kansas City for three years. He holds a Masters in Judaic Studies from the Siegal College of Jewish Studies in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also an attorney, and served as the executive director of the Kansas City Jazz Commission and legal counsel for the International Association of Jazz Educators.

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