web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

New-Town

Price-010413-New-Town

I am writing these reflections on the Newtown, Connecticut massacre for The Jewish Press on December 20. Most likely, by the time these words have been published, we will have more information and greater insight and understanding as to what went wrong on that tragic day. Nevertheless, for the sake of my own catharsis, and hopefully for the benefit of the readers of this publication, I share my own humble perspective.

It is amazing to me how the same incident has provoked such a diversity of sincere, passionate and yet opposing responses. There are many opinions on what we can learn from this experience to make our world a better place to live, like the proverbial tabula rasa or blank screen onto which we can project and further our own preconceived agenda on what is wrong with our world in general and how we can fix it.

How can a G-d or at least a benevolent G-d allow the slaughter of innocent children and their noble teachers? Does G-d permit Nature and human nature to simply run its devastating course through Hurricane Sandy and Sandy Hook Elementary School for the greater, ultimate good, so that we can grow as individuals and come together? Was this an act of evil or of illness? Should we beat our swords into plowshares and remove or restrict all or some types of firearms, or protect the rights of individuals to protect themselves in times of need? Is this the result of poor parenting, a failed mental health care system, inadequate school security or the general glorification of violence in music, media and gaming? How are we supposed to feel and react? What are we supposed to tell our own children to help them feel safe and secure?

Hopefully, in the coming weeks and months we can focus on learning as many lessons as possible from this event and, instead of debating which one thing went wrong, come up with numerous private and public initiatives that will help us all live more peacefully together. Worse than arguing though, would be allowing these lives to have been lost in vain through our doing very little to change, reverting to the familiar status quo, as time passes and memory fades until we face the next crisis.

With this introduction, as a rabbi, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, professor and father, I offer you an insider’s view into our current mental health system as it pertains to the Jewish community. I see thousands of Orthodox Jewish children, adults and couples in Monsey, New York. I teach and consult in educational institutions. I love what I do. I love helping people. My colleagues and I are dedicated, devoted and hard working – and are achieving some amazing results in improving people’s lives. The problem is that we as professional helpers cannot keep up with the rapidly increasing psychopathology of modern living!

Perhaps the most common question people pose to me is: “Am I normal?” The truth is, we have evolved into a new normal and for many that is: my child cannot focus in school or behave properly with peers and siblings; I cannot find a shidduch; my spouse and I are not getting along; I find it difficult to function at work or at home with the children; I am stressed out, scared or sad a lot these days; I feel like I am obsessed with or addicted to… I lose my temper a lot; it is hard for me to sleep; I feel traumatized; I cannot handle looking and feeling older.

It is getting to the point that nearly everyone will need or at least could benefit from some professional mental health services at some point in their lives. Given the vastness of our current communal plight, it is simply not tenable to generate sufficient human and financial resources to evaluate and treat every suffering individual in an office-based setting so that tragedies such as what occurred in Newtown never happen again. We must create a “New-Town.”

Here is one vision of a New-Town: since nearly all young people ages 5 to 18 are found in school and most parents are somehow connected to their children’s school, the school setting is the ideal place for a daily mental health prevention curriculum, geared to each developmental age and stage, conducted in group settings. Throughout my day I find myself repeating, almost verbatim, the same information to parents and students. It would be much more efficient and effective to present the same material en mass. Like the Emperor’s New Clothes, people often ask, “Am I the only one with this problem? Everyone else appears to be doing just fine.” Bring together a group of students or of parents and you’ll find that you are certainly not alone in your suffering.

About the Author: Rabbi Richard Louis Price, M.D. is a Yale and Columbia University trained Diplomate of The American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology, Assistant Clinical Professor of Weill Cornell Medical College/New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Medical Director of Bikur Cholim of Rockland County and has a private psychotherapy and psychopharmacology practice in Monsey, New York where he resides with his wife and four children.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “New-Town”

  1. Great article by Rabbi Dr Richard Louis Price!

  2. Terry Kleitman Thal Axler says:

    This is such an eloquently written article. Hopefully, our society will somehow, someway, come up with ways to make this world a safer place for our children and future generations. Rabbi Price is trying to make difference. I commend him for that.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Handout photo of texted message sent by a fearful Christopher Cramer from Saudi Arabia before his death.
Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk
Latest Indepth Stories
HETi_logo2

It is offensive that in commemorating the Holocaust mentioning Israel was deemed inappropriate.

Questions-Answers-logo

Many questions, all with thee same, single answer

Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

More Articles from Rabbi Richard Louis Price
Price-010413-New-Town

I am writing these reflections on the Newtown, Connecticut massacre for The Jewish Press on December 20. Most likely, by the time these words have been published, we will have more information and greater insight and understanding as to what went wrong on that tragic day. Nevertheless, for the sake of my own catharsis, and hopefully for the benefit of the readers of this publication, I share my own humble perspective.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/new-town/2013/01/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: