web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

New-Town

Price-010413-New-Town

Share Button

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.

Share Button

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.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

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

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Hamas terrorists prepare their version of peace.
Terrorists Greet Hamas-Fatah Unity with Rocket Attacks on Israel
Latest Indepth Stories
Al-Aksa Mosque was claimed to be the site from which Mohammed ascended to Heaven, but it was built nearly 50 years after Mohammed died.

Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.

Israeli police enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City to disperse stone-throwing Palestinian protesters.

Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.

Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

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.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: