Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The Jewish community has a problem with willful blindness when it comes to real human issues like mental health struggles, abuse (in all forms), the plight of agunot, the current mess of a shidduch system, alcoholism – I could go on.

Now, I want to give credit where is it due; we have come a long way in some of these areas, but my goodness, we still have a long way to go.


In the Al chet prayer on Yom Kippur we confess to the sin of being callous to the needs of others. We acknowledge that we have refused to help those who needed us. We have failed to extend our hand and support them. We willfully ignored their plight. We have been insensitive and selfish.

Another interpretation of these words is that “we have joined hands with the wicked.” We have turned a blind eye.

Researcher and author Brene Brown wrote about what her mother taught her about other people’s pain. The lesson was simple: Don’t look away. Don’t pretend not to see hurt. Look people in the eye. Even when their pain is overwhelming. And when you’re in pain, find the people who can look you in the eye. We need to know we’re not alone – especially when we’re hurting. This lesson is one of the greatest gifts of my life.

Let’s keep our eyes open. We have work to do.

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Rachel Tuchman is a licensed mental health counselor practicing in Cedarhurst, NY with over 10 years of experience. She is a HAES (Health At Every Size) aligned clinician and is dedicated to promoting education on body respect and behaviors that honor our health. Rachel also does speaking engagements for schools, synagogues, and various community organizations.