A New Jersey native, Rabbi Menashe’s family instilled a love and reverence for Judaism. He attended Yeshiva University, where he studied Torah, Literature and completed master’s level course work in Jewish thought. Rabbi Menashe then attended Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT), founded by Rabbi Avi Weiss. In YCT’s study hall, Rabbi Menashe was exposed to rigorous Torah scholarship, spirituality and an open mindedness to the breadth of Jewish thinking and people. Alongside his Rabbinical studies, Rabbi Menashe pursued an MSW at Wurzweiler School of social work.
Rabbi Menashe joined Mt. Freedom Jewish Center in August 2009. He has become a valued member not only of the synagogue, but also of the greater Jewish and secular community. Rabbi Menashe completed his MSW and currently works as a part-time clinician at the Jewish Family service in Passaic, completing his LCSW.
Albert Dabah introduces tonight's special guest Rabbi Menashe East and also tonight's podcast episode “ Judaism and Mental Health.” Rabbi is a very good friend of Albert that he met a couple years ago. Albert mentions that he was born and raised in Brooklyn New York and he is the youngest of 4. Albert shares with Rabbi and the listeners that his dream was to be a Baseball player which mostly his film is about ( Extra Innings) his family and Baseball. Rabbi parents are completely religious and are always dedicated to learning new things. In his childhood Rabbi was always committed to learning more about his tradition. There was a place where Rabbi went for 2 years to study, learn, and have a better connection with God. For the young men that also attended were also getting ready to go to the army and serve their country. Later on Rabbi shared with Albert that he attended Yeshiva University where he studied Tora, Literature and completed master’s level course work in Jewish thought.
Rabbi mentions that George Washington used to go to Mount Freedom and take a break from war and refresh. Rabbi grew up in a very nice community where everyone was polite and respectful and also Jewish. Anyone can join his synagogue where nobody would get judged due to the fact that everyone is human and have different beliefs and values. People come from a lot of different places and countries to join the synagogue Rabbi mentions. Rabbi parents are both highly educated. Rabbi uttered that there are also opportunities for women to join the synagogue to get more engaged in the religious field. Albert and Rabbi discussed that it’s better to include than to exclude because where some of us come from is very challenging and rough. Before the section ended Albert mentions that the purpose of his film ( Extra Innings) is to motivate and inspire others to do better.
Rabbi studied for his MSW when he was a student in the seminary. After a long slow journey, Rabbi also worked as a counsellor in a clinic. Rabbi also tries to inspire and uplift others that suffer from mental illness. Additionally Rabby mentions that he also helps people to what they feel and show who they truly are. Albert mention that a lot of people don’t like talking about the concept suicide because of the stigma that exist. There is a deeper pressure of mental illness Rabbi uttered. Rabbi discusses with Albert that you should never be denied your beliefs and values in a Jewish community.
People do not decide if they want to be mental ill or not Albert mentioned. And some people decide to take their lives away due to the fact that they cannot handle the pressure that surrounds them and the pain they suffered. If you have a mental illness, you have to live through it in order to get rid of it, Rabbi and Albert discussed. Albert mentions that it’s really hurtful to suffer from mental illness or see someone suffering from it. Later on Albert discussed why there is such a huge stigma on mental illness and he says that people lag from education what really goes on. Your own personality is who you are dealing with Alber uttered.
00:00:44.790 --> 00:01:02.640 Albert Dabah: hi there I am Albert dabba a life coach therapist and film producer and I am the host of extra innings covering all the bases, tonight we will be talking about Judaism spirituality and mental health.
00:01:04.710 --> 00:01:21.090 Albert Dabah: Extra innings began as a film that I wrote and then produce through my production company called Simba productions and directed and acted in, and it is now showing on Amazon prime I hope you get a chance to see it.
00:01:22.110 --> 00:01:34.080 Albert Dabah: Tonight we have with us a very good friend of mine, he I met him by going to the synagogue that I had been going to when I lived in morristown New Jersey.
00:01:34.980 --> 00:01:55.830 Albert Dabah: He is the Rabbi of the mountain freedom Jewish Center and his name is rabbi manassas East and over the years we became friends, and one thing i'll say is that one of the first screenings that we had of extra innings at the J CC in on Amsterdam avenue in New York City.
00:01:57.510 --> 00:02:09.480 Albert Dabah: rabbi he came and did the hosting after the film with a Q amp a and talk back and it went really well and, as I remember rabbi how are you.
00:02:10.500 --> 00:02:12.570 Albert Dabah: You brought your parents to that is that right.
00:02:12.660 --> 00:02:14.340 Menashe East: that's right you never go anywhere without them.
00:02:14.940 --> 00:02:19.320 Albert Dabah: haha well that was really sweet and headed they like it, by the way.
00:02:20.610 --> 00:02:24.360 Menashe East: They were a look it's it's a harder film to say you like.
00:02:24.750 --> 00:02:28.410 Menashe East: Right it's a it was powerful they're very, very moved by it.
00:02:30.240 --> 00:02:33.240 Menashe East: As a as I was, and my wife was as well.
00:02:35.100 --> 00:02:35.700 So.
00:02:36.780 --> 00:02:47.040 Albert Dabah: I wanted to ask you one of the first things is um you know I grew up in an Orthodox community in brooklyn New York and the Syrian Jewish community and.
00:02:48.480 --> 00:02:59.850 Albert Dabah: i've met and I went to yeshiva studied Hebrew through first through 12th grade and but my dream was to be a baseball player, which was part of what the film extra innings is about.
00:03:00.480 --> 00:03:09.420 Albert Dabah: And it wasn't looked on upon by my family as wow that's great no, it was the opposite no you shouldn't play it's not something you should do.
00:03:10.410 --> 00:03:31.590 Albert Dabah: But it was something that I just love doing, and there was always a problem with that in my family my older sister always the gut for me and my brother was someone who really talk passionately about it to me about the old baseball and both of them, as you know.
00:03:32.610 --> 00:03:36.300 Albert Dabah: took their own lives later on in life i'm the youngest of four.
00:03:37.560 --> 00:03:59.430 Albert Dabah: So the thing i'd like to bring up is you know what's it what led you to being a rabbi because I never asked that question to any rabbi before and I am you are an Orthodox rabbi and a lot of people, whether they're Jewish or not Jewish don't really understand.
00:04:00.870 --> 00:04:09.900 Albert Dabah: What it is when like when I say orthodox they don't understand what does that mean is that mean you're hasidic are you black hatter.
00:04:10.830 --> 00:04:29.610 Albert Dabah: or conservative or reform, so I was curious if you could tell us a little bit about how you got into studying to be a rabbi and what does it mean to you and then i'd like to talk about some of the differences between you know orthodox conservative reform and all the other kinds of.
00:04:31.980 --> 00:04:36.210 Albert Dabah: judaism's or different kinds of ways people practice Judaism.
00:04:37.980 --> 00:04:41.310 Menashe East: Sure we'll try to cover that in the next hour okay.
00:04:42.600 --> 00:04:43.770 Albert Dabah: that's a lot, I know.
00:04:45.630 --> 00:04:53.160 Menashe East: A little bit about myself before I I landed in in randolph New Jersey, of the Northwest Jersey, I grew up in New Jersey.
00:04:54.390 --> 00:04:59.520 Menashe East: My family is has been practicing observant orthodox Jews.
00:05:00.600 --> 00:05:09.000 Menashe East: Since since I was born, they grew up that way actually my father came to it through college and my mother.
00:05:10.260 --> 00:05:23.790 Menashe East: Was from a family that was quite devout and some very impressive Is this a year has a serious lineage of of rabbinic rabbinic figures on both sides of her family, but.
00:05:24.810 --> 00:05:28.530 Menashe East: My parents were completely religious observant Jews.
00:05:30.240 --> 00:05:34.650 Menashe East: For my entire life and they instilled a sense of.
00:05:35.670 --> 00:05:36.750 Menashe East: The importance of learning.
00:05:38.820 --> 00:05:47.880 Menashe East: Commitment to Jewish education that was that was the most important thing, I know that meant that we had less vacations we did a little bit less.
00:05:48.720 --> 00:06:00.750 Menashe East: less of the frivolous stuff that you know that I saw other other you know other people being able to do, I do less of that because we were going to school tuition for me and my for civil I my 374 of us.
00:06:02.040 --> 00:06:06.660 Menashe East: that's That was a major investment and that that.
00:06:08.520 --> 00:06:11.700 Menashe East: commitment to it really rubbed off on myself.
00:06:13.140 --> 00:06:23.310 Menashe East: And it was I saw how how much you mentor them, and I think that was that was part of my maturation is seeing their commitment to education, to learning.
00:06:25.170 --> 00:06:28.080 Menashe East: I also in the in my own life.
00:06:29.370 --> 00:06:42.690 Menashe East: I wanted to pursue that to learn to try to to to connect to what our tradition had to say it didn't I didn't come to it naturally always actually part of it was coerced upon me.
00:06:44.070 --> 00:06:57.510 Menashe East: My very important influence in my life was my grandfather blessed memory my mother's father, who was a synagogue rabbi and it was a nuclear physicist or interesting eclectic person and.
00:06:58.710 --> 00:07:09.090 Menashe East: He at 13 years old, he insisted that I study Torah with them learn with him, we were studying Tom would he was living in Washington, at the time, and he would call me.
00:07:10.380 --> 00:07:27.330 Menashe East: We started once a week and he basically made me study with him, which is an interesting she do is an interesting match that was made because he had here in my grandmother never getting far field, but here my grandmother were divorced at the time, and she she told him.
00:07:29.550 --> 00:07:38.130 Menashe East: His name sky and she said time you got to learn with masha start studying Torah with him and even though my father and I learned and I went to set you Shiva.
00:07:38.610 --> 00:07:50.040 Menashe East: Through very you know strict learning, but this was a this was a higher a different level, so this is a world renowned scholar really a scholar par excellence.
00:07:50.580 --> 00:08:07.140 Menashe East: And so, he insisted that I learned with them, I couldn't say no to my grandfather does ED as I call them and that's That was really a decade, more than a decade of regular Torah study at that time was over the phone.
00:08:08.400 --> 00:08:18.600 Menashe East: And then, when I we our lives intersected I was able to be near to him, and we were able to study together in person, and that was in terms of intellectual pursuit That was really.
00:08:19.680 --> 00:08:34.290 Menashe East: vital to my decision to go into it, I loved it I love learning I love the what our tradition at to say and and I pursued that and other major influence in our life.
00:08:34.980 --> 00:08:49.590 Menashe East: Was spending time in Israel as a post high school student, the gap here into being gap years for me instead when, for two years to study in Israel and you Shiva called shall have him, and this was just devoted to.
00:08:51.030 --> 00:09:00.390 Menashe East: To judaic studies to learning Talmud and Tara and that was that was a very powerful experience me actually was interesting because it was.
00:09:00.960 --> 00:09:11.550 Menashe East: It was situated in the I alone Valley, which is basically in the middle of nowhere so it's like you know i'll you know you know randolph it's like the randolph of Israel.
00:09:12.930 --> 00:09:25.110 Menashe East: It was like it was it was very secluded very isolated, it was in the top of a hill the bottom of the hill was a was a was a key boots was still a functioning.
00:09:26.640 --> 00:09:43.260 Menashe East: You know raised cattle and it was there was farms and you could actually the smells of the cattle would walk up the Hill, it was it was a place that you just went to to study to devote a Torah study to prayer to trying to.
00:09:44.280 --> 00:09:46.500 Menashe East: deepen your connection to God that was.
00:09:46.530 --> 00:09:49.290 Albert Dabah: ll you there she's been heavily there and for how long.
00:09:49.500 --> 00:09:51.930 Menashe East: That was that was post high schools was 18.
00:09:52.980 --> 00:10:03.840 Menashe East: I was there for two years and that that to me and I was it was like a different experience and I grew up in a very devout and connected Jewish Lee connected.
00:10:05.310 --> 00:10:07.890 Menashe East: Life in where I grew up in teaneck New Jersey.
00:10:09.540 --> 00:10:17.850 Menashe East: But when I came to Israel, it was like it just be just got amplified it was a whole I just remember my first High holiday experience praying.
00:10:18.330 --> 00:10:26.820 Menashe East: In the in the beat me drag the study hall and it's you know, a group of 300 you know young man, it was an interesting environment.
00:10:27.240 --> 00:10:44.760 Menashe East: Because he's all these guys are, it was an American and Israeli program so it was a gap year for Americans Israelis to interact together, and so you lived with Israelis, and these are young men who are going into the army so they're combining.
00:10:45.840 --> 00:10:54.270 Menashe East: military service with Torah study so there'll be part time in the Shiva learning and then, when there was their call to come up, they would go and spend.
00:10:55.440 --> 00:11:08.040 Menashe East: Six months at a time, a year, at a time and then they come back and break up their service and and continue their study, so that was a that's a novel program that exists in Israel to accommodate.
00:11:08.700 --> 00:11:17.220 Menashe East: The more religious who want to be serving in Israel who are you know design mystically inclined, and to defend Israel, but also to spend time devoted to.
00:11:17.820 --> 00:11:25.860 Menashe East: Torah study, so that this, this is the problem that I was in anyway, where these guys are all together on Russia nine your key for the first time I was in.
00:11:26.640 --> 00:11:35.550 Menashe East: In Israel for on my own left my home hadn't hadn't been never had this experience before in my life and I come in and the they're.
00:11:36.090 --> 00:11:48.840 Menashe East: The prayer the Hassan the prayer leader, the counter was like an other worldly angelic like me, he just the whole room lifted, I couldn't it was like an otherworldly experience.
00:11:49.500 --> 00:12:00.090 Menashe East: And I think there's both the inspiration of which of my journey and also the regular consistency that I got from my parents home, but that moment of inspiration that spark.
00:12:01.260 --> 00:12:12.810 Menashe East: A feeling that lift was was really important to me that that really was a very powerful push I came back from Israel and he studied in yeshiva university.
00:12:13.500 --> 00:12:29.340 Menashe East: And University has a number of tracks in there it's combines the Shiva and the secular studies so my in my yeshiva education my program went from.
00:12:30.450 --> 00:12:39.480 Menashe East: early in the morning when we started with prayer morning prayers and it ended at three o'clock in the afternoon, and then I started my university steps study subject.
00:12:40.830 --> 00:12:42.960 Menashe East: And I was a literature major and.
00:12:44.340 --> 00:12:58.200 Menashe East: That that was that was the That was my life, basically, and that became you know that's all these influences in my life of the inspiration and the uplift of very experienced in Israel.
00:13:00.510 --> 00:13:07.740 Menashe East: And then you know this this this commitment from family that that was very powerful for me.
00:13:08.910 --> 00:13:24.840 Menashe East: That that really sort of it made sense in a way, I felt like if I was thinking about what I was wanted to do and university where would they want to go from there and it's sort of like it harmonized, for me, so this is, I can combine this learning this inspiration i'm a lover of music.
00:13:25.860 --> 00:13:29.160 Menashe East: I took up guitar playing guitar for 20 plus years.
00:13:30.360 --> 00:13:35.130 Menashe East: And like it just felt like this was a place to harmonize.
00:13:36.390 --> 00:13:40.800 Menashe East: The values of family of learning and inspiration of connecting to God.
00:13:41.880 --> 00:13:50.070 Menashe East: And that's sort of in can exactly tell you what those were the different the different motivations and inspirations in my life.
00:13:50.850 --> 00:14:02.160 Menashe East: That got me to where I am and i'm very happy i'm here now 11 years in randolph here in Northwest Jersey and it's been a blessing, this has been a challenging year, but this has been a.
00:14:03.180 --> 00:14:06.000 Menashe East: it's been a blessing throughout for myself and my family.
00:14:06.930 --> 00:14:13.680 Albert Dabah: Well okay well we're going to come right back and learn more about your life and how it.
00:14:14.730 --> 00:14:33.330 Albert Dabah: And some of the questions that i'll have that that to me ties with the film and what I think people would be interested in knowing so we'll be right back with rabbi menashe a East who is the Rabbi of Mount freedom Jewish Center and mal freedom New Jersey, thank you.
00:14:35.100 --> 00:14:39.990 Albert Dabah: For listening to talk radio nyc at www talk radio dot.
00:17:30.360 --> 00:17:46.260 Albert Dabah: hi there I am Albert we're back with rabbi menashe as we were just talking about a little bit about his background and currently he is the rabbi at mount freedom Jewish Center in.
00:17:47.280 --> 00:17:54.240 Albert Dabah: Freedom in New Jersey, which is right, I guess, on the tip of randolph is that right, or is it considered grand off or.
00:17:54.630 --> 00:18:03.750 Menashe East: it's actually as its own subsection of right it's a hill above ran off and it just learned an interesting tidbit historic did that what the George Washington.
00:18:04.920 --> 00:18:13.800 Menashe East: got named it mount freedom as a way that he was when he was breaking from the revolutionary war he would come up to mount freedom.
00:18:14.670 --> 00:18:28.950 Menashe East: To take a break from the the struggles of war and the struggles of of life, and this is where he came to refresh and and the air is beautiful up here and it's it's this this column here and that's that's how it got its name, which only one oh.
00:18:29.220 --> 00:18:34.890 Albert Dabah: wow yeah wow and there's a there's his George Washington headquarters right in morristown new.
00:18:36.090 --> 00:18:47.760 Albert Dabah: yeah um well I always found when I lived in morristown when I just went up to mount freedom that the temperature change like that would not be snow in morristown, but it would be snow up and down for you to just.
00:18:49.440 --> 00:18:50.820 Albert Dabah: Either like five minutes away.
00:18:51.120 --> 00:18:52.530 Menashe East: Your experience the snow very.
00:18:53.940 --> 00:19:05.730 Albert Dabah: Right, so you know how does it and I know, most of the constituents of your synagogue are not orthodox is that Is that correct that don't don't live in orthodox.
00:19:08.760 --> 00:19:09.090 Albert Dabah: yeah.
00:19:10.230 --> 00:19:11.700 Albert Dabah: So is that is that.
00:19:13.980 --> 00:19:25.350 Albert Dabah: Is that common in in in in the world today that there might be an Orthodox rabbi but many of the people are most of the people are not actually orthodox.
00:19:26.220 --> 00:19:29.940 Menashe East: um I think it's I don't think it's that common.
00:19:31.290 --> 00:19:36.960 Menashe East: And it's I think it speaks more to a an ideology and value system.
00:19:38.430 --> 00:19:44.190 Menashe East: I didn't talk to you about my the seminary way ultimately was ordained from which is called.
00:19:47.580 --> 00:19:54.000 Menashe East: Which is was it's a relatively new now it's been around for about 20 years.
00:19:55.800 --> 00:20:01.230 Menashe East: And it's a it's an Orthodox a modern orthodox at the time was called the open modern orthodox institution.
00:20:02.130 --> 00:20:12.330 Menashe East: And it was really a place that encouraged a more sort of open welcoming progressive attitude to stay strictly within.
00:20:12.990 --> 00:20:22.140 Menashe East: You know, Jewish legal practice the hahaha but also to see how you could you can still your value system doesn't mean just because you're a logically observant person.
00:20:22.590 --> 00:20:33.600 Menashe East: You follow you know rigorous observance to Jewish law doesn't mean that you exclude people and I found that that was a that spoke to me when I was looking for for a place to.
00:20:34.680 --> 00:20:48.630 Menashe East: To find to study for my seminary and be ordained That was a value system that I thought was really lacking I grew up in a very insular beautiful Community the values are wonderful in terms of the commitment but also I didn't know that there were.
00:20:49.650 --> 00:21:03.450 Menashe East: That there were liberal streams of Judaism in my back door my neighborhood you know that That to me is a that's an unfortunate reality that that there isn't an interaction, we definitely see now.
00:21:04.620 --> 00:21:20.430 Menashe East: This this you know this socially distant year that we've had is that needing each other is so much more important we've really we've really unfortunately created a situation where there's real distance and weariness.
00:21:21.870 --> 00:21:27.120 Menashe East: Suspicion you know I think that's it's not that's not how we're going to ultimately.
00:21:28.410 --> 00:21:38.010 Menashe East: build a productive world together is that is that we have to, we have to trust each other and be able to you know find each other, strengthen each other and that that's.
00:21:39.210 --> 00:21:46.440 Menashe East: that's what I am seeing as a as a problem now i've seen I saw it came to a realization that there was something that was missing.
00:21:47.880 --> 00:21:50.250 Menashe East: In my own education and background and.
00:21:51.780 --> 00:22:03.780 Menashe East: that's something that you know so you're right this synagogue is made out it's an Orthodox synagogue its charter is an Orthodox synagogue in the practice and the prayers follow an Orthodox guideline.
00:22:05.220 --> 00:22:15.420 Menashe East: But not everyone here is orthodox, far from it, and that's that doesn't that doesn't diminish who they are, in any way and to me that's.
00:22:16.050 --> 00:22:21.240 Menashe East: considered a say, a Community synagogue that anyone who feels like they want to be part of it.
00:22:21.720 --> 00:22:31.140 Menashe East: shouldn't no way be excluded, if it's if it's a place that can fit your values and can touch you and help you grow that that's what we should be doing.
00:22:31.680 --> 00:22:47.190 Menashe East: So that that's what we that's what we do in our synagogue colleagues of mine who are ordained with me and contemporaries of mine have similar values, I think, though, we're you know it's a it's a small seminary that I was already in from.
00:22:48.360 --> 00:23:02.070 Menashe East: it's a already a small subset you're asking before about the different streams, so this is like a small sub stream within you know within already a you know what one of the branches of Judaism.
00:23:03.570 --> 00:23:08.460 Menashe East: And so within the Orthodox stream there's so many different shades.
00:23:09.510 --> 00:23:24.150 Menashe East: You know, different types and doesn't just boil down to where you come from terms of is you come for your background is a Sephardic from Syria that that's that's one type sort of your geographic origin ashkenazi.
00:23:25.710 --> 00:23:27.360 Menashe East: I can my family comes from Russia.
00:23:29.640 --> 00:23:30.330 Menashe East: and Canada.
00:23:31.470 --> 00:23:33.720 Menashe East: But that's for Russia, mostly.
00:23:34.770 --> 00:23:46.800 Menashe East: And that's where that's our our orientation right and that's that's one that says geographic identification of what orthodoxy looks over jewishness looks like terms of practice.
00:23:47.610 --> 00:23:58.380 Menashe East: orthodoxy, will have a whole you know and value system orthodoxy as a whole range where you see the hasidic to the black hat wearing the you know this this triangle.
00:23:58.890 --> 00:24:05.100 Menashe East: area, which is the fur hat and the in the type of different types of of clothes, in the long and the sidewalks.
00:24:06.000 --> 00:24:16.350 Menashe East: And then there would be a sub stream within that of different types of hasidic Community if they come from Poland originally they come from from from different parts of of Europe.
00:24:17.910 --> 00:24:21.030 Menashe East: And hungry and then there is also.
00:24:22.110 --> 00:24:29.700 Menashe East: Within that, which is what I grew up with was a modern orthodoxy, because I, which basically says that we, we can.
00:24:31.200 --> 00:24:43.860 Menashe East: harmonize secular education and Torah life that there's a the two of the secular life doesn't need to be a thread, you can actually help it.
00:24:44.460 --> 00:24:53.430 Menashe East: It can help a noble each other the Torah is a very famous phrase the kotara even Derek barrett's Torah which goes hand in hand.
00:24:53.850 --> 00:25:03.570 Menashe East: With ethics and values and the way of the world it's a very broad freeze, but that that really is the idea of trying, how do you try to harmonize.
00:25:04.320 --> 00:25:19.020 Menashe East: and bring into these into your life is disparate parts, maybe they don't fit so that's that's really the orientation that I came from, and I moved a little bit more from my parents were my parents are both highly educated and other ones at Barnard, my father was in UCLA.
00:25:20.190 --> 00:25:24.480 Menashe East: And, and they they you know my father as a as a.
00:25:25.890 --> 00:25:32.220 Menashe East: young man became devoted devout Jewish directly Jewish and.
00:25:33.480 --> 00:25:39.030 Menashe East: followed that path, and he you know he he lived his whole life he's lived his life.
00:25:40.500 --> 00:25:48.450 Menashe East: To really working and and living a secular life and also bringing Torah into it everywhere, so that, so I always understood that there was that.
00:25:50.070 --> 00:25:52.380 Menashe East: There is that ability to to harmonize.
00:25:53.400 --> 00:25:58.290 Menashe East: And so what I saw it, which I felt like was was one step beyond was that well we're not doing enough for.
00:25:58.860 --> 00:26:08.430 Menashe East: For Jews who are don't who don't live exactly the same way as US we aren't doing enough to to encourage participation by women.
00:26:09.210 --> 00:26:18.930 Menashe East: There are opportunities in orthodox communities that are very there, there are opportunities for women to be more meaningfully engaged in spiritual and communal life.
00:26:19.890 --> 00:26:38.490 Menashe East: It needs a little courage and needs a little willingness from the Community and and there are ways to make that more more inclusive and embracing and so that's those were things that were very important to me, and this community is allowed me to do to be to encourage that and.
00:26:39.810 --> 00:26:57.780 Menashe East: And they've been a wonderful partner so i'm hopeful that people who are not making me a plug for for our Community and but that's I think that's what Jewish life has to be it's really has to be multifaceted that this these niche communities that only only cater to.
00:26:58.860 --> 00:27:07.410 Menashe East: You know June or July are that's that's that doesn't hope I don't think that that's ultimately the most healthy.
00:27:08.460 --> 00:27:09.960 Menashe East: You need to have a diverse community.
00:27:11.550 --> 00:27:24.120 Albert Dabah: yeah I mean I mean I think that's what draw me to going to the synagogue when you became the Ram white ago were often and got to know you.
00:27:25.350 --> 00:27:46.710 Albert Dabah: I mean your your your basic you're coming from the basic laws of Torah and bringing them into the synagogue but, as you said, you talked you mentioned the word liberal and ethics and I just think that's so important because some people.
00:27:47.970 --> 00:28:04.050 Albert Dabah: You know just feel like if they do this exactly what said that that they're Okay, but ethically they might not they might not really get the ethics or spirituality of the law or but being able to.
00:28:05.580 --> 00:28:22.920 Albert Dabah: extend it to more people and not leave people out include rather than exclude makes a big difference to me because you know where I grew up, it was not like that, and I think in many communities it's not like that, and it can turn people off.
00:28:23.700 --> 00:28:42.330 Menashe East: In particular you're from your background from the Syrian Community that's, that is, you know it's famous so much infamous for its for its exclusivity, I mean there's you know that there was a you know there's a real you know, this is, this is a you know real sense of cultural pride.
00:28:43.620 --> 00:29:00.030 Menashe East: That would sort of discourage outsiders from being part of it, Jewish outsiders to if you're not from from the same place that we're from you know it's there's a reluctance to bring you in so I wasn't very far from what what you grew up with.
00:29:00.210 --> 00:29:07.260 Albert Dabah: Right and and what what I see what happens, and particularly in my family but and other people I knew I mean my.
00:29:07.620 --> 00:29:18.120 Albert Dabah: My best friends are really still from the community that I grew up with and I talked to but i've met other friends, you know I also, as you know, I have a masters in social work degree.
00:29:19.380 --> 00:29:32.700 Albert Dabah: And I worked as a therapist and now I got back into that I had a I still have a film company and I made the film extra innings and part of me why I made it was to express what happened in my family and which was tragic.
00:29:34.740 --> 00:29:43.830 Albert Dabah: And you know I don't look at anyone to blame on it, but it's just happened as and I, but I think one of the things like I had on the show Dr Dan Ryan burger.
00:29:45.540 --> 00:29:57.690 Albert Dabah: few weeks back and he is the director of SAVE, which is basically about suicide awareness voices of education but educating people and in mental health and in.
00:29:58.200 --> 00:30:09.000 Albert Dabah: Really, reducing that stigma of mental illness and helping people he is one thing that i'll say right out loud i'm not I don't believe that i'll.
00:30:10.560 --> 00:30:18.360 Albert Dabah: Suicide will happen, just like heart disease and other diseases will happen, but his whole thought is that he feels.
00:30:19.980 --> 00:30:38.010 Albert Dabah: passionately that you can prevent suicide, you can lessen the amount of suicide, and I think what I get from that and what I get in my own life what I see is that by education, and promoting you know good mental health.
00:30:39.360 --> 00:30:44.520 Albert Dabah: And what does that mean and and to me it means really listening to people being empathic to people.
00:30:45.780 --> 00:30:51.600 Albert Dabah: Sometimes, being a more liberal than you might be on some subjects, because of the person you're talking to.
00:30:52.740 --> 00:30:53.490 Albert Dabah: You know, as a.
00:30:54.900 --> 00:30:56.340 Albert Dabah: As a therapist.
00:30:57.390 --> 00:31:07.920 Albert Dabah: What I find is someone told me she's been a therapist for many years, and she was described it as being an old friend from school I spoke to the other day.
00:31:08.430 --> 00:31:17.790 Albert Dabah: She said it, it was, I think he wrote I think she said to me, active radical listening and I thought that was an interesting way to look at it.
00:31:19.770 --> 00:31:30.360 Albert Dabah: As a therapist, but I think as a rabbi you know you're i'm sure people come to you with all kinds of problems and situations that come up.
00:31:30.720 --> 00:31:49.470 Albert Dabah: I have no idea what but i'm sure there's a real connection between being now they have an msw and i'm not sure if you're seeing clients, yet I think I read in your bio that you, you are, I believe, but there what's the connection there, how do you see that.
00:31:49.710 --> 00:31:52.140 Menashe East: just see your your we're being told it's break time.
00:31:53.010 --> 00:31:58.530 Albert Dabah: Oh, it is I missed it okay well we'll pick that up and come back, thank you.
00:32:07.980 --> 00:32:07.980 and
00:34:47.460 --> 00:34:54.840 Albert Dabah: hi there we're back with rabbi manassas East, we have been talking about.
00:34:56.430 --> 00:35:08.730 Albert Dabah: What what is it like rabbi to be a rabbi and now you're a have an msw degree, and I believe you work as a therapist, can you tell us the connection there.
00:35:10.050 --> 00:35:12.030 Menashe East: Sure yeah so i've.
00:35:13.230 --> 00:35:23.250 Menashe East: been studying for my msw in when I was a student in in seminary I did that, as a sort of a seemed to be like a natural.
00:35:24.300 --> 00:35:35.370 Menashe East: overlap of there's a there's a spiritual pastoral responsibility rabbi has and that that's really crucial relationship building and.
00:35:36.000 --> 00:35:45.240 Menashe East: Being for being there for people in times of of grief and loss and and anxiety and I mean those are.
00:35:46.170 --> 00:36:03.930 Menashe East: that's that's sort of the the the human experiences is happening outside the synagogue too and it's happening it's it's it's everywhere, so my feeling was always that it's from when I once I knew I wanted to be the rabbit at that this was an important.
00:36:05.670 --> 00:36:12.810 Menashe East: sort of a subset for me to be able to to have a mental health orientation.
00:36:14.460 --> 00:36:16.140 Menashe East: And so I.
00:36:17.700 --> 00:36:27.720 Menashe East: I now and, after a long slow journey to get to this point i'm just about finished with my lcs w training i've been i've been working as a part time.
00:36:29.700 --> 00:36:30.420 Menashe East: counselor.
00:36:31.710 --> 00:36:36.420 Menashe East: As a clinical therapist in the Jewish family service of passaic.
00:36:37.680 --> 00:36:42.030 Menashe East: i've been doing that for the last two and a half years and.
00:36:43.590 --> 00:36:56.760 Menashe East: Working on finishing my hours and would would would also wouldn't be credentialed lcs w it's it's very it's really powerful powerful experience, both as a pastoral.
00:36:57.300 --> 00:37:07.380 Menashe East: element, and also in therapy and they're very similar it's, as you said, the active listening is the radical Assam very influenced by Carl Rogers and his sort of his being.
00:37:07.860 --> 00:37:17.460 Menashe East: His humanistic approach and and trying to be present, with people and to try to really try to make sure that they hear that you hear them.
00:37:18.090 --> 00:37:26.820 Menashe East: that's really a very important piece of of the work, and for me to be able to listen and understand and feel like people can express themselves.
00:37:27.750 --> 00:37:36.180 Menashe East: Without judgment that's that's very, very important to me and actually trying to see if I try to influence.
00:37:36.780 --> 00:37:51.180 Menashe East: The past stalls side of myself the rabbinic piece to have that be influenced by the mental health peace, because I think it welcomes people's ability to share and talk with you, if they know they're not going to be judged I think there's there's a.
00:37:52.380 --> 00:38:03.660 Menashe East: When you come into therapists office that's almost a given they're not there to make a judgment call about you or your life your choices they're here to listen and help you figure out for yourself what is the best path forward.
00:38:05.400 --> 00:38:18.450 Menashe East: How to get rid of negative unhelpful patterns and how to uplift and highlight the positive things in your life so that that's sort of expected when you come to the rabbi's office.
00:38:19.290 --> 00:38:27.840 Menashe East: The stereotypical sort of the feeling about, that is, all the rabbi's gonna tell me what to do, because of you know his connection to Tara and his connection to the tradition.
00:38:28.170 --> 00:38:37.200 Menashe East: In the faith dictates do suction that's sort of how it's going to come at I want to come to that, to that conversation that's what's going to come out of this conversation, and I think that's.
00:38:39.330 --> 00:38:44.670 Menashe East: I have to you have to mediate that we able to understand that the tradition speaks to us but also speak to us out of love.
00:38:45.780 --> 00:38:54.210 Menashe East: And that there is a genuine care for the well being of people and the debts that these values of humanism humanistic values and.
00:38:55.110 --> 00:39:02.370 Menashe East: The values of the fact that we're all recognized as being having the spirit of God in US it's elemental kingdom a divine spark.
00:39:03.090 --> 00:39:17.610 Menashe East: Those are that that means that I have to have just an infinite respect for people come through my door sit with me that's that's a very courageous thing to do, and to try to embrace even if it's not always consistent with Jewish values.
00:39:18.840 --> 00:39:31.920 Menashe East: That I, how do I, how do I meet them where they're at to so that that's a lot of what I see the two worlds sort of overlap each other and that an encouraging and our Community and encouraging the Jewish mean in general.
00:39:33.450 --> 00:39:42.480 Menashe East: an ability to to talk inability to not to to keep things which are which are student with has that's something that stood out for me.
00:39:43.020 --> 00:39:53.070 Menashe East: and your film is where you're where there's a will you see this parallel tracks of what's going on in your life personally tried to make a go at it and baseball.
00:39:53.550 --> 00:39:59.400 Menashe East: And and and also what's happening with your with sticking with your brother have less memory.
00:40:00.120 --> 00:40:10.440 Menashe East: And, and the family is and you see how it's that hard for you and your own family, to talk about and to be open about your love for baseball and how much.
00:40:11.010 --> 00:40:28.740 Menashe East: how difficult it is to share that openly with your family how much how much more difficult, will be to talk about mental illness, well, I think that was very, very powerful to see that how you depict that in your film and and how you live that.
00:40:29.790 --> 00:40:39.270 Menashe East: is so that we are you know people are feel that they can talk about things which are the day to day that will allow for an experience, be able to talk about the things which are really.
00:40:40.560 --> 00:40:43.620 Menashe East: scary yeah and opens the door.
00:40:44.670 --> 00:40:46.530 Albert Dabah: Let me ask you a question on.
00:40:47.610 --> 00:40:53.970 Albert Dabah: You know the subject of my film and the subject of suicide, which is you know, not a very.
00:40:55.050 --> 00:40:58.140 Albert Dabah: subject that a lot of people, you know, want to talk about.
00:41:00.210 --> 00:41:02.340 Albert Dabah: But obviously it's something that I.
00:41:03.360 --> 00:41:14.400 Albert Dabah: openly talk about it now and wasn't like that years ago and um you know I understand you know in some orthodox communities.
00:41:15.510 --> 00:41:26.880 Albert Dabah: I believe that if someone commits suicide they're not permitted to be buried in a Jewish cemetery is that still the case and some parts of orthodox.
00:41:29.280 --> 00:41:35.610 Menashe East: I mean that that it's that's what the hell are hard codes of Jewish last to do say that.
00:41:35.880 --> 00:41:36.270 uh huh.
00:41:37.290 --> 00:41:42.870 Menashe East: That has to be you have to undo new nuance that comes out of a value system that says that.
00:41:44.010 --> 00:41:54.180 Menashe East: The Judaism, is a life affirming right you shall live in them, says the TV shall live in them that's the Torah is essentially a it's a it's a life affirming.
00:41:55.080 --> 00:42:04.980 Menashe East: set of values, and so the the the idea of taking one's own life because so anathema to Jewish values to you know it's a.
00:42:05.640 --> 00:42:25.920 Menashe East: Hard it was hard to understand that and if you can somehow you know this person who who took their own lives that turtle in life that was so at odds with Jewish with a Jewish belief system, it was almost as though they were casting off fundamental Jewish they almost denied their jewishness.
00:42:27.030 --> 00:42:32.940 Menashe East: And so you know, the idea of not burying someone in a grave a Jewish cemetery.
00:42:34.950 --> 00:42:36.840 Menashe East: is a way of saying that this person.
00:42:38.070 --> 00:42:51.900 Menashe East: denied what all of our families and generations of Jewish Jewish people stood for and so that was what was so I think that that's what the letter of the law says, do we I can't speak to every community.
00:42:53.040 --> 00:42:59.580 Menashe East: And I said it's, generally speaking, there is a deeper appreciation of mental illness.
00:43:00.600 --> 00:43:08.790 Menashe East: That someone gets to the point of taking their own lives and seeing the only way out and only way that they can make sense of the world.
00:43:09.900 --> 00:43:11.160 Menashe East: they're not in it anymore.
00:43:12.480 --> 00:43:19.260 Menashe East: So that that's looked at as being now as such it's called the onus right there's a person who is under duress.
00:43:20.460 --> 00:43:23.010 Menashe East: That there is a sort of a it's a pressing.
00:43:24.330 --> 00:43:27.480 Menashe East: mental condition emotional condition that's not somebody who is.
00:43:28.620 --> 00:43:31.650 Menashe East: who's being frivolous with their life that someone who is.
00:43:32.970 --> 00:43:34.290 Menashe East: Who has no choice was stuck.
00:43:34.770 --> 00:43:36.540 Menashe East: This is no no other way out.
00:43:36.570 --> 00:43:41.940 Menashe East: In that case, it's a different if you think of it that when you frame it as someone who is suffering.
00:43:42.990 --> 00:43:49.830 Menashe East: right that there would be that wouldn't be someone who who denies Jewish values and who denies your connection to Jewish community.
00:43:50.520 --> 00:43:51.270 Albert Dabah: Right right.
00:43:51.330 --> 00:43:55.530 Menashe East: Someone who's who doesn't who can't who is it's a tragedy.
00:43:55.830 --> 00:43:56.550 Albert Dabah: way right.
00:43:57.090 --> 00:44:10.590 Menashe East: If you think of it that way, then you then you know, then the ostracization falls away, you know you don't have the same you don't have the same attitude to that person, you know, and that would then change your whole attitude to their family.
00:44:10.890 --> 00:44:19.380 Albert Dabah: Right let's pick that up, we have a breakdown, but i'd like to pick that up when we get back Thank you we'll be right back thanks.
00:44:20.700 --> 00:44:23.520 Albert Dabah: you're listening to radio.
00:44:26.130 --> 00:44:27.300 educate and.
00:46:36.000 --> 00:46:41.130 Albert Dabah: hi we're back with rabbi East from the Mount freedom Jewish Center.
00:46:42.240 --> 00:46:45.240 Albert Dabah: So we were talking before the break about.
00:46:47.100 --> 00:46:48.570 Albert Dabah: Suicide and.
00:46:50.700 --> 00:46:59.040 Albert Dabah: about how it's looked at by orthodox communities, and you know, one of the things that.
00:47:00.300 --> 00:47:02.910 Albert Dabah: In talking with different people who.
00:47:03.960 --> 00:47:23.940 Albert Dabah: Are therapist or specialists in the mental health field particular Suicide Prevention is that you know people don't usually just don't decide that I want to be mentally ill, they don't decide that I want to be schizophrenia it's something that.
00:47:25.170 --> 00:47:34.920 Albert Dabah: could be coming from so many different ways, we had a wonderful guest named Randy K, whose son is because the frantic and she spoke about how it's not a decision that my son made to be.
00:47:36.480 --> 00:47:41.520 Albert Dabah: Because the frantic and you know he has done pretty well in his life considering all the different.
00:47:42.780 --> 00:47:48.180 Albert Dabah: Challenges he's gone through so just to get back to what we were talking about before.
00:47:49.470 --> 00:47:55.620 Albert Dabah: Maybe expand a little bit more on the whole idea about what you said, like about Judaism.
00:47:56.790 --> 00:48:10.590 Albert Dabah: is about affirming life so if someone takes to life they're doing the opposite, but the reasons are usually something that they're they're stuck there there there's a huge problem and they're in so much pain.
00:48:11.880 --> 00:48:13.740 Albert Dabah: That they think that's, the only way out.
00:48:14.670 --> 00:48:26.940 Menashe East: yeah and that's the idea of you know, being aware of mental illness, you know mental mental health that's clearly something that's that's a relatively new concept, you know Judaism, is an ancient tradition.
00:48:27.900 --> 00:48:40.440 Menashe East: And for all the the ancient wisdom that abroad didn't have it didn't wasn't aware of you know of modern science, so, as you know, as mental health becomes.
00:48:41.280 --> 00:48:49.410 Menashe East: You know, really, in the last hundred years it's really become you know such a prominent part of our lives as general holistic wellness as mental health.
00:48:49.800 --> 00:49:09.060 Menashe East: So Judaism is moving into understand appreciating that more so, it took so it's not just intuitively there's texts to go to, and you know material to look at that helps inform that but, as you said, the idea of being a person being born a certain way that's that's not something you hold.
00:49:10.110 --> 00:49:18.660 Menashe East: against them you don't hold that as a as a false fault of theirs and Jewish in Judaism understood that is a is a come to.
00:49:19.020 --> 00:49:25.710 Menashe East: Is it comes to move to appreciate that there is a mental mental illness, you know genetic or chemical imbalance or whatever it is.
00:49:26.220 --> 00:49:37.680 Menashe East: A redefine that are social it's a social reality is constructed reality and that's very important questions, but you are you're you're it's it's something that you.
00:49:38.430 --> 00:49:48.930 Menashe East: Can need to endure right so that's one that you choose to take upon yourself, so if you're if you're experiencing and you live through it, you know that's that's how you.
00:49:49.980 --> 00:49:55.200 Menashe East: that's that becomes the frame that Judaism starting to appreciate appreciates the debts.
00:49:56.220 --> 00:50:09.150 Menashe East: You know that that we need to work with the person who's suffering and not to look at them and to cast them out and see you know just be happier get rid of the depression, you know you know that's um that's something that.
00:50:10.170 --> 00:50:19.290 Menashe East: that's taken taken some time and and, as you can imagine, particularly from an Orthodox community that that is so devoted to.
00:50:20.040 --> 00:50:29.430 Menashe East: What the books have always said Well, this is new language, the books haven't really talked about this, and that you know so so as we're getting more more.
00:50:30.270 --> 00:50:38.670 Menashe East: comfortable familiar with the with the that type of of thinking and that language and the idea of of counseling.
00:50:39.300 --> 00:50:46.380 Menashe East: And I work in a in a Jewish family service it's it was it it's open as a way to because it recognizes that there's.
00:50:47.010 --> 00:50:55.710 Menashe East: that there are problems in the Jewish community mental health issues that are just the same as the rest of society that that that in itself is a is a revolutionary thing.
00:50:56.430 --> 00:51:09.900 Menashe East: To say that what we are going through the Jewish community it mirrors what the rest of them what how could it be but that's that's the reality and sometimes we're we're reluctant and we don't want to hear that but that's that's a that's a truth.
00:51:11.310 --> 00:51:26.490 Menashe East: And and not perfect that's once we acknowledge that there is that problem there's a reality, then we are more likely to be able to resolve it, otherwise we deny it, and that's, as we know, denying and bury it only makes things worse.
00:51:27.090 --> 00:51:33.270 Albert Dabah: yeah I mean i'm you know i've seen it in my own family and.
00:51:34.530 --> 00:51:37.530 Albert Dabah: That that whole thing of trying to bury it.
00:51:39.540 --> 00:51:45.240 Albert Dabah: really is it's really hurtful it does not help at all and.
00:51:46.500 --> 00:51:53.760 Albert Dabah: It becomes like a sore that gets bigger that sometimes people don't notice it because they don't.
00:51:54.420 --> 00:52:03.150 Albert Dabah: You know, as you know, one of the things is Dr rosenberg said, Dr Dan Ryan brooks said that he feels like this, I asked him about stigma.
00:52:03.630 --> 00:52:16.500 Albert Dabah: Why is there such a stigma of mental illness and he said it's you know, lack of education, but he also said something that hit me that I never really thought of but I felt that there's a basically a prejudice.
00:52:18.900 --> 00:52:31.830 Albert Dabah: And I think it comes from not being educated a prejudice to think a certain way, the way people are supposed to be the way, maybe your son or daughter supposed to be your your relative or your.
00:52:32.160 --> 00:52:45.690 Albert Dabah: your wife or husband, whatever it is, but something goes wrong, and wherever it comes from, like you said it could be societal could be you know social that could be genetic or whatever and.
00:52:47.730 --> 00:53:02.340 Albert Dabah: We sometimes don't want to look at what really the problem is, we just want to think of what should be what we think should be the answer and sometimes you know someone will say just do that or just do that and.
00:53:03.090 --> 00:53:11.040 Albert Dabah: You know if someone is at home and watching TV let's say they'll have a commercial these days for everything.
00:53:11.970 --> 00:53:24.450 Albert Dabah: For a drug, for everything what i'm trying to say is like a quick fix but life isn't like that and that's why i'm I am a strong believer, not just because of.
00:53:24.990 --> 00:53:32.580 Albert Dabah: You know I I got into being a you know, a therapist and and you know and then went away from it, and now came back to it.
00:53:33.060 --> 00:53:43.980 Albert Dabah: And and through the work of doing the movie and it just you know made me think hey it's a national thing for me to do so, I started to do it now, and I see how.
00:53:44.730 --> 00:54:02.670 Albert Dabah: You know, listening to people with really holding back judging you might have a judgment in your mind in some way, but in some way, you also have to let that judgment go and listen and and and like, as you said, encourage encourage.
00:54:04.800 --> 00:54:15.660 Albert Dabah: A positive response to whatever the problem that challenges are at that time, which you know, a long time ago, when I first went to therapy this first therapists I saw.
00:54:16.260 --> 00:54:33.480 Albert Dabah: He did say at some point, he said, being a therapist is is there really is an art to it, and I really believe that that, as I don't think you would see two therapists saying the exact same thing would be the same exact way with one client.
00:54:34.710 --> 00:54:40.560 Albert Dabah: So it's kind of like your own personality is a part of what you're who you're dealing with.
00:54:41.730 --> 00:54:47.850 Albert Dabah: You know if you have warm send you more wins than someone else that would probably come out.
00:54:50.190 --> 00:54:59.550 Menashe East: But you know I do want to I think there's the the interpersonal relationship with a client therapist relationship that's so important to not non judgmental.
00:55:00.030 --> 00:55:06.780 Menashe East: And you know, accepting a meeting the person where they're at that's you know it's obviously essential to.
00:55:07.230 --> 00:55:14.700 Menashe East: The central to the relationship for therapy integration to be you know foster health which my I also come at it from.
00:55:15.540 --> 00:55:26.850 Menashe East: You know, as sort of Jewish communal policy, we need to be able to say as a Jewish coming up as a professional and Orthodox community that this the values that we need to start to uplift more are those that say.
00:55:27.540 --> 00:55:38.280 Menashe East: Help being helpful the Torah says, you should preserve your body protect your your soul right and that means to really live a life that says that healthfulness is a total value.
00:55:38.850 --> 00:55:43.680 Menashe East: And so that was helpful miss miss physical health this year has been a highlight of physical health is really.
00:55:44.400 --> 00:55:59.790 Menashe East: need to reorient ourselves to really try to to think about physical, emotional mental health is is, all in all these areas that's really that's really important sort of rabbinic Community message that's really crucial that we think that we're too.
00:56:00.450 --> 00:56:13.680 Albert Dabah: Right well um i'd like we're coming to the end of the show if someone wants to get Ahold of you rabbi if you have any questions, I want to ask you or want to join your synagogue or know more about you where where would they go.
00:56:14.430 --> 00:56:31.020 Menashe East: You can look about look me up on our website, which is empty F G c.org Mary Tom frank john Charlie start to hear sometimes that's the Mount freedom Jewish Center the acronym or you could just email me at rabbi at Mt F G c.org.
00:56:31.440 --> 00:56:32.400 Albert Dabah: Okay wonderful.
00:56:32.760 --> 00:56:36.360 Menashe East: welcome that, thank you very much for for for having me oh.
00:56:36.480 --> 00:56:49.410 Albert Dabah: Oh, my pleasure rabbi and i'd like to just sign up by saying thank you everyone for joining us tonight, this is Albert dabas saying, hopefully, see you next week again extra innings is on Amazon prime.
00:56:50.850 --> 00:56:58.080 Albert Dabah: Hopefully you'll watch it and see what you think all right good night all and thanks again rabbi for joining us.
00:56:58.740 --> 00:57:00.690 Menashe East: Thank you good night.