The topic of the inclusion in the Jewish community of children and adolescent who have mental illness is timely for several reasons. First, we read in this week’s Torah portion many laws about how to have a civil society. We are enjoined to protect those who are vulnerable; the Torah refers to widows and orphans. There are signs that our Jewish community is starting to become aware of a different vulnerable population: families with mental illness. A recent blog post discussed efforts at Temple Beth Elohim to address the needs of adults who have mental illness. I want to respond to that post. As an instructor for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, I educate parents about child and adolescent mental illness. In writing this post, the opinion that I am expressing is my own. I am a special education attorney specializing in mental illness, autism, and transition planning.

To read more, see my blog post on Jewish Boston, at