It has been quite a year, and as the Yiddish saying goes, “People plan, and G-d laughs.” While 2020 did not turn out the way we expected, BaMidbar has been working hard to meet the mental health needs of the Jewish community in this pivotal moment. As we reflect on the past year, we have much to be proud of, and as we look toward the future, we have much to be optimistic about.
Image: Sticky notes on a window
In late winter, BaMidbar piloted its first Experiential Educator Course, a five day retreat for Jewish professionals. The program was a huge success, with 22 participants from 7 different organizations. We had a chance to teach a wide variety of skills related to mental wellness and experiential education through a Jewish lens.
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In early March, we had an amazing staff training in preparation for our planned spring and summer programming. While our staff training was cut short due to the pandemic, our staff team built community, developed the skills they would need in their roles, and celebrated Purim together on property.
Image: Staff at 2018 Rabbinic Workshop
In early April, our local rabbinical council reached out to BaMidbar to see if we would lead a training about mental health red flags for clergy. While we did not realize it at the time, this program would be the start of a busy year supporting mental health education for Jewish professionals through virtual programs.
Image: Self-acceptance brainstorm screenshot
As the world came to a standstill, BaMidbar launched a weekly support group for Jewish professionals. The present was unnerving and the future was unknown. Over sixteen weeks, we came together as a community. Professionals found space to reflect, they built self-care, connected with colleagues, and found a little bit of hope and a lot of simcha (joy).
Image: Springboard Fellows Zoom screenshot
This summer, BaMidbar worked with a cohort of Hillel International Springboard Fellows. Over two months, we explored mental health, wellness, facilitation, and experiential education. The Fellows were driven to understand how they could better support college students through this challenging time.
Image: Nick presenting virtually
The Jewish community deeply mourned a summer without camp. Professionals asked themselves the question: How can we use our resources to support Mental, Emotional, and Social Health (MESH) in the camp community? Through the summer and fall, BaMidbar partnered with a number of Jewish camps and the Foundation for Jewish Camp to help strengthen MESH programming in the Jewish camping world.
Image: Digital Simcha course Zoom screenshot
This fall, BaMidbar reached 168 Jewish professionals in our new course, “From Zoom Fatigue to Digital Simcha.” We know play is an important part of mental health, and worked with professionals to help them understand why Zoom is uniquely draining, and how we an minimize the negative impacts of Zoom fatigue and maximize opportunities for connection, experiential learning, and play.
We know this year has been tough. As we at BaMidbar reflect on the 60+ virtual programs we’ve hosted and 1200+ Jewish professionals we’ve reached, we also know that we have much to be grateful for. Thank you for believing in us and sharing our vision for a healthier, more joyful future. We are wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a bright start to 2021!
Image: “Our Path Moving Forward”
Will you consider making a year-end gift to BaMidbar? Your tax-deductible donation helps us continue our virtual mental health education programs for community professionals, and prepare for in-person therapeutic programming in Summer 2021.