Chai Lifeline Midwest recently conducted a series of comprehensive training seminars for the newest members of its local crisis and trauma response team. The sessions, led by renowned expert Rabbi Dr. Dovid Fox, Director of Chai Lifeline’s Crisis Services, saw the participation of thirty dedicated men and women volunteers from across Chicago’s Jewish community. The group trainings were generously hosted by Yitzy Weiss at the WiFi Professional Building in Skokie, Illinois.
“Our volunteers are carefully screened and undergo rigorous training under the supervision of licensed mental health professionals so that they can address their communities during times of crisis,” said Rabbi Dr. Fox, a highly respected forensic and clinical psychologist, rabbi, and dayan. Rabbi Dr. Fox’s methods are based on the latest research in trauma psychology and neuroscience, and specifically oriented for the cultural and behavioral needs of Orthodox Jews.
Chai Lifeline’s crisis response team comprises individuals who are deeply rooted in the community. These trained paraprofessionals understand the cultural, religious, and emotional background of those in need, enabling them to offer immediate support, guidance, and resources in the aftermath of a crisis. They also play a crucial role in facilitating community responses.
“Chai Lifeline has been at the forefront of providing vital support to schools, shuls, camps, and communities worldwide during traumatic events for over two decades,” said Rabbi Shlomo Crandall, Director of Chai Lifeline Midwest. “As a community, it is critical that we are prepared to respond sensitively and effectively.”
The initiative received endorsement and support from prominent local rabbanim, including Rabbi Zev Cohen, Rabbi Tzvi Engel, Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst, Rabbi Shaanan Gelman, Rabbi Leonard Matanky, Rabbi Yona Reiss, Rabbi Efraim Twerski, and Rabbi Dovid Zucker. In a joint letter, they praised the Chai Lifeline Chicago Crisis Team for its intervention, support, guidance, and community education efforts, emphasizing the positive impact on the community: “We support and extend our blessings to their valuable and sacred work and believe that our local Chai Lifeline Crisis Team will enhance the lives of our children, families, students and institutions as the flagship program in the Jewish world in addressing crisis and trauma.”
Chai Lifeline Crisis Services currently boasts a team of nearly 200 volunteers worldwide, consisting of rebbeim, educators, clinicians, social workers, and community leaders. Volunteer trainings have been conducted in numerous locations, including Lakewood, Monsey, Brooklyn, Deal, Monroe, Miami, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Baltimore, Buenos Aires, Montreal, Antwerp, and Melbourne.
Rabbi Simcha Scholar, CEO of Chai Lifeline, expressed the organization’s commitment to expanding the global network of mental health first responders within the Jewish community. “We are proud to partner with the Bellows family and the greater Chicago community to bring our expertise and experience in trauma response to the Midwest.”
To learn more about Chai Lifeline Crisis Services, please visit www.chailifeline.org/crisis.