Mental Health and the Jewish Community

By Marilyn Kraner

The text below is from a presentation given by Marilyn Kraner, Individual & Family Support Manager, at a recent forum hosted by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria. The forum was on mental health and social inclusion for the LGBTI community.


A question we often hear at Jewish Care is “What is different about mental health and the Jewish community?” The answer is both simple and complex.

The short answer is that in terms of prevalence, there is no reason to think that the Jewish community is any different to the mainstream population. We know that in any given year, 1 in 5 Australians will experience mental illness, and almost 1 in 2 will be affected at some point in their lifetime. A significant body of research shows that the prevalence of mental illness in minority groups or culturally and linguistically diverse communities mirrors that of the broader population; we can therefore assume that there is nothing particularly different or unusual about the rate of mental illness in the Jewish community.

The longer answer is that in terms of impact, there is a significant difference. While we know that stigma around mental ill health remains a problem in the broader Australian community, its impact in a close-knit community like ours is particularly challenging, for a number of different reasons.

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The Two of Us

By Cassie Barrett and Marilyn Kraner


On R U OK? Day we talk a lot about the importance of checking in with our loved ones, including our colleagues. But what actually happens if you say you’re not okay?

Mental Health Promotion Resource Officer

I first met Marilyn when I interviewed for this role. I was upfront about my mental health from the start – I mentioned it at the interview. I think being a mental health role made it a bit easier – you kind of assume there will be at least some level of understanding around mental health in this sector – but it was really her approachability that made it easy to talk about. Marilyn’s response at the time was something like “Do you have an idea of what style of management is most helpful for you?” – just really practical, sensible and open. Continue reading


By Mia Singer


The letter below was sent to Jewish Care by 9 year old Mia Singer. Mia recently donated her birthday money to Jewish Care, specifically to our Housing Services. We share this letter with you to show that making a positive impact on your community can begin at any age.

At my school our unit has been NEEDS and WANTS. We have been learning the differences between needs and wants and how needs can be met in different ways. Like for example, a need is something that you can’t live without where as, a want is something that you can live without. Like saying, compare a toy to clean air, clean water, shelter, food and so on. You can definitely live without a toy but you definitely can’t live without the other things.

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Being Present in the Moment to Care

By Bill Appleby, Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Care Victoria


We must care – it’s in our name and integral to our mission. We need to make sure we are always present in the moment to care. At the end of the day – it’s what we do!

At Jewish Care we are blessed with 870 committed staff and 500 volunteers who positively impact people’s lives. Our commitment to the community we serve is to purposefully live the values of family, kindness, charity and respect in all that we do.

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Young Boardroom Professionals – Yesod: A Pioneering Program

By Eyal Genende


We live in a rapidly changing world. As the digital revolution continues to unleash disruptive waves across the economy, a younger generation of digitally native professionals has valuable insight and perspective to offer at a board level. But how do we ensure these capable young professionals are prepared for the rigor and responsibility of board life?

Jewish Care Victoria examined this question through its inaugural next-gen board training program, aptly named ‘Yesod’, meaning ‘foundation’ in Hebrew. Together with nine other young professionals, I was given the chance to consider this and other governance issues. In the process we gained greater insight into the board management of Jewish Care, a not-for-profit organisation which supports more than 5,000 people annually in the Victorian Jewish community primarily through the provision of disability, aged care and other social services.

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Lack of Humanity

Lack of Humanity is the 4th video in our series ‘Rising From The Ashes’ where Holocaust survivors talk about the horrific and cold-blooded scenes they witnessed and experienced during the Holocaust.

How did their experiences influence their attitudes towards Germans? How do they feel about the world today?

As Henry Salter says in the opening scene, “If you didn’t go through, you couldn’t understand.”

We proudly publish this video a few days before Yom Hashoah (24 April 2017) so that we can ensure that we never forget.

**Jewish Care warns that this video contains graphic images that may be disturbing to some viewers**

A Safe Place To Live

Our Jewish community is a place we can all call home.
But what about those people, who, for one reason or another find themselves at risk of being homeless?

Did you know that every night, over 200 Jewish people in Victoria are presumed homeless? What happens to them? Who is there to support them and find them a place to live?

How does it make you feel to know that Jewish Care Victoria is here to assist individuals, families, women with children and the elderly experiencing housing difficulties to find safe and affordable accommodation, where they can feel comfortable, supported and connected to the Melbourne Jewish community.

With this video we launched our 2017 Annual Appeal. We need to raise $3 million to help fund our vital social justice programs and services that receive little or no government funding.

By donating to Jewish Care you can make a difference to someone’s life!
If you are able to donate, please go to today!

Generations Connecting Through Tech, Tea & Tales


On Monday 13 February, we were happy to have Norman Hermant, ABC News Social Affairs Correspondent visit Jewish Care to produce a story about a new program called Tech, Tea & Tales.

This exciting inter-generational program is being run by Humankind Enterprises (StoryPod) and Lively in partnership with Jewish Care. The 6-week program, the first of its kind in Australia to be run in an aged care facility, involves young ‘story helpers’ working one-on-one with Jewish Care residents, to help them use technology to connect with friends, family and their interests, and record their stories and life experiences on film.

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Strength to Survive

When lives are being slaughtered around you and you know you are next in line, how do you build up a resilience so strong that gives you a strength of body and soul to survive?

‘Strength to Survive’, the 3rd in the ‘Rising From The Ashes’ series, recounts the stories of Holocaust survivors who did whatever they could to escape the atrocities surrounding them.

Some say they survived because of a miracle, while others performed unbelievable acts of bravery, daring and determination. Whatever their reasons may be, their stories are true examples of the strength of the human spirit that must be recorded and shared for generations to come.

This video was launched on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January 2017. We hope that you all help us in sharing the message around the world to show that we will #neverforget and the #weremember.

Lack of Affordable Housing in the Jewish Community

By Hugh Cattermole & Melinda Kidgell  


Addressed in Pro Bono Australia’s article on 18 January, ‘NFPs Warn Moving On the Homeless Does Not Make Them Disappear’, the open letter signed by 36 funded Victorian homelessness, housing and social services organisations is a powerful commentary on the root causes and stigma surrounding homelessness.

Jewish Care is an unfunded provider of housing services to our community. Jewish Care addresses the root causes of homelessness, and provides transitional housing support to those experiencing homelessness, or those at risk of homelessness.

Each issue raised in the letter parallels the experience of being on the front line of the current affordable housing crisis in the Victorian Jewish community. We also urgently need more housing – the numbers just don’t add up. There have always been long waiting times for public and community housing, however what we have seen escalate in the previous 12 months is the numbers of people in the Victorian Jewish community being squeezed out of the private rental market. This has had a significant impact on the poor and those on a fixed or low income.

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