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Monday, May 4, 2009

Building Resilience in the Soul

FROM RABBI RICHARD ADDRESS, UNION FOR REFORM JUDAISM: A recent study looked at why some kids who witness domestic abuse are more resilient than others. The study reminded me of the need to look at the power of resilience in dealing with so many of the issues that confront us and our families. In congregations, an increasing number of clergy are confronted with issues that result from self-destructive behaviors in their congregations. Having a faith community that is supportive and nonjudgmental is proving to be a powerful tool in helping individuals and families deal with a variety of critical issues.
According to Rabbi Edythe Mencher, who created the program "Resilience of the Soul" for the Reform Judaism movement in North America, resilience is "the idea that we can be taught how to manage life's challenges in ways that promote health and wholeness." Resilience is built when individuals have an opportunity to experience themselves as worthwhile, cherished, and capable; share experiences, express concerns, and have their feelings validated; recall positive ways they have managed in the past; and discover new ways to solve problems, find calm, and draw upon human and spiritual sources of affirmation, cooperation, and hope.
Intimately involved with this concept of resilience is the need for faith in one's own self. We are seeing the importance of this now, as—with increasing frequency—individuals and families are feeling the effects of the current economic crisis. Faith in a goal and faith in one's own worth has never been more in need.