Sign In Forgot Password

Smashing the Stigma

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 9 Iyyar 5779

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM2 West 70th Street


A Jewish Communal Conversation on Suicide and Depression




 (Clockwise from top left: Shanee Markovitz, Ruth Roth, Nathan Romano, and Rabbi Simkha Weintraub)

This important program will address a topic that is often misunderstood and underestimated yet affects our families, friends, and neighbors, in significant and sometimes devastating ways. If you or someone you know has been touched by depression or suicide, or even if not (yet), please join this communal conversation to support our effort to destigmatize mental illness. 


Learn the warning signs and possible interventions, as well as formal and informal treatment options and supports. In addition to Rabbi Simkha Weintraub, LCSW, who will address clinical signs and resources, we have two exceptional panelists, Shanee Markovitz and Ruth Roth, who will candidly share their first-hand encounters with suicide, and how they turned their personal tragedies into activism. The panel will be moderated by Nathan Romano, president of NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness, an advocacy group dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. 

To register and/or to support Shearith Israel's volunteer-run Caring Connection in its hesed activities and educational programming, click here.


Speaker bios:

 ​​​​​​Shanee Markovitz lost her mom to suicide during the summer of 2016. Shortly after, she penned a Facebook post that went viral, launching her into the mental health awareness spotlight. This past summer, Shanee was recognized in The Jewish Week’s “36 under 36” and published a cookbook, entitled Sharon’s Kitchen. Her mission is to end the stigma surrounding mental health, especially in the Jewish community. Shanee attended Midreshet Nishmat after graduating from Katz Yeshiva High School and is currently enrolled in Yeshiva University, studying political science on a pre-law track. She looks forward to sharing her story.

Read her recent article:

Ruth Tepler Roth received an MS from the Columbia University School of Social Work and an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business.  Her professional background includes experience as the director of marketing at Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, and VP of Marketing/Sales at ValueOptions, an insurance company specializing in mental health/substance abuse services. Most recently, she worked as director of admissions/PR at Ben Porat Yosef.

She is a wife, and a mother of three children- two daughters, and a son who took his own life. The cataclysmic impact of her son’s death caused a major shift in her awareness and understanding of mental illness and suicide; she now devotes much of her time and energy towards helping to destigmatize mental illness, speaking,  and writing on topics related to mental illness awareness in daily life that have been published in online blogs, (Times of Israel, Kveller, Modern Loss), and providing support to both people who struggle with their own mental illness, as well as parents and siblings of those who suffer from a mental illness. 

Currently, she is involved in sponsoring and implementing a pilot program, “Jonathan’s Fellowship”, whose goal is to provide support to high school students struggling with mental illness, and friends who wish to provide support.

Watch Ruth, her family and Jonathan's friends speak candidly in OHEL’s groundbreaking video, A Life Worth Living (5 minute abridged version).

Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, LCSW serves as Rabbinic Director of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services in New York, where he offers Jewish spiritual counseling and leads Jewish spiritual support groups for Jews confronting illness, trauma, and bereavement, as well as training seminars for rabbis and mental health professionals.  He is the founder and co-facilitator of M’kom Shalom, a monthly meeting for Jews who have lost a close one to suicide, which has been an ongoing supportive network since December 1999.  Rabbi Weintraub has written and lectured widely on issues related to Loss, Depression, Trauma, Suicide, Recovery and Resilience, including the use of traditional texts and practices for Jewish spiritual healing. 

Moderated by Nathan Romano, President, NAMI

Nathan Romano, MBA, joined NAMI-NYC in 2006 with a desire to help reshape society's negative view of mental illness and those it affects. As the only child of a single mom with bipolar disorder, Mr. Romano watched her struggle with the illness and its related social and economic issues. He also learned firsthand of structural issues inherent in a medical establishment that did not always have consumers' best interests at heart. Mr. Romano is the Chief Operating Officer at York Capital Management. Prior to this position, he held senior roles at Goldman, Sachs & Co, Credit Suisse, and Bear Stearns. He also worked at Bain & Company in the firm’s private equity practice. He received an MBA with honors from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California, where he walked on to the tennis team and majored in Finance and Entrepreneurship.

Thank you to our passionate event committee:

Dr. Victoria Bengualid

Zoya Raynes

Suzanne Stern


Thank you to our community partners:

Ohab Zedek, Shearith Israel, Ansche Chesed, BAbayit, B’nai Jeshurun, Darkhei Noam, Drisha, Jewish Center, Manhattan Day School, Ramath Orah, Rodeph Sholom, West Side Institutional Synagogue

Share Print Save To My Calendar
Tue, December 10 2019 12 Kislev 5780