Temicha is intended to assist Orthodox Jewish parents of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals. Temicha provides comfort and support to parents by providing a venue for parents to communicate with one another anonymously. Temicha also provides parents with information about developments in the Orthodox community related to sexual and gender identity issues. Temicha is designed to help parents through the challenging process of coming to terms with their child’s sexual/gender identity.
Temicha provides a moderated email discussion listserv. Our moderators aim to take a minimal role in group discussions and intend to guide group discussion only when necessary or when specific information is requested from group members. Temicha is a warm and accepting place for parents to communicate with one another without fear of being judged. The Temicha list is NOT intended to assist parents in attempts to alter their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The goal of the list is to provide parents with a forum through which they can receive support and keep their families intact while coming to terms with their child’s sexual/gender identity. Participation on the list is completely free of charge and parents may stay on the email list for as long as they wish.
Some common issues that Orthodox parents might struggle with:
Naomi Mark, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, was trained at the Columbia School of Social Work and at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. Ms. Mark was an adjunct clinical professor of social work at Columbia University School of Social Work, a faculty member at the Institute of Psychosocial Oncology and the Educational Coordinator for Social Work Education at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where she also served on its hospital-wide Ethics Committee. Currently, in addition to maintaining her private practice, Ms. Mark is the Deputy Director of the Office of Staff Development and Training Operations for NYC’s Human Resources Administration and regularly conducts training workshops on family/work issues for Performance Strategies International, L.L.C. Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists and others.
She appeared in films such as the award winning documentary “Trembling Before G-d”, and was the Coordinator of the Trembling Before G-d Mental Health Project. She has been interviewed on Good Day New York (channel 5, New York City) in a segment on “The Myth of the Evil Stepmother” , serves as a consultant to the Stepfamily Foundation and is Certified in the administration of the Myers Briggs Personality Profile Indicator. She has served as the book editor for the academic journal of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work ‘s Social Work Forum, has presented papers at many conferences, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and has published many articles in professional journals. (Ms. Mark’s article “Identities in Conflict: Forging an Orthodox Gay Identity” was published in the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health 2008.)
Dr. Erez Harari completed his bachelor of science degree with highest honors at Brooklyn College, City University of New York and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Fordham University. Over the course of his graduate studies, he has trained in various clinical settings, including the Fordham University Counseling Center, the Addictions Institute at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital, the Intensive Personality Disorders Program at Bellevue Hospital, and the Inwood Community Services Center. He was also awarded a senior teaching fellowship at Fordham University. He is currently completing a fellowship at Yale University's Department of Psychiatry conducting Dialectical Behavior Therapy for individuals struggling with borderline personality disorder and co-morbid substance use disorders at Yale-New Haven Hospital's Intensive Outpatient Program.
In 2001 he co-founded and currently serves as co-executive director of JQY, an organization that provides support for and advocates on behalf of lgbt Orthodox Jews. Over the past ten years, this organization has flourished under his leadership and currently consists of over 500 members worldwide. In addition to providing direct care to this population through monthly support meetings, JQY is committed to educating mental health professionals about providing competent care to individuals who experience religious and sexual identity conflicts. JQY organizes numerous panels each year at various universities and mental health settings focused on providing support and appropriate care to this community. His doctoral research has focused on the relationship between religion, spirituality and mental health in gay Orthodox Jews.
Dr. Michelle Friedman did her undergraduate work at Barnard College where she majored in religion. After medical school at the New York University School of Medicine, she did an internship in medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital and then a residency in psychiatry at Mt. Sinai where she is on staff as an associate clinical professor of psychiatry. She then went on to receive a certificate in psychoanalysis at the Columbia University Institute.
At the present time, Dr. Friedman is devoting much of her professional time to the interface of psychiatry and religious life. She has spoken widely and published articles in both academic and popular journals. In addition to her private practice, she is the director of pastoral counseling at the open orthodox rabbinical seminary in Manhattan, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. She is working on a book that describes that program and discusses essential components of pastoral counseling education for clergy of all faith traditions.
Note: Although members are free to consult with one another about mental health issues and referrals, the role of the moderators is not to be a resource for mental health advice or referrals. Although mental health professionals will be moderating the list, their role is solely to guide discussions and ensure that the list guidelines are maintained by members, not to provide mental health consultations or referrals.