Awareness of Serious Mental Health Challenges

Without knowing the background and without judging the rabbi in this case, this is an illustration of why it is so critical that every Rabbi be empowered with the tools necessary to assist those who seek their counsel with mental health challenges, especially when undiagnosed. Underlying so many other issues is depression, anxiety etc. of course a Rabbi is often not a psychiatrist but a Rabbi must have the tools available and ready to understand the severity and to delegate to those who are trained to help.

Tzvi Ference
February 19 2016 at 6:44am ·
The power of שמע ישראל ה אלהינו ה אחד.
I have major depression and have attempted suicide in the past. Sometimes life gets so overwhelming that I just want to quit. That happened Wednesday night.
I was so overwhelmed that I made up my mind that this was it. I was going to quit life once and for all. This time for good. I was more determined than ever in my life to commit suicide.
I started driving down 195 from Miami Beach then headed North on 95 ready and determined to get onto the Florida turnpike and drive the wrong way against traffic and crash my car head on into a truck and kill myself.
15 minutes after I started driving I was almost onto the turnpike. I started saying שמע ישראל ה אלהינו ה אחד. First slowly then faster and over and over again. I was overcome with such emotion that I started crying. Crying hysterically to Hashem to help me. To help me with my pain. I was crying so hard and there were so many tears. I pulled over at the entrance to the turnpike and cried non stop for over 10 minutes.
That’s the power of faith. That’s the power of שמע. Whenever your in need and feeling overwhelmed just starting שמע. It helps. Trust me. Hashem listens. A simple prayer. But a powerful one.

Tzvi Ference
February 20 2016 at 1:30pm
I got banned from a conservative synagogue. I have been going there for 10 months. Including every morning for minyan for about 2 months. The Rabbi got very upset at me for reaching out to him and other members too much. I suffer from major depression and was trying to get help and some counseling from the Rabbi about my life and dealing with depression. He got upset at me for texting and calling him too much. The shul sent me a letter that I can no longer go there.
I love going there so I went this morning. The Rabbi had the security guard call the police. The police gave me a warning that if I go there again they would arrest me for trespassing. I feel discriminated against because of my mental illness. Instead of helping me, the Rabbi who has known me almost a year shoved me out the door and called the police. It seems that religion has no tolerance for people who have mental illness. In my experience religion and clergy tend to discriminate against people with mental illness instead of trying to help them.

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NBC Miami

Monday, Feb. 22, 2016

DAVIE, Fla. – A driver headed the wrong way was killed after slamming into a truck on Florida’s Turnpike in Broward County late Sunday night.
The crash happened just before 11:40 p.m. at Exit 53/Griffin Road.
Initial reports indicate that the wrong-way driver, identified as Tzvi Yeheskel Ference, 26, of Miami Beach, Fla., hit an 18-wheeler and flipped upside down.
Ference was killed, while two passengers inside the 18-wheeler were not injured.
Another driver tells NBC 6 that they swerved to avoid the accident and hit the rear of another vehicle. That driver was not injured.
The Turnpike was shut down at Exit 53/Griffin Road with all lanes completely blocked. All lanes were reopened at 6 a.m. Monday.
Courtesy of our news partner at
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