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M'kom Shalom Offers a Place of Peace for Survivors of Suicide

The death of a loved one is always a tragedy for surviving friends and family. But when the death is a suicide, survivors suffer from a unique set of issues, including stigma, shame and guilt.

M'kom Shalom, an offshoot group of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services' New York Jewish Healing Center, addresses the spiritual, emotional and psychological needs of the people left behind by suicide. The program recently received a grant from the New York Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that will enable M'kom Shalom to offer monthly sessions at no charge for one year.

M'kom Shalom, which means "A Place of Peace" in Hebrew, is a monthly drop-in group of 6-10 survivors. Its connection to Judaism varies: participants are Orthodox, secular, affiliated and alienated. They come from every borough of New York City and a few have come from hundreds of miles away. What they have in common is "confrontation of a secret that is hard for the community to name and address," according to Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, CSW, rabbinic director of JBFCS and the NYCJH.

"M'kom Shalom gives survivors hope and healing in a way that a therapist, synagogue or other bereavement group cannot," he says. For information on M'kom Shalom meetings, call Rabbi Weintraub at (212) 399-2320, ext. 215.

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