“Holy Gloves” By Rabbi Allen Maller

Holy Gloves

By Rabbi Allen Maller


 To learn more about Rabbi Allen S. Maller click here




One winter, a young boy lost his only pair of gloves. “I felt very guilty about it,” he said, “don’t ask me why. I never even asked for another pair. I don’t think I ever had another pair until I went into the army. Ever since then, for me, being rich is being warm.”


Can you see him? Can you see this boy, 11 or 12 years old, this boy who loses a glove and is scared to tell his parents, because he knows they can’t afford another pair? Can you see this boy who never forgets what it’s like to go around with bare hands in the bone-chilling winter of New York City? What happens to a boy like this?


Sometimes a boy like this grows up angry — angry that his parents couldn’t provide for him; angry with richer folks around him who walked right by and never gave a thought to a kid whose hands were freezing in the cold.


Sometimes a boy like this grows up hungry; acquisitive; working as hard as he can to amass a pile of money so he can buy more gloves than he’ll ever need.


Sometimes he grows up scared that everything he’s got will slip through his fingers and he’ll be out in the cold once again.


And sometimes he grows up callous, hard and suspicious — damned if he’ll offer anyone else a handout. He had to struggle to get where he is, after all — so why the hell shouldn’t they?


But this boy didn’t turn into a bitter tight-fisted man? He grow up to be Gloves Greenberg instead, a man who over 30 years gave thousands of pairs of gloves to the poor and homeless in New York City. WHY?


The answer seems clear from his obituary. It was his father. It was this father about whom we know almost nothing, except that he was a baker who taught his son one simple thing, one good and true lesson about life: No matter how deprived you are, he said, don’t deprive yourself of the Mitzvah of Tsadakah, the joy of giving.


And so an ordinary man with an unremarkable job took on a mitzvah—and in doing so, became extraordinary. Meyer Greenberg wasn’t a saint; although he might have been one of at least 36 unknown righteous Jewish men and women whose lives prevent the world from being destroyed.


He didn’t throw away his wealth and move to Calcutta to care for lepers. But for one month each year, for thirty years in a row, he gave out hundreds of pairs of gloves to the homeless.


The story of Gloves Greenberg would probably never make it into a standard self-help book — the kind of book that tells you how to flatten your stomach or break your addiction to the wrong kind of lover. But it is a profoundly Jewish self-help story and it can be an inspiration to all of us who have suffered, lost out, or been victimized. In the coming High Holy Days see in yourself how often you have overcome a wound to enrich another. This is the miracle of Tsadakah/giving. This is the miracle of Teshuvah. This is the miracle of human living. This is the miracle of a New Year.


Repentance, Atonement & Some Nails by Rabbi Allen Maller

Repentance, Atonement &  Some Nails


By Rabbi Allen Maller

 To learn more about Rabbi Allen S. Maller click here

Her mother once gave her a bag of nails and told her that every time she lost her temper or insulted somebody she must hammer a nail into the back of their fence.


The first day the girl hit 14 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as she learned to control her anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled. She discovered it was easier to hold her temper than to drive those nails into the fence.


Finally the day came when the girl didn’t lose her temper at all. She told her mother about it and the mother suggested that the girl now pull out one nail for each day that she was able to hold her temper. The days passed. Finally, she told her mother that all the nails were gone.


The mother took her daughter by the hand and led her to the fence. She said, “You have done well, my daughter, but look at all the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like these.” You can put a knife in a person and draw it out. It does not matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is almost as bad as a physical one.


“How can I repair the fence?” asked the girl. “Will it have to remain damaged forever?”


“Yes and no” said the mother. “Our Rabbis say that if the fence is alive and responds to the way you have changed, it too can change and heal itself. If the fence is dead to the possibility of your repentance it will carry its scars onward.  The fence will never be as it was before, but it doesn’t have to become like new to be a good fence. If you do your part and change, and the fence does its part in response, God will do something wonderful. God will promote a healing that will make you and the fence better. This process is called Atonement. It means that the changes that come about from repentance and forgiveness lead people to higher levels of relationship than was the case before.


“What happens if the fence doesn’t respond?” asked the girl. “Can I ever make it whole?”


“You should try on three different occasions,” said the mother, “but if the fence remains dead even after you have changed, YOU can’t force it to become whole. In that case you should fix another fence somewhere else. There are always lots of fences that need fixing, and whenever you fix a fence God will make something wonderful happen. That is the miracle of Atonement. God always responds to our attempts to change by helping us change and always responds to our change by giving us new and wonderful opportunities for Atonement. This is why we have a Day of Atonement ten days after the beginning of every New Year; so the New Year will be a better one than the last one.”


“Depression, You Are The Great Liar” by Julie Farmer

Depression, you are the great liar.

Backing me into a dark corner where only I can hear you.

Your accusatory voice like curling smoke from your vile mouth

Away from the safety of the ones who love me.

You beat me with a cudgel of intimidation

Telling me I am no good; do not belong here.

You throw all of my failures into my face like hot searing acid; burning me alive with shame.

Cold and alone in a corner, I cower, curled up with my back to dank rough stone.

The room is dark. I can’t find my way out.

You taunt me

I am too weak both physically and mentally.

I know you are waiting to take the final prize

You want me to give up

Who are you to try and take it all away from me?

You will not be there to help pick up the pieces for those left behind if I go

You will not provide for my children, cheer their triumphs or soothe them in my absence

Don’t you reach out your cruel hand for mine

I will not meet you in this dark place

I’d slaughter you, as you would me.


Written By Julie Farmer,

member of team THRIVE



Poem for when we GRIEVE or STRUGGLE by Rabbi Allen S. Maller

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Rabbi Allen S. Maller is my Rabbi.

As a thirteen year old child, this poem changed my life.

I am forever grateful to all the lessons I learned from my Rabbi.

Thank you, Rabbi Maller.[/box]

To learn more about Rabbi Allen S. Maller click here

When I die

(…or stuggle, am in pain, or feel lost)

If you need to weep

Cry for someone

Walking the street beside you.


And when you need me

Put your arms around others

And give them what you need to give me.

You can love me most by letting

Hands touch hands, and

Souls touch souls.

You can love me most by

Sharing your Simchas (goodness) and

Multiplying your Mitzvot (acts of kindness).

You can love me most by

Letting me live in your eyes

And not on your mind.


And when you say Kaddish (prayer) for me

Remember what our Torah teaches,

Love doesn’t die

People do.

So when all that’s left of me is love

Give me away.


To learn more about Rabbi Allen S. Maller click here







“Choo Choo The Train That COULD” by Robin Mohilner

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This story is for children.

The main character of this story struggles with mental illness.

SUICIDE is a subject of this story.

The purpose of this story is to create space for parents and children to have conversations about mental illness[/box]




There once was a little train, named Choo Choo.


Choo Choo had been riding along in his life taking in all the different scenery of the world from the train tracks. Choo Choo truly got to see the beauty in life.


One day, Choo Choo came to a place on the tracks where he could no longer see the tracks…they disappeared around a curve and Choo Choo could not see where the curve was going…so Choo Choo stopped and got really scared.


Choo Choo said, “I don’t know where I am going. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I guess I will stop.”


So Choo Choo stopped…he stopped for a few days…then a few weeks…then a month rolled around. Choo Choo just sat there wondering what it was like beyond the curve.


Choo Choo imagined all sorts of bad things.


Choo Choo heard of this thing called a CLIFF and heard horror stories of what happens to trains when they fall off of them.


Choo Choo heard of this thing called a bridge and the whole idea of crossing on a narrow path with nothing but a big fall down on both sides, scared the crap out of him.


Choo Choo is afraid of heights.


So Choo Choo waited and waited and waited at this curve on the tracks imagining all these bad things that would happen.


One day a GOAT walked over to Choo Choo, the goat’s name is “Mr. Deer”.


The GOAT, Mr. Deer, said to Choo Choo, “Hey Man, I’ve watched you here for weeks. What are you doing?”


Choo Choo said, “Well…I’m scared to go around that curve. I’m pretty sure that if I go around that curve I will fall off of a cliff.”


Mr. Deer said, “Nah man, around that curve is a field of wild flowers…there aren’t any cliffs there.”


Choo Choo said, “Really…there aren’t any cliffs?!? Are you sure…how can I believe you?”


Mr. Deer said, “Watch me, I’ll go around the curve and when I come back I’ll prove that I didn’t fall off a cliff AND I’ll have some wild-flowers.”


Mr. Deer did what he said and when he returned he returned with wild-flowers.


Choo Choo believed him. He closed his eyes and went around the curve and when he opened them, there was a field, just as the goat had said.


Choo Choo ran full steam ahead. He learned that he didn’t have to be afraid of curves any more so when he got to curves in life…he kept going! He was so happy.


But then one day, Choo Choo faced his worst nightmare EVER….



He came upon a bridge that was hundreds of feet up in the air…he began to have a panic attack.


Choo Choo didn’t know what to do…he truly believed he was going to die.


The problem with being a train is that you can’t just turn around OR go in the opposite direction. All he can do is go forward.


So Choo Choo chose to stop. He stayed frozen and unable to move for a whole YEAR.


Every day and every night for the first 6 months, he cried…telling himself, “I can’t cross that bridge, I will die.”


The last 6 months he stopped crying, he had run all out of tears and just felt numb. The only words he spoke to anyone when they tried to speak with him was, “I can’t.”


Saying “I can’t” to all the birds, butterflies, deer and goats worked…what were they going to do to him. They couldn’t get him to move….


But at the end of Choo Choo’s year of being stopped, a BIG steam train pulled up behind him and when he moved on the tracks it felt like an earthquake and when he TOOTED it could be heard across the land.


Choo Choo didn’t know it was another train. When the earth began to rumble and he heard the loud TOOT…he thought he was going to die. In fact, he wanted to die.


As the quaking and sound got closer…Choo Choo thought…”I just want to jump off the cliff!” But he couldn’t, it was just too high…he was too scared to jump.


Choo Choo felt this quaking and heard the tooting coming closer for two whole weeks.


Each day he told himself, “I want to die. Just jump off the cliff.”


He just couldn’t do it. He was too scared.


So the day came when the quaking and the tooting got so close that Choo Choo could no longer hold onto the tracks and felt that the earth was going to crumble right beneath him.


“TOOOOOOOOOOOOT TOOOOOOOOOOOOT” came from right behind him. And it was night time. Choo Choo couldn’t see anything. All he saw was this blinding light surrounding him.




Choo Choo didn’t know what to do. It was on top of him. All he could do was oil his wheels (it’s like peeing in your pants but for trains).


“TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT” went on for 3 whole days…Choo Choo didn’t move. He just cried and said, “God, why am I not dead yet?”


It was silent for 3 days. The silence was even worse than the “TOOOOOOOOOOOT TOOOOOOOOOOOT”


Choo Choo truly wanted to jump off the cliff, but he couldn’t move because he was too scared to hold onto the train tracks.


On the 7th day, the Conductor from the HUGE train steps off of the train and approaches Choo Choo….


The man, whose name is Arnold, says, “What are you doing?”


Choo Choo says, “Waiting to die.”


The conductor pauses and thinks…


“I could ask him “Why?” but he’ll probably tell me a very very long story that won’t cause him to move……


‎….Or I can help him move.”


The conductor decides that it is not in his train’s best interests or Choo Choo’s best interest to push Choo Choo off the tracks or across the bridge even though he has the power to do it.


Instead he talks to Choo Choo for a bit and discovers that Choo Choo really wants to die because he is so scared, but just doesn’t want to fall down hundreds of feet off of a cliff.


The Conductor is in a predicament…so he thinks and thinks…


He comes back to Choo Choo and says, “Here’s what I want you to do…


You let go of the railroad. I need you to grab hold of the rail road today.”


The next day he comes back and says, “Now that you are holding onto the railroad, see that rock right there (10 feet from Choo Choo) I want you to roll to it.”


Choo Choo felt that it was a reasonable request and goal so he rolled to the rock and stopped.


Choo Choo grew so incredibly scared because now he was closer to the big fall. He began to panic.


The Conductor, Arnold, swiftly came to calm Choo Choo down. He said, “Choo Choo, you’ve got 3,000 feet of land under your wheels, you are safe. You are not falling down, just hold onto the rail.”


Choo Choo listened and held onto the rail.


The next day the Conductor said, “Choo Choo, see that bridge? I’ve been across that bridge on my train 900 times. I’ve never fallen off of it and I am a lot bigger and heavier than you. If I can cross the bridge. I know you can.”


Choo Choo’s automatic response was, “No I can’t!”


But he thought about it all day and said to himself, “Wait, what if it is possible that I won’t fall off of the bridge? What if it is possible that I can make it to the other side? Maybe then I don’t have to stay here and wait to die?”


Choo Choo sat and thought about it for 6 days.


On the 7th day, the Conductor said, “Choo Choo, it is time to cross the bridge. I won’t push you. But I will teach you how.”



The conductor said, “See that slat of wood on the tracks. That is what I want you to focus on. Focus on reaching that slat of wood. Roll your wheels until you reach that slat of wood.”


Choo Choo agreed that he would do it. And he kept his word.


The Conductor, Arnold, gave him this goal 36 more times….


On the 37th time, Arnold said, “Choo Choo, see that tree with the goat standing next to it, I want you to roll your wheels until you reach it. Choo Choo agreed and kept his word.”


The End.




Types of Bipolar Disorder & Related Disorders – Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Before a professional diagnoses any mental illness,

it is important that they know your medical history and any medical conditions or problems that could cause mood disturbance.

Bipolar Disorder is solely diagnosed by the presence of MANIA.


This means that a person experiences:

– Hallucinations: our brains experience things with our senses that are not really there. We hear things, see things, smell things, taste things and feel things that are not really there. IT MEANS THEY ARE REAL TO THE PERCEIVER…NO ONE ELSE CAN EXPERIENCE THEM.

– Delusions: are beliefs about things that are happening, have happened or will happen that are not and have not taken place based on the perception of others. IT MEANS THEY ARE REAL TO THE PERCEIVER…NO ONE ELSE CAN EXPERIENCE THEM.



Is based solely on the presence of:

1. Full-blown mania

– Full-blown mania is mania that disrupts your ability to function in work, socially, in your responsibilities and roles and contribute to productively to society.

– Full-blown mania puts yourself and others at risk for harm.

2. Mixed Episodes

– Mixed episodes are episodes that have BOTH mania and depression taking place during the same day.

3. Rapid Cycling

– Rapid Cycling is when a person has 4 or more cycles of mania and depression in one year.


Is based solely on the presence of HYPOMANIA.

Hypomania is a form of mania that does not significantly disrupt your ability to function.

You are still able to work without losing your job. You are still able to function in your daily responsibilities and social relationships.

Bipolar Disorder, Type 2 is diagnosed when a person IS NOT rapid cycling…meaning that they do not have more than 4 episodes a year.

People with Bipolar Disorder, Type 2 tend to struggle more with depression than with mania.

Depression tends to be more severe.

The depression may impair the ability to function to the point that it disrupts the ability to work, function in daily responsibilities, social relationships etc.


This is when a person experiences HYPOMANIA (mild mania) and MILD DEPRESSION and it cycles back and forth between episodes for a period of 2 years.

Neither the mania or the depression are severe enough to disrupt the ability to function in their responsibilities.


This diagnosis is for people who experience MANIA that does not fall into the other categories…

For example:

People who ONLY experience full-blown mania without depression. This may still be diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder, Type 1 by many psychiatrists.

ONLY experience hypomania without depression.


[box] These related diagnoses are NOT my first hand specialization based on my experience…I do not live with these disorders…I am sharing from my education and knowledge and experience as a therapist with working with clients)[/box]


Is a diagnosis given to someone who experiences Bipolar Disorder or Major Depressive Disorder or another Mood Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)

That experiences psychosis during time periods when they are NOT experiencing depression or mania.

With Bipolar Disorder, the psychosis ONLY occurs during mania or depression.


Is a diagnosis that is given when a person experiences delusions and hallucinations for a period of more than 6 months.

As with the majority of mental health conditions out there, schizophrenia can be treated with a combination of therapy and medication. However, the medicines used in the treatment of schizophrenia, such as Seroquel for example, can have side effects and therefore sometimes it can be necessary to try alternatives.

Seroquel Withdrawal Psychosis refers to the appearance of psychosis when the dosage of Seroquel is reduced, especially where the reduction is too fast, or without the necessary preparations.

Ultimately, if schizophrenia is well managed, by recognizing the signs of any acute episodes, taking medicine as prescribed, and talking to others about the condition, it is entirely possible to reduce the chance of severe relapses.


Is a diagnosis that is given when a person experiences delusions and hallucinations for a period of less than 6 months.


BPD is a diagnosis of the PERSONALITY.

This is is NOT KNOWN if it is a genetic disorder. It does not cause depression or mania.

This is a disorder MAY BE a reflection of our ATTACHMENT with our primary caregivers.

People who often have Borderline Personality Disorder struggled as babies and young children who do not know what to expect from their primary care giver.

It is common for people with bipolar disorder to have borderline personality disorder because their primary caregiver was bipolar and they were not able to know what to expect from them…

Example, children do not know if mommy will be happy to see them or sad to see them. They will get confused messages from mommy that say things like “Come here & go away”

Borderline Personality Disorder affects ATTACHMENT:

People often have an intense fear of abandonment or feel abandoned.

They put people up on pedestals one moment then knock them down the next.

Trust is very hard because they struggle with uncertainty and confusion about if their needs will be met.


This is diagnosed when a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event that is a threat to their life and as a result, they experience extreme anxiety and paranoia, nightmares, vivid memories and flashbacks that looks like psychosis (they re-live the event as though it is happening right now)

Most of the time, seeing a therapist or counselor who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder will help to relieve some of their symptoms of anxiety and paranoia. In some cases, people may even decide to try something like these edible marijuanas canada located, (if you live there) to see if this can help them back into a healthier mindset.

PTSD relates to bipolar disorder because it can resemble mania: irritability, emotional outbursts, impulsive behavior.

People experiencing PTSD may be misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder if not thoroughly assessed.

It is common that people with bipolar disorder also experience PTSD. Many people with bipolar disorder have experienced severe trauma that endangered their lives.


How to take baby-steps in order to thrive with bipolar disorder.

Using this analogy…

“There was a sidewalk that had a hole in it. As I walked by it I fell into the hole. The next day as I walked by I walked around the hole. The following day I crossed the street when I saw the hole. Finally, I chose a different street. It’s small goals, one day at a time”


I will break down baby steps.

Step 0


If we can’t see or feel where we are we are and that there is a place to stand…we can’t stand, period.

If we CANNOT see that we are having an episode, an emotional roller-coaster, an emotional outburst or responding impulsively

…this is where we are.


0.25 If we can see where we are, but don’t have a place to stand…at least we know that standing is possible.

If we CAN see that we are having an episode, an emotional roller-coaster, an emotional outburst or responding impulsively

…this is where we are.


0.50 If we know standing is possible, yet we do not have the strength to stand for long…we can practice standing for a little bit at a time, then rest.

We stand here when we see that it is possible to prevent

an episode, an emotional roller-coaster, an emotional outburst or responding impulsively

but we do not know how.


0.75 If we can get ourselves standing we can begin to build balance and practice standing with balance.

We stand here when we see that it is possible to prevent

an episode, an emotional roller-coaster, an emotional outburst or responding impulsively

but we do not know how…but we are learning and trying to see what works for us.

Step 1


We stand with balance and take our first step forward by channeling our strength:

a.) we have to free up a foot so it can move…this is the same as freeing up our thoughts in order to think differently.

b.) we have to plant our other foot and leg with strength in the ground and keep balance as we use it to propel ourselves forward…this is the same as taking what has worked in the past to help us and using it in the present.

We stand here when we see that it is possible to prevent

an episode, an emotional roller-coaster, an emotional outburst or responding impulsively

AND we have figured out what works for us…we just have to develop our ability to implement it.

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And even when we are great walkers, there will be times when we trip and will either have to catch our balance really quickly or fall down and get back up again.


This is true for episodes, emotional roller-coasters, emotional outbursts and impulsive behavior.


Step 2


We have to learn to recognize what holes and cracks look like….this is the same as recognizing what triggers episodes, emotional roller-coasters and outbursts and impulsivity.

We won’t see every episode, an emotional roller-coaster, an emotional outburst or responding impulsively that are out there…we will still fall from time to time, but we will get better at recognizing them.


Step 3


We have to be able to see where our FOOT ends and where the hole or crack begins so we don’t put our foot in it…


This is the same as learning with time what makes who you are different from an episode, an emotional roller-coaster, an emotional outburst or an impulsive response.


Step 4

Once we know that we are NOT the hole or crack…when we know that we are affected by the hole and crack…then we have power to respond to the hole and crack differently.



Step 5

NOW we have OPTIONS…


We can start by seeing the hole or crack and pointing at it and saying, “There’s that damn hole / crack/ episode, emotional roller-coaster etc that made me fall down. I hate it!”




5.25. Next we can make up our minds that, “I am going to do my best to not step on this hole / crack / episode / emotional roller-coaster / impulse etc because I am going to pay attention to where the cracks and holes are in my life.”



5.50. We can make a decision, “I will choose how I respond to this hole/ crack / EMOTION I am feeling.”


We can choose how to respond if we take time to breathe and think before we automatically respond to the emotion.

5.75. Then, I will make it harder for the hole/crack/etc to trip me and make me fall down by not even getting close to it…I will cross the street.


Emotionally that would be NOT responding right away to every feeling we have. It would be noticing the feeling and letting it pass.


Step 6


“I will take a different street that does not have as many holes and cracks on it.”


What this means is choosing HOW WE THINK AND CHOOSE TO RESPOND in ways that are supportive of who we are and making choices that reflect what we want for ourselves.