Reshet, the network for Jewish Youth Provision, held the UK’s first Healthy Relationships conference for over 100 informal educators from across the Jewish community.

The conference gave access to top educators and the latest findings relating to young people and the fast changing world around us.

Young people in the Jewish community, as much as elsewhere, face a variety of challenges. Self-harm, LGBT+ inclusion, stress management, addiction to alcohol, weed, pornography, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and more… It is our collective responsibility to provide our youth with the tools to create and manage their own Healthy Relationships.

The conference tackled pertinent issues such as metal well-being, the age of internet and dating and teen relationships. It was also designed to equip those responsible for young people in our community with tools to look for signs of problems as well as teaching them to care for themselves so they can best support our youth. To listen as well as to talk.

Keynote speaker writer and founder of The Self-Esteem Team, Natasha Devon MBE, talked about her experiences as a mental health campaigner and stated, “The issues young people face are the same in all communities. Some may be more reticent to talk about it. Everything I have heard today is not unique to the Jewish community. Jewishness isn’t the barrier. We must talk and we must listen.”

Author of the book, “How to Disappear completely” Kelsey Osgood spoke on body image, the modern interpretation of modern anorexia and related it to kashrut and Jewish philosophy.

“The Jewish community is a microcosm of the wider world,” explains Reshet’s Executive Director Shelley Marsh, “our young people have the same issues and we are seeing symptoms of anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm in young people increasing. The conference was vital so we can train educators to listen, learn and reflect on ways we can further support our young people, helping our youth to think critically about the relationships they are in with themselves, others and wider society.”

Reshet prides itself on creating ‘network forums’ of the best people in the field and talented colleagues from JAMI, Jewish Women’s Aid, Keshet UK, Hasmonean High (Girls), Streetwise and UJIA worked together to bring different perspectives and a wealth of experience and expertise.

Key quotes from the day:

“Empower people with the ability to get information, enjoy the journey, and break away from the system” Rabbi Daniel Epstein

“When you have a mental illness you are made to feel broken, there is an element of truth but it led me to the conclusion that it is the world that is in fact broken.” Natasha Devon MBE

“Recognise what makes people feel good. Note a genuine, relaxed smile and get them to spend more time in a space that makes them feel good.” Ruth Green

“Religion without philosophy is just OCD.” Author, Kelsey Osgood

“Thanks Reshet for enabling a first, ground-breaking communal wide conversation about Healthy Relationships.” Streetwise