The Blue Dove Foundation at The Branch 2023 Annual Meeting

All are welcome to The Branch (formerly Jewish Residential Services) as we explore the topic of traditional Jewish values – or middot – as a guide to eliminate the shame and stigma around mental illness. We welcome Justin Milrad, President and co-founder of the Blue Dove Foundation as our keynote speaker.

When it comes to mental health and addiction, no individual or group is immune. The Jewish community wrestles with these problems as much as the rest of society does. Through program, promotional, and support partnerships, The Blue Dove Foundation strives to transform the way the Jewish community understands and responds to mental illness and addictions. Both the Blue Dove Foundation and The Branch provide a mental health approach that combines dignity with awareness to move closer to a stigma-free environment and become sources of health and healing.

You can learn more about the Blue Dove Foundation here

Please join us for the 2023 Annual Meeting of The Branch at The Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse on October 26, 2023 at 7:00pm.

Dessert will be served. Dietary laws observed.

Please RSVP to or call 412-325-0039 by October 19, 2023.

Fighting Stigma: Breaking Down the Walls

See how members of the Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse are fighting mental health stigma by sharing their experiences in the evening of storytelling “Breaking Down the Walls: building Empowerment”. Clubhouse member Heidi Morris shares her insight in this video.

Upcoming Events Supporting Mental Health In Our Area.

May 25- Join the 8th Annual Mental Health Recovery Fest 2023 to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month! Learn more.

May 31- (For Parents) Supporting Kids With Anxiety: A Jewish Approach-The Annual Alex Seed Memorial Lecture. Learn more.

June 7- Trauma-Informed Yoga at 10.27 Healing Partnership

Gentle yoga with a skilled and caring yoga instructor experienced in trauma-informed care. Free of charge, registration required.

June 12- Community Building and Expressive Drum Circles

Healing Partnership hosts drop-in community drum circles on the 2nd Monday of each month. Free, no registration required, no skill needed to participate, instruments provided. Learn more.

Ongoing- Drop-in Therapy

The 10.27 Healing Partnership will be providing drop-in counseling in both the Squirrel Hill and South Hills JCCs. The drop-in counseling is fully free, no insurance or appointment needed. Learn more.

Mental Illness in the Media

Media portrayals of those with mental illness often skew toward either stigmatization or trivialization. Consequently, all forms of media—including television, film, magazines, newspapers, and social media—have been criticized for disseminating negative stereotypes and inaccurate descriptions of those with mental illness. Learn more.

February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month

Held every February, Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) is a unified effort among Jewish organizations and communities worldwide to raise awareness and foster inclusion of people with disabilities. There are several opportunities for members of the Jewish community and beyond to learn more about current issues facing people with disabilities, barriers to opportunities, and best practices for disability inclusion in faith communities and daily life.  

Throughout the month, The Branch will hold events to highlight the importance of inclusion when it comes to those living with a mental health diagnosis. Event Attendees will hear first hand from people in our community and beyond.

“As a local leader in services for people with disabilities, The Branch is looking forward to exploring the ways having a mental health diagnosis impacts the lives of people in our community. Our goal is to ensure that disability inclusion is the norm in  Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, not only in February, but throughout the year”, said Nancy Gale, Executive Director of The Branch.

Click here to learn more about JDAIM.

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Breaking Down the Walls: Building Empowerment

On February 23rd from 5:30pm – 7:30pm, the Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse will be holding “Breaking Down the Walls: building empowerment” for a night of spoken storytelling by Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse members aimed to break down the walls around mental illness. Community leader, Robert Levin will be presented the Shore Whitehill Award at the event. This annual award is given to a disability inclusion champion in the Jewish community.

The event will also raise crucial funds for the Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse, a licensed psychiatric and social rehabilitation program of The Branch (formerly JRS) located in Squirrel Hill. The Clubhouse provides a warm, welcoming community where adults whose lives have been disrupted by mental illness come together to discover and develop their strengths and abilities, build self-confidence, and gain valuable social and vocational skills that prepare them for more productive, rewarding, meaningful lives. 

“Everybody at the Clubhouse works together. Everybody has a say in what we do. The Clubhouse means a lot to me. I consider it my second family,” said Mike, a Clubhouse member and a presenter at the “Breaking Down the Walls” event. 

The event is being held during the month of February aligns with Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month. As a local leader in services for people with disabilities, The Branch, along with other organizations, is holding events to educate the community about how to foster a sense of belonging for people with disabilities. 

To purchase tickets to “Breaking Down the Walls: a storytelling event” click here or call 412.325.0039.

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Temple Sinai to Hold JDAIM Event

Temple Sinai is teaming up with Positively Painting Program, an organization started by parents who lost their very creative daughter to suicide. Their mission is encouraging and facilitating positive mental health with beautiful art. They aim to increase the conversations, decrease the stigma, and provide opportunities for everyone in the community to create art that is a part of that effort.

During Temple Sinai’s program, attendees will have lunch followed by painting on canvases. From there, the canvases will be taken to the Positively Painting Program where they will be overlaid with messages of inspiration and hope. The art will become an installation at Temple Sinai. The goal of the program is to help destigmatize mental health issues and talk about the importance of mental health.

People of all artistic abilities are welcome to the event which will be held Sunday, February 19, 2023 at Noon. Click here to learn more and register.

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