Food, Body Image and Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community

Conference for Professionals, Educators, Rabbis and Students

Keynote speakers at the event will be Esther Altmann, PhD., a Manhattan psychologist and eating disorders specialist and Senior Consultant, Orthodox Jewish Eating Disorders Program, Renfrew Center; and Rabbi Abraham Twerski, MD, Founder and Medical Director Emeritus of Gateway Rehabilitation Center, psychiatrist, and prolific author.

Sunday, June 7th, 2009
Ramaz Middle School
New York, NY

Full details and registration at

There are many theories as to why there has been a rise of eating disorders in the Jewish community. Some say it’s because of the pressures for the need to control; some attribute it to the influence of the media and its emphasis on slimness; and still others have other reasons. Whatever the cause, the fact remains that eating disorders are a real and malevolent presence in our community today. Therefore, the Orthodox Union, in conjunction with the Renfrew Center Foundation, is sponsoring a seminar on “Food, Body Image, and Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community,” on Sunday, June 7, from 9:00 am-5:00 pm. It will take place at Ramaz Middle School, 114 East 85th Street, New York City.

Here are some of the program highlights:


Eating Disorders: The Healing Power of the Jewish Community
Esther Altmann, PhD

So many Jewish girls live on the edge of an eating disorder – hovering, but not crossing over the line to a full blown syndrome. Their preoccupation and angst about food and body drain precious emotional and intellectual resources that could be directed toward more productive endeavors. Eating disorders can be life-threatening, debilitating, chronic conditions. Early detection and treatment can help prevent the anguish and suffering of young Jewish women and their families. Over the years there have been repeated efforts in the Jewish community to address the problem of eating disorders, yet the illness persists. Are there cultural stressors that may contribute to the problem? How might Jewish values mitigate eating disorders and their consequences? Dr. Altmann will address these issues and share clips from the documentary film “Hungry To Be Heard.”

Esther Altmann, PhD is an eating disorders specialist and Senior Consultant to the Orthodox Jewish Eating Disorders Program at The Renfrew Center in New York. Dr. Altmann is currently on the teaching faculty at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School and the Drisha Institute. Dr. Altmann is a psychologist in private practice in Manhattan.


Spirituality, Self-Esteem and Recovery
Rabbi Abraham Twerski, MD

Eating becomes disordered when food serves some purpose other than nutrition. Food can be used as a tranquilizer, temporarily relieving the distress of anxiety, or as a means for demonstrating control. It is necessary to address the sources of anxiety and the circumstances that cause unmanageable feelings. Failure to do so leaves a void, which may be experienced as anxiety. Self-fulfillment requires using all the traits that distinguish a person from other living things. The totality of these traits can be described as the human spirit. Exercising the traits that comprise the spirit constitutes spirituality. A person can attain optimum self-esteem only by becoming or striving to become everything one can be. Hence, self-esteem requires the self-fulfillment of spirituality.

Abraham J. Twerski, MD is the Founder/Medical Director Emeritus of the nationally acclaimed Gateway Rehabilitation Center. An ordained Rabbi, practicing psychiatrist, and prolific author of more than 50 books, Dr. Twerski is recognized as an international authority in the field of chemical dependency. He has been Clinical Director, Department of Psychiatry at St. Francis Hospital in Pittsburgh, Founder of the first Pennsylvania program for nurses with addiction problems, and Chairman of the Pennsylvania Medical Society Committee on the Impaired Physician. The recipient of honorary degrees from St. Vincent’s College, Duquesne University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Twerski has received numerous awards including the Nelson J. Bradley Life Time Achievement Award from the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers.

Inspire, Be Inspired, Female Inspiration

Project Inspire – Know What to Answer

Project Inspire is sponsoring a three-part program at the Young Israel of Queens Valley to instruct members of the frum community to effectively engage in kiruv discussions and activities. The second session is scheduled for Tuesday, November 25, from 8:00 to 10:00 pm. The cost for the entire series is $36 at the door. For more information, contact Project Inspire (646-291-6191, or on the web at

Additionally, there will be free shiurim by Project Inspire on Thursday, November 27, from 10am to 12 Noon, at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel. There will be a shiur by Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein entitled “Answering Tough Questions” and a shiur Rabbi Chaim Sampsonentitled “Getting Practical.”

The 2008 – Aish Partner’s Conference – December 4th – 7th, 2008 – Hilton Stamford, CT

Join over 600 people including families, students, Aish Rabbis, educators and partners for a content filled weekend you will not forget! Learn from experts. Experience an inspirational, spirit-filled Shabbat. Learn. Relax. Re-charge at a wonderful hotel with delicious food and great company.

At this year’s Partners Conference we’ll be focusing on the big issues facing the Jewish people today. Included on the agenda are:

* What are the major challenges facing the Jewish people?
* How do we to translate our concerns and hopes into action?
* Presentations from both activists and ordinary people who have already made a difference;
* Practical actions to become meaningfully involved in helping the Jewish people.

Partners Conference participants will also experience over 40 of the best classes and workshops presented by Aish’s most experienced teachers. Session streams include:

* Classes for beginners
* Family & singles classes
* Women’s only classes
* Advanced classes
* Practical Kiruv classes
* And many others…

Register early to avoid disappointment – in past years the conference has sold out!

Fabulously Feminine – A Jewish Girl’s Guide Through New York City

Do you ponder the role of the modern Jewish woman? In a day and age when we have everything, how do we find the balance between happiness, success and beauty in our lives?

This winter Aish Connections will explore these ideas in every girl’s favorite play ground, New York City. From New Year’s Eve in Times Square to meeting top female executives, media personalities, fashion designers, and homemakers. Participants will delve into what it means to be a woman, Jewish and fabulous.

Specific details:
Jewish women ages 18-25
December 24 – January 4, 2009
12 Day Trip to NYC
Accomodations and all meals included
Jewish Learning Experience
ONLY $199