Summary of Monthly Student Meeting in Israel
January 20th, 2015
the outset of the meeting we split up into two groups with Marva reviewing the
purpose and requirements of a bio-psychosocial with the first year students,
while I met with the second year students and discussed the goals of the essay. Before we heard the student presentation, we
enjoyed the tasty pastries that Laura brought to the meeting – thank you Laura!
of student presentations, kudos to Aviva and Dina for a wonderfully clear,
informative and engaging presentation about communication. From the noisy
chatter of social media in our personal lives to the need for active and
sensitive listening in the social work profession, we learned a great deal
about the complexity, challenges and opportunities for effective listening and
Our guest speaker was Pamela
Pearlman, the Mental Health Rehabilitation Coordinator for the Jerusalem
District based in the District Psychiatrist’s office of the District
Health Authority. Pamela supervises the implementation of the statutory
Rehabilitation Law (Sal Shikum), 2000 whereby her team of professionals
assesses eligibility and develops the initial rehabilitation program of the
overview and analysis of how Israel's Mental Health policy has morphed from an
institutionalized and highly medicated system to a more community,
rehabilitative and empowerment based mode of social work was highly informative,
stimulating and inspiring. Pamela
spoke passionately about her efforts to affect change in Israeli society and
emphasized to our students about the importance and need for a generic, macro
and systematic approach to the social work profession.
The link between the
students’ presentation about communication and Pamela’s talk about Mental
Health was the issue of empathetic listening.
As such, the students learned a great deal about the interface of
individual case work with a macro approach.
First and foremost, we need to listen to the needs of our clients,
families, groups and communities. From there, we need to act and develop
services that meet the needs of our client base.
A big thank you to Aviva
and Dina, and to Pamela for their excellent presentations which helped to make
our student meeting such a positive educational experience.
Meir Charash, M.S.W,
Coordinator of Israel Block Program
Wurzweiler School of
Social Work, Yeshiva University
December 25th, 2014
Coming on the
heels of last month’s student meeting when we were all dealing with the shock
of the tragic terrorist attack in Har Nof, the first thing students noticed was
how quickly (not easily, mind you) that we were all able to move forward with
our professional and personal lives.
Perhaps this is a demonstration of our resiliency and/or a healthy
defense mechanism. Either
way, with our renewed energy we successfully covered a lot of topics during
our meeting such as poverty, elections, the goals and process of mid-year
evaluations, mindfulness and spiritualty within the context of helping
clients coping with illness and grief and the subject of the student
presentation - Secondary Trauma.
We want to
express our appreciation to Miriam and Ofira, our student presenters this
month, for helping to sensitize us to the importance of taking care of
ourselves as social workers so that we may provide professional care to our
clients. As social workers we cannot
work without compassion. And yet, as we
learned, if we reach what is termed as “compassion fatigue,” we will not be
able to provide the much needed services to our clients. Miriam and Ofira, therefore, outlined a
number of interventions that will help social workers cope with secondary
trauma. For both beginning
and experienced social workers, the message about being mindful about the
need to take care of ourselves was well received – kudos to Miriam and Ofira.
Speaking of being
mindful, Margo Helman, the Clinical Director at Tishkofet, an agency that helps
clients deal with illness and loss, made an excellent presentation
on Mindfulness and Spirituality within the context of helping clients cope
with illness and grief.
process of educating the Block students about these important issues, Margo also shared
her perspective on the goals of therapy by highlighting the salient principles,
values and tools of the social work profession as a whole.
Teaching generic social
work is one of the educational underpinnings of the Wurzweiler School of Social
Work and Margo’s professional presentation did exactly that.
I believe that
the Israel Block students, as well as Marva and l, learned a great deal from
both the student presentations and Margo’s.
Onward to next month!
of Israel Block Program
School of Social Work
November 18, 2014
On a day
when it was understandably hard for all of us to focus, you did exactly that
demonstrating a good deal of maturity and sensitivity throughout the
meeting. The opening discussion about
how the security situation impacts on our lives powerfully demonstrated how raw
and complex the issues are. And, your
ability to express feelings and to listen to one another was most impressive
and very much appreciate
Laura should be applauded for making an outstanding presentation about
"Geography and Confidentiality", finding the right amount of balance
of sharing information and facilitating discussion. We are all more keenly aware of how small
this global world is and how we need to take that into account when we accept
or, don't accept working with clients because of some type of previous
- kudos on a job well done!
Marva and I
were also very appreciative of the way you engaged with Rachel Ackerman, our
guest speaker who spoke on the topic of supervision. You raised salient
concerns/dilemmas/questions which helped form the basis of Rachel's talk. Learning how to take these potential areas of
conflict with your field instructors and converting them into opportunities for
conversation by sharing/risking your feelings, we believe, is an invaluable
beautifully connected the concept of parallel process within the context of
supervision, another important social work skill that can enhance the
therapeutic process between client and social worker.
today's accomplishments could have taken place without the steadfastness that
you all demonstrated by staying the course despite the tragic events of the
day. When Nisi announced that she needed
to leave for the funeral and Rachel decided that this was the appropriate time
to end, I believe we all learned the
importance of sharing feelings and claiming ownership in 'real time.'
This is an
important lesson to 'own' in your social work education - I can only hope we can continue this process
- but under very different circumstances.
Marva and I
thank you all for staying together today.
Dr. Ronnie Glassman, Director of Field Work sent this response:
To All of our Wurzweiler people,
First, let me express our condolences to you all for this
terrible and tragic loss. I hope you know we are with you in spirit.
Knowing that you were together at this seminar is important to
us here. Social work will guide the students through, and for us who have
been around a long time, we can attest to that. I am reminded of our horrible
day in New York on September 11, which was the second day of field work for all
MSW students in our city. So many students and supervisors, and agency
executives bonded together on that day to help our vulnerable clients, to
maintain community together, to help each other, and to dialogue.
Know that what you did today by being together and considering
the tragedy through your social work lens of heart and mind will be forever
I regret you all have to go through this. It has been hard
to watch over here.
Ronnie Glassman, DSW, LCSW-R
Director of Field Instruction
Wurzweiler School of Social Work
October 22, 2014
Yesterday the Israel Block Program convened for its first
monthly student meeting and at the conclusion of the orientation, Marva and I
looked at each other and simultaneously exclaimed – what great students; what a
Marva and I welcomed all the students and I then spoke about
the importance of change – first year students making the change from learning
about social work to actually working in the field, and second year students
making the transition from beginning social workers to second year students
who, before they know it, will be working on their essays, graduating and
thinking about their careers.
Two second year students, Miriam Joseph and Miriam Barth,
organized two icebreaker exercises that helped the first and second year
students get to know each other and asked questions (first year students – what
are your concerns; and second year students – what was most challenging and
rewarding during your first year of social work school) that facilitated the
sharing of thoughts and feelings in a safe and trusting environment. They did a truly excellent job and we all
appreciated their efforts.
We then reviewed the Block Program’s manual covering
administrative matters and key educational issues such as the writing of
professional process recordings, the monthly logs and student presentations. A
lot of material was covered and, nonetheless, throughout the orientation the
students were engaged, attentive and asked relevant questions.
Beginnings are, at times, filled with uncertainty, but at
the end of the day, we felt quite certain that we have terrific students and
that the Israel Block Program is off to a great beginning.
Meir Charash, MSW, Coordinator of the Israel Block Program
Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University
August 20th, 2014
From Meir Charash, MSW, Coordinator of the Block Program:
With the student's (now colleague) permission, I'm posting this letter
that he (must refrain from using his name as his request due to
security issues) wrote to Dean Hendricks. We have so much to be proud
of this Israeli social worker turned soldier and our amazing Dean whose
empathy and leadership skills knows no limits. Somehow I doubt that the
U.N. will interview this soldier...
"Dear Dr. Hendricks,
I just returned from two weeks of war and wanted to give you a brief
update of what is happening. Currently, I am on standby waiting for
further instructions depending on the ceasefire talks taking place in
Directly after our graduation exercises, I received a phone call from
the Army, asking me to get back home as soon as possible, to gather my
soldiers and get on the helicopters to Gaza.
The energy and excitement generated at the beautiful graduation
ceremonies were quickly replaced with intense operational preparations.
I felt privileged to serve my country and protect my family and
friends. Nevertheless, the experience of war is unpleasant. It is indeed
the kingdom of uncertainty, a range of feelings and experiences which
is very challenging to describe in words. Maybe above all, is the
awareness that death is always around the corner.
When I had some time to think alone, I acknowledged the fact that in all
the wars I have participated in to date, this is the first one that I
am not just a soldier, but also a social worker. As such, I felt that
alongside my operational responsibilities to target the terrorists, I
had also human and social responsibilities to every innocent human being
trying to avoid harming them and minimize their suffering.
On Saturday, I returned to Israel after not seeing my home for over two
and a half month, I called Meir, and let him know that I was all right.
It is hard for to express how much your unequivocal and unhesitant
support means to me. Suffice to say, I was very touched by your concern
and empathy and the degree of trust that you placed in me to complete
all my assignments in a timely fashion once the war is over.
, I can readily assure you that I will submit all outstanding papers to
my professors and the essay to Meir.
Dean Hendricks: Thank you so much for everything.
500 West 185th Street
New York, NY 10033
500 West 185th Street
New York, NY 10033
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