The last thing one might expect when going to synagogue on a Sunday morning at ten is a rabbi carrying an embroidered New Orleans, Mardi Gras mask. And it’s not even Purim. Rabbi Analia Bortz of Or Hadash, where Baken ‘In the Nest’ began last Sunday held no punches when she took the Bimah before the first sessions of In the Nest. As Co-Founder with Devi Knapp (who told her touching story earlier in the morning), the doctor and Rabbi kept a steady hold over the room, proving what worth the mental health collective would have for the community.
“Mental illness is the cancer of the soul.” The Doctor and Rabbi said, each word crisp and clear. She took her time, recalling people, everyday people getting ready for job interviews who might put on a mask like the one she had in her hands. People with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses never take off these masks. They are stiff as a Mardi Gras mask, wooden and painful.