Our Mission

Mental health treatment choices can be confusing. People confronting emotional challenges often don’t know what treatment options are available or what option might serve their needs best. Even once a treatment plan is determined and the kind of treatment is clear, it can be very hard to know which professional or which facility is the right one for you. Individuals within the Jewish community face the additional obstacle of finding a therapist that is sensitive to their worldview and lifestyle.

How We Got Started

In 2001 Rabbi Sendy Ornstein recognized a void in the area of mental health. In the process of assisting people with their medical needs, he came across many individuals in need of care who struggled to navigate the mental health world. His idea was simple; to create an organization where people can ask for references to psychiatrists and psychologists, similar to what was already being done in the medical world.

He reached out to a number of senior mental health professionals who had been working within the frum community for many years to float the idea. The response he received was overwhelmingly negative. He was told that in our community, no one would use such an organization. Undeterred, he went ahead and started Relief. In 2003, Rabbi Binyomin Babad joined the staff, and that year, Relief assisted over 500 people. In the following year, that number doubled. A need was filled and the response was overwhelming.

Where We Are Today

Since 2001, Relief has provided services to over 100,000 individuals. The rate of incoming new cases has accelerated every year we’ve been in operation, with over 10,000 new cases in the past year alone. We have opened nine local branches in four countries, on three continents. Our database includes over 3,000 professionals from a wide range of disciplines, as well as numerous treatment facilities and organizations all over the world.

What We Do

Relief exists to simplify the process of gathering mental and emotional health resource options for members of the Jewish community.

We serve as a bridge between the client and their next steps and providing clarity about what kind of professional would be helpful for their situation. We operate an extensive database and make specific referrals based on each client’s unique circumstances.

The process starts with a phone call between the individual seeking help and a Relief “referral specialist.” The caller explains the issue they are dealing with, and the referral specialist helps clarify the details relevant to providing helpful recommendations.

The referral specialist may provide some education about what the treatment options are for the kind of challenge the individual is encountering.
This education can be enlightening for the caller even before any specific recommendation is made.

Once the caller feels comfortable with a specific type of treatment (e.g. therapy, psychiatry, etc.), the referral specialists will work to identify the best specific professional for the individual, taking into account the specifics of the situation and the caller’s preferences. The referral specialist then provides the details and contact information for the professionals recommended and answers any other questions the caller may have. If the client is willing, the referral specialist will follow up and see how the referral worked out and make additional recommendations if necessary.

How We Do It

  • We have built and continue to refine our professional database.
  • We meet regularly with clinicians all over the globe to stay abreast of the most recent developments and services available in that particular area.
  • We provide in-house training to all of our support staff.
  • We invest a great deal in our knowledge base and to that end, we travel regularly to visit treatment centers and both in and outpatient care facilities.
  • We are committed to research and make sure that our entire staff is up to date with the most current, evidence-based research and treatment practices.
  • We gather information about the effectiveness of referrals made and are constantly reevaluating and updating our database.
  • Where confidentiality is concerned, we go above and beyond the requirements of the law to protect the confidentiality of our clients
  • There is no financial exchange between Relief and our clinicians or our clients.
  • We are a donor-funded non-profit organization.
Our mission is to clarify mental and emotional health resource options for members of the Jewish community

Our Team

Sendy Ornstein

President Relief Resources

Benjamin Babad

Director Relief Resources

David Kessner

Director of Operations

Motti Rapoport

Director of International Operations

Director Relief Toronto

Devorah Levinson

Director of Eating Disorders, adult referral specialist

Tristate Region

Devora Follman LCSW

Liaison for Higher Levels of Care

Menachem Lowy

Director

Relief Monroe

Yehoshua Berger

Adult referral specialist

Tristate Region

Yitzy Faivushevitz

Adult referral specialist

Tristate Region

Ephraim Weingot

Adult referral specialist

Tristate Region

Riki Schwartz

Director of Children Services, Child Referral Specialist

Tristate Region

Arielle Benisti

Child referral specialist

Tristate Region

Shaindy Bodenheimer

Child referral specialist

Tristate Region

Daniel Berman

Director

Relief California

Yisrael Slansky

Director

Relief Maryland

Yitzchok Abramczyk

Director

Relief Montreal

Shlomo Katz

Referral specialist

Israel

Jonny Ross

Director

UK

Medical Advisory Board

Relief’s Medical Advisory Board include some of the leading psychiatrists and psychologists in the country. These mental health professionals have a wide range of expertise covering a broad spectrum of the mental health arena.

Relief’s Medical Advisory Board is always available to provide guidance and advice on a variety of mental and emotional health issues.

John T. Walkup M.D.

John T. Walkup M.D.

Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Director, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

New York-Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center

ELLIOT S. GERSHON, M.D.

ELLIOT S. GERSHON, M.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry; Professor of Human Genetics

University of Chicago

MICHAEL JENIKE, M.D.

MICHAEL JENIKE, M.D.

Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
Director Psychiatric Neuroscience Program
Massachusetts General Hospital
MICHAEL LIEBOWITZ, M.D.

MICHAEL LIEBOWITZ, M.D.

Director, Anxiety Disorders Clinic
New York State Psychiatric Institute
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
GLENN HIRSCH, M.D.

GLENN HIRSCH, M.D.

Medical Director
New York University Child Study Center
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
New York University School of Medicine
PHILIP J. WILNER, M.D.

PHILIP J. WILNER, M.D.

Vice President and Medical Director of Behavioral Health
New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center
Executive Vice-Chair, Department of Psychiatry
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
CATHERINE BIRNDORF, M.D.

CATHERINE BIRNDORF, M.D.

Program Director, Payne Whitney Women’s Program
New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
DAVID PELCOVITZ, PH.D.

DAVID PELCOVITZ, PH.D.

Director of Psychology
North Shore University Hospital
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
New York University School of Medicine
KATHARINE L. LOEB, PH.D.

KATHARINE L. LOEB, PH.D.

Professor, School of Psychology , PhD Program in Clinical Psychology

Fairleigh Dickinson University

MICHELLE FRIEDMAN, M.D.

MICHELLE FRIEDMAN, M.D.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry

Mount Sinai School of Medicine

EDNA B. FOA, PH.D.

EDNA B. FOA, PH.D.

Director, Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry

University of Pennsylvania

CHARLES A. KAUFMANN, M.D., D.F.A.P.A.

CHARLES A. KAUFMANN, M.D., D.F.A.P.A.

Clinical Professor of Psychiatry

Columbia University