The Barkai rabbis recently completed "Gatekeepers" training provided by Bishvil Hachaim, an organization dedicated to preventing suicides in Israeli society and running support groups for the families of suicide victims.
The painful topic of suicide is often not spoken about because of the mistaken belief that speaking about it will increase it. However, studies done during the last several years prove just the opposite. In fact, raising awareness of suicides, as long as it done in a mature and responsible way, drastically lowers the number of suicides.
The rabbis learned how to become "Gatekeepers" – how to identify people in their communities who are suicide risks and refer them for proper treatment. During the training, the rabbis heard painful personal stories from families that experienced suicides. These encounters highlighted the importance of providing the hope and assistance that someone who is contemplating suicide so desperately needs. As our tradition tells us, "One who saves a life, it is as if he has saved the entire world."