was well on my way to a perfect weight when all of a sudden my parents decided I needed to be hospitalized. Now they’re happy because since then I’ve been eating constantly and have gained considerable amounts of weight. You can’t imagine how painful it is when I put things in my mouth. I can’t remember a moment where I ate something and didn’t break down afterwards. I feel disgusting obese out of control it’s awful. I want desperately to get back onto the path I was once on even if it ends up killing me.”
This is the complicated testimony of someone who’s already been through professional intervention for anorexia. Yet she like thousands of others is still struggling with the obsessions inherent in an eating disorder. And that’s why Rabbi Dovid Dewick a pioneer in the field of eating disorders will do anything to aid the recovery of these strugglers.
But this is not an article about anorexia.
Instead it’s about the mission of one man guided by his rebbe and gedolei Yisrael who wants to increase the chances of recovery from this silent killer that has infiltrated every sector of the larger community.
Rabbi Dewick a gentle intuitive soft-spoken talmid chacham and Amshinover chassid from Boro Park had a successful manufacturing business when the Amshinover Rebbe in Jerusalem appointed him for a new and surprising role — to be a groundbreaker in the healing process for those struggling with anorexia and related issues. Today nine years after receiving the Rebbe’s first assignment and blessing Rabbi Dewick and his Magen Avrohom organization have become an important address for families enmeshed in the bizarre foreign world of eating disorders.
Ride with the Rebbe For years Rabbi Dewick enjoyed a close, ongoing relationship with the Amshinover Rebbe, Rav Yaakov Aryeh Yeshaya Milikowsky. The Rebbe often sent social projects his way, including teens at risk, some of them even staying in Rabbi Dewick’s home. When his father, Reb Avrohom Dewick a”h — a Holocaust survivor and venerated baal chesed — passed away in 2003 and was buried in Eretz Yisrael, the Amshinover Rebbe, in an unusual display of affection for him, placed fresh earth on the niftar, said Kaddish over the grave, and personally comforted Reb Dovid at the gravesite.
“I would like to do something l’illuy nishmas my father,” Rabbi Dewick told the Rebbe. “Is there some sort of communal need that hasn’t been filled?” The Rebbe paused, thought, told his disciple to learn Mishnayos for his father’s neshamah in the meantime, and said, “We’ll yet talk.”
Over the next few months, the Rebbe took Rabbi Dewick for an interesting ride. A few weeks after the levayah, Rabbi Dewick received a phone call from a father whose daughter had an eating disorder. The father told him, “The Amshinover Rebbe told me to call you. He said you’re an expert.”
“Now, I must tell you that I was a bit flustered to be brought into such a life-threatening situation. But Hashem had prepared me for this too, about 30 years ago when I was a bochur learning in yeshivah in Yerushalayim. Sitting next to me in the beis medrash was a young man who was withering away before my eyes. I sensed that he was starving himself, so I contacted his mashgiach. The next thing I know, I’m being summoned by the Gerrer Rebbe, the Lev Simchah, to his home to discuss the bochur.”
The Rebbe was in his 80s; Dovid Dewick was 18. Yet the Rebbe asked him for ideas, and so Dovid considered — and answered. “I was overwhelmed. What did I know? But the Rebbe wanted me to brainstorm with him, so I came up with some thoughts: Maybe the Rebbe could talk to him about the importance of self-care, about getting enough sleep and eating healthy meals — an important factor in avodas Hashem. Additionally, maybe he should switch to a different yeshivah where he’ll have more friends? Perhaps we can create an environment of support where he can get better …? I didn’t even know the word ‘anorexia,’ but the Gerrer Rebbe was preparing me for the future. He was preparing me for strategizing.”
Now Rabbi Dewick found himself facing a similar challenge. Not wanting to take responsibility for a life-threatening situation based on his own intuitive talents alone, he extensively researched the subject of eating disorders, reaching out for guidance from many doctors and mental health professionals with years of experience in the field. “I also called my friend Rabbi Shimshon Lauber of Rockland County Bikur Cholim — he’s a powerhouse of chesed — and asked him for some eitzahs. He said, ‘You know, I’m going to Eretz Yisrael for Lag B’Omer. Come with me and we’ll go into the Amshinover Rebbe together and discuss it.’”
During that trip, the Rebbe told Rabbi Lauber, “Dovid is the mumcheh; ask his opinion and follow whatever he says.”
Rabbi Dewick returned to New York, ready to give it a try. After all, the Amshinover Rebbe had complete faith in him. He met with the parents who had previously contacted him and suggested they review several strategies with the professionals they were seeing. The father called him back a few weeks after their initial meeting: “Rabbi Dewick,” he said enthusiastically, “we listened to what you recommended, and baruch Hashem we’ve seen positive results. We want to know when we can meet you again.”
The Amshinover Rebbe sent Rabbi Dewick a second case, and a third, each time encouraging him to tune into his finely honed intuition and innate capacity for deep understanding of the complexity of the afflicted person’s struggle. “There isn’t a kehillah that hasn’t been affected by this, and you’re going to help them,” the Rebbe told him.
Rabbi Dewick harnessed the expertise of psychologists, pediatricians, anyone with experience in this baffling disorder — including world-class mental health professionals Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, Dr. Toby Sitnick, Dr. David Lieberman, Dr. Samuel Klagsbrun, and Dr. Dovid Schwartz among others — and began to formulate an approach.
“Something amazing was emerging,” Rabbi Dewick remembers. “My advice and strategy were proving successful, and people kept coming. I told them, ‘There are so many therapists out there looking for clients. Why are you coming to me?’
“The turning point, though, happened one night when I was at the supermarket doing some late-night shopping for Shabbos. I was at the checkout counter when I heard someone on a cell phone loudly and confidently giving advice regarding an eating disorder. Ribono shel Olam, I thought to myself, I might not be the biggest expert, but this advice is terrible and destructive. They can kill the girl with that advice. That night I couldn’t sleep.
“Still, for three years I didn’t understand the Rebbe’s insistence. Here I am, a chassidishe man, and I questioned the appropriateness of working in a field dominated by young teenage girls. But the Rebbe stood his ground, and drew Torah guidelines for me to follow.
“And, I asked, why was the Rebbe sending me out on my own? Why couldn’t I use my skills and research to help other organizations that already deal with this in the frum community?
“The Rebbe answered me, ‘Dovid, they’re never going to do what you’re going to do.’”
Hungry for Control
Rabbi Dewick began to consolidate his philosophy with the experience and knowledge he’d accrued — in a field where psychologists and physicians agree that more research and clarity are needed.
He is passionate, and sad, when he explains the complexity of the struggler’s psyche, trapped in destructive, obsessive thoughts that are exacerbated by the body’s weakness in its starving state. He has observed many families that have suffered for years without being properly educated in what they’re up against and in how to navigate the available approaches that could work for their child.
An eating disorder, he explains, is initially triggered by some type of emotional pain — it could be something as serious as abuse or as benign as jealousy of a classmate. The subconscious mind doesn’t use logic or self-talk to deal with the pain, though; it wants an instant painkiller, and that painkiller is usually a feeling of being in control. The place where the subconscious mind feels this control most is over one’s own body.
That’s why anorexics often normalize their condition, defending it not as an illness but as an accomplishment of self-control and an essential part of their identity.
Once an eating disorder develops, there are four competing elements that are struggling to live harmoniously within the sufferer. “The first and primal element is the obsession,” Rabbi Dewick explains: “The sufferer is obsessed with body weight, body image, and food. And even though he or she is not eating enough, she’ll constantly be involved with her food. I once helped a girl, considered at the top of her class, who was starving herself; yet she was so obsessed with food that after school she would go into all the restaurants on Kings Highway asking if she could volunteer in their kitchens.
“I was recently involved in the recovery of a boy who would open the fridge, play with all the food, and then take it out to the dumpster outside the family’s apartment building. It got to the point where family members couldn’t leave food in the house. One Erev Yom Tov, a neighbor brought over an elegant fruit platter to store in their fridge, and the mother, who didn’t want to disclose her child’s sickness, took the tray but, knowing it wouldn’t be safe in the refrigerator, instead locked it outside the window ledge for safekeeping and hid the key. When the boy saw the platter outside his window and out of reach, his compulsion was so strong that he paid a roofer to come over, used his ladder to climb up to the ledge from the outside, took the tray, played with it to his heart’s delight and then — dumped it in the dumpster.
“This is crucial to understand, because even though these sufferers are abstaining, starving themselves, they are obsessed and will make sure that food is a central feature in their thoughts,” Rabbi Dewick continues. “This point is fundamental to the disorder, and without understanding this point, treatment can fail. And that is precisely why we try to keep sufferers out of hospitals — unless there is an immediate acute danger or life-threatening situation.
“For treating addictions, a walled unit such as a hospital or rehab program can force abstinence and let the body withdraw and readjust under medical supervision. But when dealing with an anorexic’s obsessive thoughts, the hospital creates a basic problem with the treatment because the hospital stay becomes, in fact, the focus of these obsessive thoughts. On a deep level, that’s what the sufferer craves — to remain in the obsession. This is a very tricky point — to some extent in the hospital, the anorexic patient’s identification and preoccupation with her condition is reinforced.”
Returning to his analysis of the four forces competing inside the struggler’s psyche, Rabbi Dewick describes the second force as the “drug” of control. Take away control, and the disorder becomes stronger. And there is no place a sufferer feels less in control than in the closed ward of a psych unit, where everything is dictated by hospital rules. There is also a third powerful, deceptive force that is telling the sufferer her life will be better this way — starving herself. The fourth force at play is the emergence of the real “I” — the inner healthy person who also wants to be revealed, who really doesn’t want all of this dysfunction. And all these forces are handcuffed together.
“These forces fluctuate,” Rabbi Dewick continues. “So you could have months when the healthy ‘I’ shines through and the family or therapist thinks, wow, this is a breakthrough. But the next moment the deceptive force can kick in and become dominant. I was asked to give a speech at a convention recently, presenting the mindset of an eating disorder struggler, so I contacted one of my clients. She’d been through many programs and had so much self-knowledge and knew all the angles, that I asked her to give me first-hand testimony for my speech. You have to understand, this client is still anorexic and emaciated, while the healthy ‘I’ part emerges and disappears. I drove by to pick up her notes, and when I called her from the car, she apologized: ‘Rabbi Dewick, you can’t see me today. I’m too fat and I’m embarrassed. I’ll leave it in the mailbox.’ And just half an hour before she wrote a testimony that opened with the line, ‘Girls see themselves as so fat when actually they are emaciated.’
“This is what’s so baffling. Because of their need for control, you can’t coerce the struggler into any treatment plan. You need their cooperation to succeed. But the denial and self-deception block the struggler from wanting to cooperate. So finding the path, an opening, is a huge challenge. And this is the paradox: the key to recovery is trust — which is the opposite of that painkiller, control. How do you get the struggler to trust, to give up her only coping mechanism, which is control? This is what our support system is all about.”
Rabbi Dewick’s Magen Avrohom organization — the outgrowth of his one-man operation, which has already helped hundreds of families — has created a team of mentors under professional supervision, who offer the struggler a framework for building trusting relationships. The support staff works together with outside therapists who are team players, so that everyone involved in the struggler’s case is on the same page.
Outside a hospital setting, strugglers need to be treated by several different professionals in order to move toward recovery. But each professional tends to work independently, with no single person addressing or taking responsibility for the comprehensive recovery of the patient. And herein lies Rabbi Dewick’s chiddush. The organization’s case-managing system keeps the entire professional team coordinated, thus creating mutual goals throughout the recovery process. This is in addition to intensive family coaching, teaching parents and siblings skills that will enable the struggler to be helped within her natural environment while moving her toward recovery.
What about a girl on the verge of starvation — bulimia has ravaged her esophagus or popped the blood vessels under her eyes, or anorexia has caused uncontrollable tremors and delusional or suicidal thoughts? Is the immediate focus still on building trust, or is acute immediate intervention necessary? “Of course,” says Rabbi Dewick, “these life-threatening situations must be immediately addressed and sometimes hospitalization is a necessity. The sufferer has to be medically stabilized before we can begin to address the core underlying issues.”
Yet realistically, hospitalization often doesn’t solve the long-term crisis. Rabbi Dewick cites the pattern of revolving-door hospitalizations where patients are hospitalized, improve, and are then discharged, only to be readmitted when their condition has again deteriorated. Furthermore, admissions and discharge policies are usually dictated by insurance companies. If insurance is paying for treatment, the struggler can be hospitalized even if her condition is mild. And when insurance stops paying, even if her condition is poor, they’ll discharge her because that bed is worth $4,000 a day. Yet those discharge papers don’t mean that she is cured.
Thinking Out of the Box
So, if hospitalization isn’t a long-term solution, if standard therapy doesn’t do it for so many, what does Rabbi Dewick have to offer that others haven’t resolved?
“The Amshinover Rebbe guided me every step of the way in how to think out of the box. What if we could create an environment that had the benefits of the hospital without playing into the obsession and defiance issues that come along with it? What if we could create a situation where the struggler had constant supervision, a feeding coach, a therapist, a physician, a nutritionist, and a mentor, but could simultaneously and anonymously readjust to the real world within her own environment?”
That vision became reality when Rabbi Dewick was once summoned by the family of a prominent community personality whose wife was expecting their first child after several years of infertility — yet she was anorexic, was down to a dangerously low weight and falling, and her cognitive processing was so deficient that she began exhibiting suicidal behaviors. “Rabbi Dewick,” they summoned him desperately, “she’s going to die together with the baby if something isn’t done immediately! But she refuses to talk to you or be taken to the hospital, and you can understand that we want to avoid publicity. Can you help us?”
Rabbi Dewick believes that every case is its own world, with its own set of rules and its own unique strategy. “I accepted the challenge, and because money wasn’t an issue and they were willing to foot all the expenses, I was able to build a healing environment for her. I basically created my own clinic. I rented a home and hired a team of doctors and psychologists, three nurses, a nutritionist, and round-the-clock supervision. With siyata d’Shmaya I managed to establish a rapport with her and created an agreed-upon treatment program, trying to keep her life as normal as possible. All the while, I was doing this dance between the part of her that wanted to get healthy and the pathological, self-deceptive part that wanted to escape the program and stay in the illness. End of the story: three months later she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and was on the way to real recovery.”
Rabbi Dewick shares another out-of-the-box story, a lesson in creative thinking to save a life. He was called to the home of a girl who had been anorexic for so long she was already on a feeding tube and had figured out how to fiddle with the knobs so that she wouldn’t get enough nourishment. She also refused to talk, sort of a selective mutism. He knew his time was limited — how could he save this girl?
“This girl had nothing to live for, and I knew I had to think of a way of building her up. I had a wild idea. I would get her a job.”
But who would hire a girl who refused to talk, who was halfway to the Next World? Rabbi Dewick approached a factory owner he knew and asked him if there was any job opening that could be appropriate for her. “It took a lot of convincing on all fronts, but eventually we had Access-A-Ride Service take her to the factory, and I told the other girls who worked there to ignore the feeding tube, ignore the selective mutism, and just treat her like another coworker. It wasn’t easy; it was a long, complicated process, but she got back her self-esteem and desire to live, so that she could begin to work with a therapist.” There were further hospitalizations under Rabbi Dewick’s guidance, but she was on the road to healing. “Now she’s a functioning member of society. And I recently heard that she’s back to eating spaghetti.”
The person Rabbi Dewick feels taught him most about creative strategizing is the Amshinover Rebbe himself. One night when Rabbi Dewick was in Eretz Yisrael, he received an emergency call about a girl — emaciated, starving herself, and in a precarious mental state — who was lying on the floor, crying bitterly that she was so fat she had no reason to live. She refused to talk to him, but finally agreed when he said, “I’m very close to the Amshinover Rebbe. He understands your issue. Come with me and we’ll ask his advice.”
“So we go to the Rebbe’s house,” Rabbi Dewick recounts. “We sit down in the kitchen, and together she and I formulate her question for the Rebbe: She’s very fat, she can’t go on, she wants to kill herself. Why should she go on living? The Rebbe hears the question, thinks about it, then responds empathetically, ‘If she’s so fat, maybe she can do a lap-band.’ When the girl hears this, she flares up: ‘What?! You told me the Rebbe is a pikei’ach — is he out of his mind? A band for a person with an eating disorder?! There isn’t a doctor in the world who will do a band on a person with an eating disorder!’
“What the Rebbe did was force her to come to a point of awareness — however brief — and by not denying her self-perception, he conveyed that he really understood her. Awareness is tricky because of the diminished cognitive processing of the malnourished brain, but I’ve interviewed countless people who’ve recovered and asked them, ‘What was the main element that helped you recover, the turning point?’ Many answered that it was someone special in their life who really cared for them and understood them.
“On the spot, the Rebbe made arrangements with professionals in the field whom she could speak to. She connected with the proper doctors and eventually came around to the realization that life was worth living. She came to the conclusion that she could be helped with her eating disorder and, of course, that she didn’t need a lap-band.”
Because each case is so individual, Rabbi Dewick relies on professionals and his rabbinical board for guidance in dealing with these delicate issues. The Amshinover Rebbe; Rav Yosef Roseblum, rosh yeshivas Shaar Yosher; Rav Boruch Hirschfeld, rosh kollel in Cleveland Heights; and Rav Doniel Cohen of Lakewood are constantly consulted for all types of halachic deliberations related to the complexities of the eating disorder.
When Rabbi Dewick saw where the Rebbe was directing him, and that he seemed to have innate success in these new challenges, he often talked to the Rebbe about obtaining a professional degree. But surprisingly, the Rebbe’s answer was always an unequivocal no. “Some people questioned this, but the Rebbe stood his ground,” he reveals.
Perhaps the Rebbe felt Rabbi Dewick’s inner wisdom and intuitive powers would be corrupted by modern psychology?
“I saw it like this,” Rabbi Dewick says. “The Rebbe says and I listen. At one point, a top frum psychologist who had a lot of respect for my knowledge and techniques pushed me to get a degree, saying that I’d have more influence that way. When I told him the Rebbe doesn’t permit it, he said, ‘The Rebbe doesn’t let because there are certain things in these classes that are neged Torah, but you’re past that and you can filter out the apikorsus.’ So I called the Rebbe and told him what this professional suggested, but it didn’t sway him. ‘Dovid,’ the Rebbe told me, ‘du host hatzlochoh. Keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working. Why tamper with something that is already successful?’”
Yet in the complex field of eating disorders, not everyone is on Rabbi Dewick’s side. Some level the criticism that he works against professionals. “This is not true,” Rabbi Dewick says. “I’m raising the bar for chances of success. My philosophy is that in addition to the guidance of doctors and mental health professionals, the family — including spouse or siblings — should be given practical guidance in how they, too, can effectively help. Experts can incorporate the benefits of a supportive environment.” Rabbi Dewick also notes that before implementing any drastic steps, it is worthwhile to consult with another competent professional.
He set his goal to fill what he realized was a gaping void in the system of treating eating disorders, which have become so shockingly prevalent in all kehillos. “Parents were taking their daughters to therapy, but they weren’t given enough guidance on what they themselves could contribute to the recovery, and that’s the gap I wanted to fill. If parents learn the right skills, they can become an integral part of the recovery process.”
He stresses that anorexia and other related disorders are as much about relationships as they are about food, and because parental communication is so fundamental to this, learning productive communication skills in these murky waters is vital.
“Parents are not the cause of the problem, but they are either part of the problem or part of the solution. They are the ones who are the most deeply rooted to the sufferer, and we’ve witnessed healing when those in her immediate environment learn skills to help her through.”
Rabbi Dewick says that this, in fact, is part of the Amshinover Rebbe’s greater vision — that in addition to relying on professional therapy, healthy, sincere interactions from people in the sufferer’s environment can work wonders. “The hamon am is so used to solving problems with therapy twice a week that we’ve forgotten that our healthy interactions can be extremely helpful and conducive to recovery.”
Yet Rabbi Dewick’s approach doesn’t always promise an easy ride for parents who witness their child withering away under the distorted banners of style, beauty, and self-control. The fear alone of having to deal with an anorexic child — like the fear of having to deal with any catastrophic situation — can be paralyzing. The mother might think, “This is too big for me, where do I turn? How will I find/afford the therapist? Maybe it won’t be a good shidduch and we’ll have to go through ten therapists before she’s better? Maybe I’ll have to hospitalize her or force-feed her? I need someone to take this off me. I can’t deal with it.”
“There are two conflicting points at stake,” says Rabbi Dewick. “It’s the comfort level of the parent versus recovery of the child. Because I need to get the parents involved, even though the parents thinks they can’t cope. I acknowledge to the parents that I’m not offering immediate closure with my service. We all need to fasten our seat belts and go for the ride together, and it’s often bumpy and full of potholes. And believe me, some parents who are working our program are drained. They have to deal with the yelling and screaming, the door-slamming, all the while learning new communication methods and skills. Sometimes a parent might think, let me just hospitalize her and take this off me.
“I’m certainly not blaming the parents. For them, hospitalizing the struggler is their way of taking action. The home becomes calmer, and they are putting her in the hands of the professionals who are now calling the shots.”
But the calmer way out might not always be the best way out. Following a mental health panel discussion in Mishpacha several months ago, one anorexic young woman discussed this very point in a letter to the editor. She wrote: “…They told my mother the ‘best methods’ of dealing with my sickness.… It was really bad for me. They tried to force me to eat. Yes, people think, that’s the best way to fix it.… There is another way. The times when I’ve been most okay with getting better was when I had friends who really cared about me who would sit with me and help me with it in a practical way.… I am 20 years old, and not a child, but I don’t have the strength and resources to deal with this alone.”
After Rabbi Dewick witnessed what he could only describe as Divine assistance in cases others had given up on as irreversible, he questioned the Rebbe about it. “The Rebbe then sat me down and gave me a lesson in Hashem’s healing techniques. The Rebbe explained that every recovery a person has from any condition comes directly from Hashem, but He sends it through a tzinor, a pipeline, which works according to the rules of nature. That means that if a person has a headache, Tylenol is the tzinor. But there are also pipelines that don’t go according to laws of nature — and one of those is activated when a Jew is dedicated to helping another with his whole heart and at all costs. ‘Since you and your staff of mentors are so dedicated, you have activated that pipeline,’ the Rebbe told me.”
Once Rabbi Dewick faced a dilemma so many emergency medical personnel face daily: to daven or not? “I was involved in a crisis as the team commander, but it was almost noon so I quickly ran to a local beis medrash with its ongoing minyanim. There was a well-known rav davening there, and when I mentioned that I was davening late because I was in the middle of a medical emergency, he yelled at me, ‘What are you doing here? Go back and deal with the crisis!’
“A while later I called the Rebbe and shared the dilemma. He told me that in the field of emergency medicine, a Hatzolah member saving someone from cardiac arrest with a clear-cut lifesaving procedure may not take a break to daven. ‘But in the field of eating disorders,’ the Rebbe continued, ‘deciding what will work and what will not, one of the practical elements needed to succeed is siyata d’Shmaya. And tefillah brings down that siyata d’Shmaya. I can’t tell you to daven for hours, but that you ran to daven to ask for Hashem’s help is the CPR of this recovery.’”
Several years ago, when Rabbi Dewick saw which direction his life was taking, he decided to sell his business and devote himself to Magen Avrohom full-time. He went from being a successful manufacturer to heading a chesed organization for which he has to scrounge every penny.
“A few months ago, when I was in Eretz Yisrael, I went in to the Rebbe and told him our funds are stretched to the limit — so maybe it’s time to put a ceiling on the number of people we intake? I asked, ‘If I can help 70 but a hundred are asking, if I invest in the 100th, the first 70 aren’t going to get the help they need either. Rebbe, until our situation improves, I think I should make a ceiling on how many people we can help.’ The Rebbe closed the door and gave me a mussar shmuess for over an hour.”
And so Rabbi Dewick continues to spend his days with people on the edge of the abyss, young people whose illness has put them on the verge of death. Isn’t it too much for his sensitive soul?
“This was my question to the Rebbe in the early years. I said, ‘I’m very sensitive, very emotional. I can’t take it anymore.’ At the time, he said that was precisely the reason for my hatzlachah. But more recently, when I began to see so much unusual success, I told the Rebbe, ‘I miss the early days when I felt I knew little and had to daven to Hashem for every success — today I feel like I’m the big expert.’ The Rebbe pulled out a small sefer, L’Anavim Yiten Chen, a collection of writings on the concept of anavah [humility]. He told me, ‘Study this kuntress.’ So I began to learn this sefer at every opportunity, and always keep it with me. It has kept my vision and my priorities in focus.
“Since I’ve been studying the middah of anavah I feel I have even more brachah in my work. I once gave a talk to the doctors of a psych unit in a major hospital that was opening a new eating disorders unit. I had the sefer with me and read a few paragraphs for my own inspiration before I got up to talk. I spoke about the power of doctors’ positive interactions and how they have a tremendous impact on the wellbeing of their patients. They were intrigued, and afterward the director came over to me. ‘This was amazing,’ he said. ‘Is there any literature on this?’ So I showed him the sefer I had been reading. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘but it only comes in Hebrew.’
“You see,” says Rabbi Dewick, “the Rebbe gave me the secret.”
All identifying details have been altered to protect the privacy of the individuals.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Issue 416)