ATID PUBLISHES BODY & SOUL:
A GUIDE FOR ADDRESSING
EATING DIRSORDERS IN A
JEWISH EDUCATION SETTING
eating disorders are increasingly
prevalent among Jewish and Orthodox adolescents.
They can be life-threatening and lead to short and
long-term psychological and medical complications.
Prevention programs and early detection are critical
in order to avoid severe, chronic disability among those
susceptible to these disorders. However, due to the denial
of the problem by the adolescent, and occasionally even her
(or his) family, these problems can go undetected and
untreated for long periods of time. Often the problem
will first be identified by school personnel
- either in high schools or more frequently when the student
is studying in Israel; in many cases the family will turn to
educators for guidance.
Prepared by Dr. Caroline Peyser
and an ATID Fellows Research Team, Body & Soul
is an invaluable guide to Jewish educators and schools: spells out the
basics of eating disorders and treatments in laymen's terms
("everything you need to know, but…"); reviews current and
notable school programs and policies; recommends
specific policy changes; recommended resources;
and provides a guide to Jewish sources on health,
diet and self-care
- not as a replacement for treatment, but in recognition
that a Jewish school must frame the issue as
part of a larger campaign of Torah education.
While this topic may admittedly be a departure from
some of the issues ATID has addressed in the past,
it is part of our effort to raise awareness
- and empower through knowledge - regarding the
of challenges facing Jewish life, learning, and schooling.
Caroline Peyser made aliyah ten years
ago after completing her doctorate in clinical psychology
at Yeshiva University. She has worked in a number of
eating disorder clinics including Yale-New Haven Hospital
in America and Hadassah Hospital in Israel. She currently
works in private practice in Jerusalem with a sub-specialty
in eating disorders. In addition, she has been an instructor
of Talmud at Midreshet Lindenbaum for many years. Dr.
Peyser is a member of ATID's professional advisory board
and a faculty mentor.
Body & Soul was co-authored
by an ATID Fellows Research Team:
R. Uri Cohen,
R. Yisrael Cohn,
Bracha Rutner, and
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Anorexia Nervosa, 9
II. Bulimia Nervosa, 12
Onset and Incidence
III. Anorexia in the Jewish Population, 14
Incidence Among the General Jewish Population
Incidence Among Orthodox Jews
IV. Eating Disorders Among Seminary Students in Israel, 19
Factors Contributing to High Incidence
Current School Policies
Are These Policies Effective?
Difficulties in Managing Eating Disorder in a Seminary
Why it is Necessary to Address the Problem
Suggested Policy Changes
Treatment in Israel - When and How
V. Prevention, 30
VI. Conclusion, 32
Reference Notes, 33
Recommended Additional Bibliography, 35
Recommended Resources for Prevention Programs, 36
Does Halakhah Care About How I Eat?
Jewish Sources on Health, Diet and Self-Care, 37
About the Authors, 43