Upset over mental health seminar snub

Martin Aaron (centre) with Jami’s Tanya Harris and Clive Helman

Martin Aaron (centre) with Jami’s Tanya Harris and Clive Helman

The chairman of the Jewish Association for Mental Illness is “very upset and irritated” by the lack of Jewish involvement in a major interfaith seminar at Lambeth Palace.

Professor Martin Aaron was one of three Jami delegates at Wednesday’s event held by the government-funded Time to Change, working “to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems”.

He highlighted the absence of “Liberal, Reform or Orthodox spiritual representation, while there were substantial numbers of clergy from other faiths. The event was about spirituality and it’s wrong to have unequal representation.”

There were also no Jews on the six-person interfaith panel at the seminar, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. “I was not expecting Jonathan Sacks but someone should have been there,” Professor Aaron added.

A Time to Change spokesperson pointed out that Rabbis Jonathan Dove and Natan Levy were unable to take up invitations to the seminar.

Time to Change director Sue Baker added: “There are existing connections with the East London Mosque and Sikh community, which is why [their representatives] were on the panel.”

Dr Williams told the delegates: “People with mental health challenges are facing massive prejudice.”

    Last updated: 12:53pm, October 18 2012