The Perinatal Bereavement Webinar
JOFA is proud to present a webinar panel on the topic of perinatal bereavement. In this webinar, panelists will discuss the struggle many women (and men) face when they have a miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death, including some of the halachic and communal issues that may arise. Our panelists will discuss their connection to these issues, including the important work they are each doing to provide options to help families cope with these struggles. Perinatal bereavement in the Jewish community is an important yet often overlooked topic, and we look forward to having our panelists shed light on the issues. This webinar was organized in the hopes of breaking the taboo, discussing what we as a community could be doing better, and offering resources to anyone in need.
Our panelists would like to target the conversation based on what you want to know, so please send any questions you may have for our panelists in advance to or post them here!
Nancy Berlow has been the Consulting Social Worker for the Pregnancy Loss Support Program (PLSP) of the National Council of Jewish Women, New York Section since 2011. In this capacity she trains and supervises all of the volunteer counselors who provide ongoing care for PLSP’s bereaved clients, work that includes facilitating support groups and conducting one-on-one telephone counseling sessions. Prior to her PLSP position, Nancy ran the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Program at North Shore University Hospital for 12 years. She continues to offer in-service hospital programs on perinatal loss for both medical professionals and bereaved parents. Nancy has written articles related to pregnancy and infant loss for various chapters of the National Association of Social Workers, and she recently co-authored “Post traumatic growth and social support in individuals with infertility” in Human Reproduction, Volume 25, Issue 1, January 2010. Nancy was also the President of the Long Island Chapter of Resolve. Prior to working in the field of pregnancy and infant loss and infertility, Nancy specialized in geriatric social work, which has given her a unique perspective on guiding people of all ages and circumstances through the grief process. She maintains a private practice counseling patients who have suffered perinatal losses and other bereavement issues. Nancy received her BA degree from Brandeis University and earned her Master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work.
Reva Judas is the founder and Executive Director of Nechamacomfort an organization that supports families dealing with infant and pregnancy loss. She has counseled people around the world and has trained medical staff, clergy and communities in how best to help grieving families.
Reva received her Chaplaincy Certification from Hackensack Medical center and is a Resolve Through Sharing (RTS) Certified Infant Pregnancy Loss Facilitator. She holds a BS in Human and Child Development.
Reva was an Early Childhood Educator at The Moriah School of Englewood for 25 years. She has worked as a Project Coordinator of the NJ chapter of the National Council for Jewish Disabilities and has held various positions in other non-profit organizations. Her many roles as a community volunteer include Chapter President of Amit and President of the Teaneck Jewish Community Relations Council.
Dr. Michelle Friedman
Michelle Friedman is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice, the chair of Pastoral Counseling at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabinnical School (YCT) and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. A graduate of Barnard College, NYU School of Medicine and The Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Study and Research, Dr. Friedman has been involved in bridging religious life and mental health issues for over 30 years. She has spearheaded educational initiatives on a variety of topics, including religious identity, postpartum depression, and sexuality. In 1998 Dr. Friedman was invited to develop a pastoral counseling curriculum for YCT in order to prepare Modern Orthodox rabbis to meet the challenges of contemporary community leadership. Her recent book, The Art of Jewish Pastoral Counseling: A Guide for All Faiths co-authored with Dr. Rachel Yehuda and published by Routledge, comes out of her teaching experience and her ongoing contact with graduates of YCT and other rabbinical seminaries.
Dr. Edith Gurewitsch Allen
Born, raised and educated in New York, I was in the first class that accepted women at Columbia College. I received my medical school training and degree from the College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia University, where I was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. I then completed my residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at The New York Hospital Cornell University Medical Center. From there, I joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1997, where I continued as a full-time faculty member in the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine until March 2018, when I took my current position as Executive Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs for Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health at Montefiore.
My primary research is on shoulder dystocia and its relationship to obstetric brachial plexus injury. From 2004-2007, I was supported by an R-49 grant from the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control as principal investigator. I focused on examining mechanisms of injury, objectively evaluating obstetrical maneuvers, educating physicians-in-training through simulated complicated births and educating physicians in patient safety and injury prevention through continuing medical education. In this area especially, I have attained national and international recognition, disseminating my work through more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, as well as book chapters, invited oral presentations and internet instructional formats.
I received a joint appointment in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in 2003 for my interdisciplinary work, which has led to co-inventorship of two patents: a birthing simulator and a brachial plexus simulator. To further develop my teaching and administrative skills, I have earned Masters of Education of Health Professionals, focusing my scholarship on evaluation of best educational practices, competency assessment, and outcomes measures. I also completed a Master of Business Administration in Health Care Management at Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School.
As Executive Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women’s Health at Montefiore Medical Center – Albert Einstein College of Medicine, I view my role as director, mentor and advocate of the Department’s faculty and administrators to enable the delivery of exceptional quality reproductive health care for women in the Center of Excellence model and world-renowned professional education and training of the future generation of women’s health care providers in general Obstetrics & Gynecology and every subspecialty.