Dr Judith Guedalia

Birkhat Ha’Gomel: Community Response to Acute Stress Disorder


The aim of this paper is to propose
the introduction of a communal ritual
as a post trauma early intervention
technique. There are specific community oriented
methods for dealing with trauma
survivors; we believe that, in particular,
the Jewish ritual of birkhat ha’gomel (the
blessing recited when saved from danger)
is helpful for reducing chronic effects of
trauma. Similar post trauma traditions are
seen in other ethnic groups, such as the
Navajo; those will be briefly discussed as
well. It is important to note that therapies
that are currently employed as the result
of years of research have many similarities
to those rituals that have existed for
thousands of years. When providing
early intervention for a trauma survivor,
it is important to be aware of culturally
appropriate treatments as well as the most
commonly used professional methods. A
combination of these techniques may be
effective to alleviate acute stress disorder
and prevent chronic post traumatic stress
in the general public.

Tags: Abreaction | Acute Stress Disorder | ASD | Birkhat Ha’gomel | CBT | Chronic Post Traumatic Stress | Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment | DSM-IV | EMDR | Guilt | Pharmacotherapy | PIE | Psychoeducation Technique | PTSD | Sings | Thanksgiving for Salvation

Ben Sorer U'Moreh: Using a Biblical Metaphor in Diagnosis and Therapy

The Bible's account of the Ben Sorer U'Moreh (recalcitrant, or literally, "stubborn and rebellious" son) (Deuteronomy 21: 18-21) is one of its most puzzling and, seemingly, psychologically incomprehensible.  However, upon closer investigation, it may be interpreted as a passage that reflects the Torah's understanding of individual psychopathology, dysfunctional behaviors of the couple as individuals and as a parental unit, and the impact of these factors on family dynamics.

Tags: Abusive Family Situation | Child Protective Services | Incorrigible Son | Recalcitrant | Responsibility For Children | Selective Mutism | Stockholm Syndrome/Effect | Stubborn And Rebellious | Yifat Toar

In Desperate Pursuit of Motherhood: Another Perspective on the Sotah

Judith Guedalia, PhD and Yocheved Debow, MA


The sotah (suspected adulteress) is a topic
of much discussion in the Torah and Talmud.
The basic level of the discussion is the process
by which a jealous husband and the kohanim
(priests) deal with a wife suspected of violating
the sanctity of marriage by infidelity. Through
examining the Torah and Talmud texts, we wish
to present an additional perspective on this
difficult topic. Our suggested approach reveals
the empathy and compassion of the A-lmighty
and the Torah for a woman in desperate pursuit
to have a child.

Tags: Childless | Sotah | Suspected Adulteress



In this paper we present an integrative model for helping perpetrators of accidental killing accept
the consequences of their actions and their 'new' selves. We use the model described in the Bible
of the 'city of refuge,' a place defined as a sanctuary to protect the 'accidental killer.' Based on an
understanding of the psychic trauma experienced by accidental killers, we classify their response
to the specific event as a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We then present a model
for rehabilitation that could be used to facilitate the rehabilitation of accidental killers and facilitate
their re-entry into society.

Tags: Accidental Death | Biblical Model Dedication | Mourning | Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The “Unorthodox” Therapy of an Ultra-Orthodox Adolescent
By Judith S.B. Guedalia, Ph.D. and Leah Haber, PhD

Editor’s note: In addition to the rabbis consulted by the authors, ASSIA-Jewish Medical Ethics has approached a number of leading halakhic authorities, seeking their opinions on the course of treatment outlined in this case study. These authorities were kind enough to provide us with their written responses, including halakhic sources, justifying the therapy. They emphasized that this is not a generally applicable ruling; each case must be individually dealt with by a competent halakhic authority.

Tags: ASSIA | Conduct Disorder | Dissociative Identity Disorder | Hasidic | Jewish Medical Ethics | Masturbation

The Use of Luria's Method for the Neurobehavioral Assessment of Encephalopathy in an Adolescent: Application in a Rehabilitation Setting


Standardized neuropsychological test batteries demonstrate their greatest reliability and validity in patients with focal, well-defined neurologic disease. In these patients, the test profiles typically highlight focal areas of strengths and weaknesses in the brain. However, the clinical utility of standard test batteries and their reliance on scaled score differences is limited when evaluating patients with severe or diffuse neurobehavioral disorders. In the present case study, we applied the qualitative approach of Alexander Luria to the neuropsychological evaluation of a severely impaired adolescent, unable to complete psychometric tests. Luria's investigative method was able to assist in the localization of the brain dysfunction and the neurologic diagnosis of a young patient with an unusual neurologic presentation secondary to serious multisystem disease. The initial neuropsychological diagnostic impressions were later confirmed by diagnostic testing. The test results were also used to provide recommendations for ongoing neurorehabilitation of the patient.

Tags: Encephalopathy | Neuropsychology

Canavan disease--an expanded role for dentists.


American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Jerusalem, Israel.

Canavan disease (CD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that occurs predominantly but not exclusively in Ashkenazi Jews. It is characterized by a normal birth, rapidly followed by signs of lack of interest, hypotonia, and megalencephaly, resulting in early death. Genetic studies suggest that among Ashkenazi Jews the carrier frequency is between 1/35 and 1/59. Dentists aware of CD can assist in the treatment of infants and children afflicted with this disorder. Early dental treatment may support parents and siblings in caring for the child with CD and help create good family dynamics.

Tags: Canavan Disease

A Reversible Case of Klüver-Bucy Syndrome in Association With Shigellosis

The Klüver-Bucy syndrome is characterized by psychic blindness or visual agnosia, blunted affect, hypermetamorphosis, hyperorality, bulimia, and sexual behavioral alterations. To date, there have been fewer than 10 reported cases of Klüver-Bucy syndrome in children, most of them irreversible. We describe here a reversible case of the complete Klüver-Bucy syndrome in a child suffering from Shigella encephalopathy.

Tags: Blindness | Bulimia | Hypermetamorphosis | Hyperorality | Klüver-Bucy | Psychic Blindness | Shigella encephalopathy | Visual Agnosia