OU Young Leadership Holds National Fundraiser for Eating Disorder Film

13 Mar 2007


Young Leadership Cabinet (YLC), the Orthodox Union’s training ground for its future leaders, has taken on a project to bring the destructive problem of eating disorders to the attention of the Orthodox community. The Cabinet is raising funds across North America for the production of an educational documentary, “Dying to be Thin” that will be used to alert teens, young adults, and their parents to the growing problem of eating disorders. The film will be shown in high schools and seminaries across North America and Israel.

The YLC, with a matching grant from the OU, has already raised three quarters of the funds needed to make the film through the past fundraising events. At the events, specialists in the field of eating disorders will discuss the mounting problem of destructive and life-threatening conditions such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. In addition, a survivor of an eating disorder will give a personal account of her experience. The YLC hopes to finish raising money for the project by this summer and to begin filming in the fall.

The Young Leadership Cabinet is a group of up-in-coming professionals who seek to build a stronger Jewish community, enhance Jewish education and support Israel by taking leadership roles in major American Jewish organizations. YLC programs aim to create networking opportunities, enhance personal and professional growth and provide informative lectures on how one can become a successful lay leader.

In a community that values privacy and keeping family and health issues out of the public eye, “Dying to be Thin” seeks to raise awareness and to open a discussion about eating disorders, declared Elisheva Diamond, Chair of the Subcommittee on Social and Community Services and producer of the film. YLC is holding events to raise money for the production of the educational documentary, which is the first film to explore the distinctive role eating disorders play among Orthodox Jews, in a manner fitting for the community.

“This educational documentary is necessary because there are no films available that address eating disorders in a context that is appropriate for a Torah observant audience,” declared Ms. Diamond. “Most films include provocative body images and images that are contrary to the Jewish laws of modesty. Jewish school administrations are not comfortable showing these films because of these images. However, we are hearing again and again from Jewish schools that eating disorders remain a problem in the student population.”

The film addresses the specific concerns in the Orthodox community. For instance, as young women are entering the dating scene, many are anxious about their looks because they want to secure good matches. In addition, laws of modesty inhibit people from talking about their problems, which may be aggravated by the pressures of school and extracurricular activities.

The film was conceived and produced by Elisheva Diamond, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Social and Community Services and is directed by Rick Magder, Director of Media and Broadcasting who has produced a wide range of well-received videos and films for Orthodox Union programming.

For more information and to contribute, contact Ilana Prager, Director of the Young Leadership Cabinet, at the Orthodox Union, 212-613-8134, prageri@ou.org, 14th Floor, Eleven Broadway, New York, NY 10004.