Steve Markind has bipolar disorder, a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings. Without help, people with mental illness can face grave danger; for Markind, managing his disorder has been the struggle of his life.
But since 2002, Markind has had a stable foundation from which to heal at Jewish Federation-supported Tikvah Residence, which provides comfortable, affordable housing for adults with mental health needs.
Run by JEVS Human Services, the Tikvah program is one of independent living within a caring community environment. “We all help each other; we’re very close knit,” said Markind of the eight residents of their brick apartment building on a leafy corner of Drexel Hill.
Residents receive health care assessments and support from specialists, help with job searches and job retention, and group sessions that teach skills like relationship-building and stress management. Having easy access to other residents is key: Through weekly dinners, group exercise classes and events, participants come to know and rely upon one another.
As Markind has gained control over his health, he has discovered within himself a deep desire to help others. “I like to see how people can expand themselves, feel better about themselves and do things to grow,” Markind said. “That gives me pleasure to see that they’re growing.” He now works as a certified peer specialist, counseling clients through their own struggles with mental illness. And Markind’s open, accessible nature means he’s always available to lend an ear to his fellow residents.
For Markind, accessibility is circular: His ability to access a stable support system has allowed him, in turn, to be accessible to others. “I believe my own experience has equipped me to do this,” he said. “Now I help people to help themselves.” We should all aspire to be as accessible as Markind.
When you are accessible, you are open and approachable — able to encounter others with empathy and in ways comfortable for them — so that you can meaningfully connect.
For more about Tikvah Residence, visit jevshumanservices.org/program/tikvah-residence.
For more about the positive attributes we share at the Jewish Federation, visit
Humans of Tel Aviv
Throughout the summer of 2018, and throughout Greater Philadelphia, the Jewish Federation will bring photographs from Erez Kaganovitz’s eye-opening project “Humans of Tel Aviv.” Our feature will include a lecture by Kaganovitz as well as numerous programs and learning opportunities around the photographs.
Kaganovitz studied journalism and international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After moving to Tel Aviv, he was amazed by the variety of characters swirling around him in the city. Since then, he has taken nearly 1,000 portraits, published alongside each individual’s story, which comprise “Humans of Tel Aviv.”
SISTER CITIES PARK
June 5 to June 24
Sister Cities Park
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, in partnership with Citizens Diplomacy International – Philadelphia, presents a public art exhibition of “Humans of Tel Aviv.” Join friends and family for a stroll through Sister Cities Park to discover the diversity of Tel Aviv.
Since Oct. 27, 1966, Philadelphia has maintained a special connection to Tel Aviv as one of our sister cities. The Sister Cities Program, overseen by Citizens Diplomacy International, links Philadelphia to 11 international cities, promoting economic ties, strengthening cultural understanding and providing humanitarian assistance. The Jewish Federation is proud to partner with Citizens Diplomacy International in fostering cultural understanding between Greater Philadelphia and Israel.
PAIRINGS ON THE PARKWAY
June 7 | 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Sister Cities Park
In conjunction with “Humans of Tel Aviv,” the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and Citizens Diplomacy International present Israeli singer-songwriter Hadar McNeill.
Classically trained — but heavily influenced by R&B — Hadar’s electronic music is a beautiful blend of Israeli and American pop influences from Arik Einstein to Prince. After moving to Philadelphia from Israel in 2010, Hadar released her five-song EP titled Simple Complex, which was recorded right here in Philadelphia by her husband KJ McNeill. Alongside Kaganovitz’s photographs, KJ and Hadar will treat us to this Pairings on the Parkway performance, helping us to discover Israel through sights and sounds.