The loss of Faigy Mayer, oleha hashalom, a precious soul, is a stab to the heart of every caring Jew. Faigy will be on the minds of many of us this Tisha B’Av as a personal calamity to add to the national ones commemorated on the Jewish day of mourning.
By her own account, Faigy faced deep internal adversity from her early youth, and a letter she left, read carefully, only corroborates the clouded lens through which she viewed her environment. To blame her death, as some seem anxious to do, on the community into which she was born and that sought to nurture her is as repugnant as would be blaming the community she subsequently joined.
Her psychological challenges were not the result of her leaving her home and community, but arguably a cause of it.
The only takeaway from this horrible loss is the need to de-stigmatize mental illness – in all communities – and to realize the tragedies that, if left untreated, it can bring about.