About Body & Soul

The programs focus on promoting positive self-esteem and coping strategies which in turn reward our clients with the desire to nourish their bodies with well balanced nutritious meals. Clients will learn that eating disorders represent real adolescent and/or adult issues regarding growing up, aging, getting or being married, socializing amongst family members and peers, feeling important and having a strong personal identity. Many of these issues arise due to genetic, personal and environmental factors that diminish confidence causing people to resort to negative coping strategies such as restrictive or compulsive eating, bulimia or binge eating. 

At Body & Soul, our clients will be cared for with compassion and encouragement while healing within the values of the Jewish culture. While we cannot guarantee that all clients recover within all areas of their family's wishes, our mission and treatment protocol will always be very supportive. Family values are the cornerstone of the recovery process. 

This is a unique treatment modality that is not currently offered within the religious community. With the epidemic of eating disorders on the rise, there will now be a place where religious Jewish girls and women can recover utilizing the therapies and programs that are respected worldwide. 

Enrolling in Body & Soul's Intensive Meal Support Programs may prompt many questions regarding anonymity and exposure of family reputation. Families can be assured that we will respect their privacy. All groups will be small and limited to six girls or women. Each client will be obligated to sign a privacy contract that forbids the disclosure or discussion about another client within the group. 

Many families concerned that by enrolling their teen, they will be exposed to other kid's issues and/or negative behaviors. Most teens, however, report quite the opposite. They state that they are relieved to be part of a group  where they do not need to hide. and can finally be themselves. They find comfort in an environment where they can learn and share their concerns in a non-judgmental atmosphere. it becomes their place to heal. Sessions are very positive in message and negative or self-injurious behaviors are discussed in private. 

Eating disorders are a legitimate medical condition. It is time we help our girls heal. 

About Iris

Iris Epstein is a Registered Dietitian with the Nutrition Improvement Center in Rockland County New York, specializing in Eating Disorders and Diabetes.

Iris received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from the University of Maryland and did her dietetic internship at Cornell Medical Center in New York City. She is a Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian Supervisor through the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals as well as a Certified Diabetic Educator.

Iris has been in private practice since 2002. Prior to opening up her practice Iris worked for approximately 10 years in nursing homes in the Bronx. In addition to her private practice, Iris works for the Animas pump company placing clients on the insulin pump.

Iris is now the founder of the first meal support program known as "Body and Soul"created solely for religious Jewish girls and woman with disordered eating behaviors in Rockland County.  Her philosophy is one of compassion along with hard work to break through the determined mindset that take hold of people with disordered eating. By addressing the real issues that give disordered eating its strength we can weaken its hold it has on us. Just as there are many causes for disordered eating, it often takes a variety of treatment options to assist in curing them. Iris is confident that the program's provided at Body and Soul will address many of the treatments our clients need to resume healthy and balanced eating behaviors. 

Meet the Team

Michelle Levine, Outreach Coordinator

Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts focusing on Social Sciences from the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, NY.  She has extensive customer service experience and thoroughly enjoys working with people.  She’s been part of the Nutrition Impovement Center team for almost a year and coordinates all logistical aspects of our schedules and is the frontline to our clients.  In her spare time; Michelle is a Wish Granter for Make A Wish Foundation working with children in making their “wishes” come true.

Shirley Panitz, Meal Support Coach

Shirley is a Certified Registered Dietitian with over 25 years of experience in the dietetics field.  She graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1988 and completed her dietetic practical experience at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Her dietetic experience includes working in the hospital setting as well as out-patient.  Her specialties include weight management for adults and children, eating disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes management and gastrointestinal conditions.  She is a member of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  She is also part of the Diabetes Care and Education and Weight Management practice groups. Shirley is bilingual and ready to coach our Spanish speaking clients.

Guest Speakers

Mary Partridge, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Mary has been in practice for over 25 years. She completed her Yoga Teacher Training in 2008 and then went on to a yoga therapy certification. Mary incorporates the wisdom of yoga, breathwork, mindfulness and meditation into her psychotherapy sessions. Mary believes we can achieve optimum health through the body, mind and spirit. In addition to her private practice, Mary teaches individual yoga sessions and classes.

Aviva Kohl, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

As a certified OCD specialist, she has a unique interest in working with religious scrupulosity, OCD, and anxiety-related disorders. In addition to her background in Interpersonal Process psychotherapy, Aviva received extensive training in the ACT model as a framework for the therapeutic process. Aviva has been trained in Narrative Trauma Therapy and is a certified PAIRS marriage educator. Her experience using the SAIT model for relational trauma is often employed in her work with couples to improve their relationships.  

Aviva has recently joined the Jewish Family Services Eating Disorder Task Force in Rockland County, and strives to increase awareness about eating disorders within the Jewish community. She skillfully applies both her ACT training, as well as aspects of OCD treatment, in her work with eating disorders. Her past experience teaching Jewish philosophy as Director of the Valley Jewish Learning Center, and for the Neve Yerushalayim College for Women, as well as her work in Jewish premarital counseling, have made her an effective speaker on topics combining psychology and Jewish thought.  Aviva works both in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities and is able to comfortably employ multiple modalities in best addressing the varying needs of her clients.