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  JEWISH AND KOSHER UNITED STATES

 

 
 
 
  UNITED STATES OF AMERICA  
  COMMUNITY LEADERS ON DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
By Rachel Orian                                                                                Edited: Joy Chertow

Addicts of any age, race, or religious belief are welcome to seek treatment at teen drug addiction treatment centers.

Mr. Farshad Sayan, of JACS of Boston ,tells us that a Jewish addict can be a member of your synagogue, a successful businessperson with no signs that he/she is one. The Jewish addict is hiding behind closed doors. The Jewish community is hiding the problem of Drugs & Alcohol under the carpet. It is very difficult to admit that Jews abuse drugs & alcohol. Consequently there are not many places to go for help. "Shame" and "denial" are words that repeat many times in the conversation.

We spoke with Jacob (pseudonym for this article). Jacob comes from a large, traditional family . He received his American citizenship when he was twenty years old. Jacob was very successful academically. He studied and worked extremely hard and all of his time was dedicated to his profession. He didn't know it , but he was already addicted: He was a perfectionist and a workaholic. Friends left him. They couldn't stay around a young man who was always busy and couldn't spare time for socializing. When Jacob was left alone and started to miss being around people he went searching for a party. other people were ready to accept him and show him how to party. Drug addicts. They partied with him as much as he wanted. Jacob became perfectionist in this addiction too. He was addicted to work and he became addicted to drugs. He did this extremely well, too. He partied with total dedication and his business went down the drain.

The Right Choice

Jacob tried to take back control of his life. He decided to get married. He had a beautiful wife and a promising future , but only if he could stay away from drugs. Jacob couldn"t. Not by himself. His wife couldn't stay in the relationship, however she found help for Jacob . They remain friends to this day. Jacob had to handle the loss of his wife, in addition to the loss of his friends and business. Jacob was introduced to JACS of Boston. He made a Choice: NO MORE DRUGS. He is participating in meetings of JACS and helping others. Jacob became a leader. He is a spokesman for JACS. He adopted the JACS approach: No More Jewish denial about alcoholism or any other addictions .

JACS -
Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically dependent persons and Significant others

From JACS brochure: "JACS of Boston is an autonomous, non-profit, volunteer membership organization concerned with the disease of alcoholism and chemical dependency among Jews. It is supported by individual membership contributions, charitable donations and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston. "

JACS members are Jews who recover from their addiction with the help of Jewish sources and values. JACS mission is to provide information and recovery programs to Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically dependent persons and Significant others while taking Judaism back. The Boston Group was established in 1983.

JACS of Boston and the Collaboration with CJP and JF&CS

JACS of Boston began receiving funding from Combined Jewish Philanthropies(CJP) by 1987. Since 1996 JACS and the Jewish Family and Children's Service(JF&CS) combined forces in sharing knowledge about drug and alcohol counseling and prevention. Ira Schor, Director of Community Programs at JF&CS of Boston met recently with Farshad Sayan to discuss collaboration between JF&CS and JACS. Their goal is to provide timely information about substance abuse/addiction services and resources to the Jewish community. JF&CS intends to publicize the work of JACS and enhance its connection to the Jewish community. Another goal in both organizations is to promote substance abuse/addiction awareness and prevention in the Jewish community. The intake personnel at JF&CS refers people from the Jewish community to JACS for help in drug and alcohol counseling and for meetings. The plan for 1998 is to establish regular meetings between JF&CS staff (intake and community outreach) and JACS, to develop a marketing plan, with budget. This would include promoting JACS, developing and implementing a plan to provide educational programs in the Jewish community. During the second half of the year JACS and JF&CS staff will summarize their information from the perspective of needs assessment and community receptivity. The intent is to develop an implementation plan for fiscal year 1999.The plan will include how funds will be secured.

Drugs & Alcohol and Jewish Youth

We spoke with with Rabbi Moshe Waldoks of the Solomon Schechter of Greater Boston to hear his reaction to the claim that shame and denial are the main obstacles for people and organizations in the Jewish community to give and receive help. He said this was true until a few year ago before people knew about JACS and before leaders in the Jewish community took action. Rabbi Waldoks is familiar with Jewish writings such as , "Twelve Jewish Steps to Recovery" by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky & Stuart A. Copans, M.D. Rabbi Waldoks view does not include "zero tolerance to drugs & alcohol". He advocates the "use but not abuse" approach. He spoke about the appropriate use of alcohol in Judaism: for kiddush, during holidays (Passover) and for other social events. The Rabbi recommends not to go with the crowd, to reject peer pressure to participate in drug and alcohol parties and to establish and maintain healthy friendships. He spoke about the CHOICE that we have in choosing the right path. Self image has a lot to do with the abuse of drugs and alcohol according to Rabbi Waldoks. At Solomon Schechter they encourage growth of positive self image as part of a prevention plan. Prevention education on drugs and alcohol happens in 8th grade at Schechter. When it comes to his attention that someone is in need of help, he refers them to private counseling. Not all Jewish children are in Jewish schools. Jewish leaders and educators are often not aware of the fact that many Jewish children are caught with drugs and alcohol by the police and receive treatment by the public schools accompanied by police record. We need to reach these children before they become statistic on a police record.

Support Programs in the Boston area

JACS:
617-527-1888, 426-9444

Jewish Family&
Children Service
617-558-1278

Sameem Associate, Inc.:
617-964-1060

Boys & Girls
Clubs

Teen Hotline:
617-534-5700

MASS. Prevention Center:
617-441-0700
MASS Drug/Alcohol Hotline: 1-800-327-5050 YMCA ADCARE Hospital: 1-800-ALCOHOL Alcoholic Anonymous: 617-426-9444

Police Department/Community Services

From JACS Brochure: "Boston JACS provides an opportunity for recovering Jews and their families to connect with each other and share their Jewish roots, and to explore resources within Judaism that may enhance their recovery. JACS provides a variety of social, cultural, retreat programs and holiday events where members and friends can learn, exchange ideas and observe together."

JACS meetings are held the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 7:30-9 p.m. in the library of Temple Ohobai Shalom - 1187 Beacon Street in Brookline. Enter through the Administration Building door.

Tuesdays from 7:30-9 p.m at Temple Shalom - 175 Temple Street in Newton, an AA meeting is open to anyone who wants to attend.

Retreats and other resources are listed on the WWW site maintained by JACS in New York: http://www.jacsweb.org .

 

 
   
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