From Addiction to Recovery; A Jewish Spiritual Journey

by Susan J. Cole

From United Synagogue Review, Fall 1995
Reprinted With Permission

As I write these words, a nice Jewish boy sucks on a crack pipe. In twenty-five seconds, freebase cocaine will sear his brain, firing the neurons that signal intense pleasure, the visceral excitement of food or sex. A few minutes later, he sits frozen, eyes darting. When the paranoid delusions ebb, he reaches for the pipe again.

Healing of Body; Healing of Spirit

Nancy Flam

From Sh'ma: a journal of Jewish Responsibility October 3, 1997
Reprinted with Permission

What I Learned from My Heart Attack

Stephen A. Karol

From CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly, Winter 1997
Reprinted with Permission

JACS: Connecting Jews to Judaism

Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others (``JACS'') bridges the gap between recovery programs and the Jewish community. Founded in the late 1970s by Jewish alcoholics and family members under the auspices of the UJA-Federation, JACS is now a program of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services (JBFCS) in New York. Similarly, Boston JACS receives support from the Combined Jewish Philanthropies. More than a dozen smaller JACS groups meet across the U.S. and in Canada.

The Conservative Challenge

The challenge of serving Jewish alcoholics and addicts and their families reaches far beyond the world of addiction, testing our communal faith . As Rebecca Ehrlich, Director of Religious Education at JBFCS and a member of the United Synagogue Commission on Substance Abuse and Teens in Crisis, comments, ``Contemporary kids don't have a concept of gaining strength from a community. It would be a wonderful model if synagogues opened their doors to people in recovery --- to show that people can share weaknesses and gain strength from our religion and our relationship to God.''

Reaching for the Light

Substance abuse education is vital to prevention and sometimes provides an easier, more acceptable path to introducing the problems of alcoholism and addiction to the congregation. But if we think of drink and drugs as a ``teen problem,'' we are closing our eyes to the truth. Although alcoholics and addicts may begin their substance abuse as teenagers, the roots of the problem often go much deeper.

The Jewish Way of Healing - Jewish Tools

The Torah can be a source of healing for the spirit and psyche. Some rabbis ``prescribe'' sacred verses for use in mediation.

The Jewish Way of Healing

Nancy Flam

From Reform Judaism, Summer 1994
Reprinted with permission

In times of illness, Judaism offers potent remedies to help strengthen the body and spirit.

The Jewish Way of Healing - Body and Spirit

Jewish tradition has long recognized that there are two components of health: the body and the spirit. The Mi Sheberach prayer, traditionally recited for someone who is ill, asks God for refuah shleima, a complete healing, and then specifies two aspects: refuat hanefesh, healing of the soul/spirit/whole person, and refuat haguf, cure of the body. To cure the body means to wipe out the tumor, clear up the infection, or regain mobility. To heal the spirit involves creating a pathway to sensing wholeness, depth, mystery, purpose, and peace.