Jews and substance abuse.
To some, that’s an oxymoron. To others — Jewish community leaders and addiction professionals alike — that denial is as much a problem as alcohol and drugs themselves.
Which is why on Wednesday, April 21, Jewish Family Service is co-sponsoring an interactive panel discussion: “Behind Closed Doors? Alcoholism & Addiction in the Jewish Community.”
The free event is set for 7 p.m. at the 420 Post Road West offices of Positive Directions, the non-profit, non-sectarian social service agency that is also sponsoring the event.
Panelists — including addiction experts; the coordinator of JFS’s J PASS program (Jewish Partnership for Addiction Support and Services), and a Jewish man in recovery — will discuss long-standing cultural and religious traditions surrounding the issue of substance abuse, and describe services available to the Jewish community.
“Alcohol, gambling and other addictions run under the radar in Jewish communities,” said Eve Moskowitz, JFS director of clinical services.
“Jews don’t have a place to address addictions, because they and their families think it’s not appropriate for them to have addictions.”
“AA is wonderful, but Jews don’t always go there,” added Marty Hauhuth, executive director of Positive Directions. “A lot of meetings are held in churches, and they end with the Lord’s Prayer.”
JFS tried a similar program, with limited success. So they’ve partnered with Positive Directions, in hopes of reaching a broader audience.
Is this the 1st religious group that has partnered with Positive Directions? Hauhuth paused to think.
“Temple Israel has always been very generous with funding for Positive Directions, and so have several churches,” she noted. “And we get many referrals from religious groups, all the time. We’re always open to any community group that wants to work with us.”
(For more information, call Positive Directions at 203-227-7644, or Eve Moskowitz at 203-921-4161.)