Addiction & Substance Abuse

Jewish Center for Addiction: Prevention, Help and Hope

There is a pervasive myth that addiction is not a Jewish issue. No one, however, is immune, from the least Jewishly involved to the most religious. The myth that Jews are somehow protected from addiction reinforces shame and isolation and can inhibit community members from seeking needed help. The goal of the Jewish Center for Addiction is to ensure that Jewish individuals and their families who are impacted by addiction find support within the Jewish community and receive education on treatment resources. JCA programs address specific needs of Chicago’s Jewish community and reflect best practices in the addiction prevention and treatment fields.

Jewish Center for Addiction offers the following services:

Community Education

  • JCA Speaker’s Bureau brings Jewish volunteers who are in recovery from addiction to community groups to speak about their experiences.
  • Safe, sober and spiritual celebrations for Jews in recovery and those who support the recovery community.
  • Community Partnerships broaden support and access for Jews working to achieve and maintain abstinence.
  • Messaging Training, first developed by Faces & Voices of Recover, demonstrates how individuals in addiction recovery can tell their stories of recovery in positive, life-affirming terms.

Youth Drug Prevention

The Jewish Center for Addiction, in partnership with Response, offers the (PIP) program to 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Jewish day schools and synagogue religious schools across Chicagoland.

Information and Referral

  • Telephone-based brief assessment
  • Information on addiction
  • Suggested referrals to local and national treatment resources

Jewish Resources for Recovery

  • Supportive Education Groups provide a safe place for Jewish individuals and families to share experiences and learn to set healthy boundaries, improve self-care and prevent relapse.
  • Pastoral Counseling with the staff rabbi/chaplain at Jewish Child & Family Services to explore challenges related to Judaism and sobriety.
  • Jewish Center for Addiction encourages synagogues and Jewish communal organizations to open their buildings to 12-Step and SMART Recovery meetings and maintains a list of current meeting locations.
  • Jewish 12-Stepping Workshops examine how the spirituality of 12-Step recovery can be sustained, supported and enriched by Jewish study, thought, prayer and practice.
  • 12-Step Torah sessions link a concentrated Torah study experience to 12-Step recovery: a booklet for incorporating Jewish prayers into your existing program of 12-Step recovery.

Professional Training

  • Advanced clinical training on evidence-based practices
  • Education for clergy and Jewish communal professionals on recognizing at-risk congregants, formulating safe policies regarding alcohol use and creating welcoming communities for families in recovery from addiction 
  • Consultation to Jewish organizations around the country that are interested in developing addiction recovery programs in their local communities

Support & Funding

Jewish Center for Addiction is supported by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, the Jewish Federation's Fund for Innovation in Health (underwritten by the Michael Reese Health Trust), the Breakthrough Fund: an Innovation of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and other generous donors.

JCA Staff Team

Beth Fishman, Ph.D., JCA Program Manager or 847.745.5422

Nina J. Henry, LCPC CADC, Addiction Specialist or 847.745.5457