Addiction Services

Prevention, Help and Hope

There is a pervasive myth that addiction is not a Jewish issue. In reality, no one is immune, from the least Jewishly involved to the most observant. The myth that Jews are somehow protected from addiction reinforces shame and isolation and can inhibit community members from seeking needed help. Among the goals of JCFS Chicago's addiction services is to ensure that Jewish individuals and their families struggling with addiction or celebrating recovery find information and support within the Jewish community.

In addition, the following document and audio file offer a guided meditation for support and healing during challenging times.

Community Education

  • Jewish volunteers who are in addiction recovery are available to speak positively about their lives in recovery to community groups and to address the role Judaism and the Jewish community have played.
  • Presentations for Older Adults on safe use of prescription medication.
  • Youth Addiction Prevention programs for 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Jewish day and synagogue religious schools.
  • Education on all types of addiction for community groups

Older Adult Services

  • In partnership with CJE Seniorlife, EZRA, and The ARK: substance use and non substance related addiction disorders assessment, action planning, psychoeducational support services for older adult clients, their loved ones, and caregivers
  • Professional training and consultation for clinicians, care managers, and other staff of partner and community agencies

Information and Resources 

  • Supportive conversations with individuals and family members who have questions or concerns
  • Telephone-based brief assessment
  • Suggested referrals to local and national treatment resources

Jewish Resources for Recovery

  • Jewish contemplative workshops teach skills that enable individuals to deepen their spiritual experience to manage stressors
  • Pastoral Counseling to explore challenges related to Judaism and sobriety
  • Safe, sober, and spiritual celebrations for Jews in recovery and their allies
  • Guidance for synagogues and Jewish communal organizations opening their buildings to 12-Step and other peer-led recovery meetings
  • Updated listing of current addiction recovery meetings in Jewish 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
  • Booklet for incorporating Jewish prayers into 12-Step recovery

Professional Training

  • Education for clergy and Jewish communal professionals on recognizing individuals at risk for addiction, formulating policies regarding alcohol and marijuana use, and creating safe, welcoming communities for families at risk for or in recovery from addiction
  • Consultation to Jewish organizations interested in developing addiction recovery programs 
  • Training for mental health and addiction professionals on best practices and evidence-based approaches
  • Jewish religious and cultural competence training for addiction treatment providers

Serenity Shabbat:  In Solidarity with Addiction Recovery.

Serenity Shabbat: In Solidarity with Addiction Recovery is an important new way to lift the veil of shame and secrecy of addiction and extend our support to our community. On Serenity Shabbat, during Shabbat Naso or another Shabbat of your choosing, the blessings of addiction recovery are celebrated in congregations throughout Chicagoland. 

Your synagogue or other Jewish communal organization can participate in Serenity Shabbat by choosing from a variety of observances; JCFS Chicago has created materials to assist your community in creating a rich, meaningful experience. For more information please see the Serenity Shabbat Resource Guide or contact Beth Fishman, Program Manager for JCFS Chicago addiction services. Serenity Shabbat is sponsored by JCFS Chicago and the Chicago Board of Rabbis.

Support & Funding

The Jewish Federation's Fund for Innovation in Health (underwritten by the Michael Reese Health Trust), the Albert and Lucille Delighter and Marcella Winston Foundation, a Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and other generous donors.
For information contact:

Beth Fishman, Ph.D. Program Manager, Addiction Services 847.745.5422
Nina J. Henry, LCPC CADC, Addiction Specialist  847.745.5457