Addiction & Substance Misuse

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  JCFS Chicago's addiction and substance misuse services 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. We address specific needs of Chicago’s Jewish community and reflect best practices in the addiction prevention and treatment fields.

JCFS Chicago offers the following services:

Community Education

  • 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.

Youth Drug Prevention

JCFS Chicago and Response for Teens offers the (PIP) program to 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Jewish day schools and synagogue religious schools across Chicagoland.

Older Adult Services

JCFS Chicago, in partnership with CJE Seniorlife, EZRA, and The ARK, offers substance use disorders assessment, action planning, psychoeducational support services to Older Adult clients and their loved ones and caregivers.  Professional training and consultation is offered to clinicians, care managers, and other staff of partner agencies.

Information and Referral

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

Jewish Resources for Recovery

  • Jewish Contemplative Practices Workshops teach skills that enable individuals to deepen their experience of their Higher Power and manage stressors with Jewish approaches.
  • Pastoral Counseling with the staff rabbi/chaplain at JCFS Chicago to explore challenges related to Judaism and sobriety.
  • Addiction & Misuse Services encourages synagogues and Jewish communal organizations to open their buildings to 12-Step and SMART Recovery meetings and maintains a list of current 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.
  • 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 at risk for or 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

JCFS Chicago's addiction and substance misuse services are 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 Albert and Lucille Delighter and Marcella Winston Foundation, a Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and other generous donors.

JCFS Chicago Staff 

Beth Fishman, Ph.D. Program Manager, Addiction Services or 847.745.5422

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