The organized Jewish community has come a long way in acknowledging addiction and supporting those who have struggled. JCFS Chicago and the Chicago Board of Rabbis invite you to continue this forward momentum. 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.
What is Serenity Shabbat?
Serenity Shabbat: In Solidarity with Addiction Recovery is a celebration of the blessings of addiction recovery at congregations throughout Chicagoland on Shabbat Naso, 22 May 2021/11 Sivan 5781. In Parshat Naso, we find a spiritual basis for living that involves abstaining from intoxicants; the Torah teaches that one of the pathways to be close to God involves abstinence from mood altering substances.
Your synagogue can participate in Serenity Shabbat by choosing from a variety of observances such as:
- using grape juice instead of wine to make kiddush
- incorporating addiction recovery-related supplemental prayers and/or readings
- including those facing addiction when offering healing and memorial prayers
JCFS Chicago has created materials for these and many more Serenity Shabbat observances to assist your congregation in creating a rich, meaningful experience.
View our Serenity Shabbat Resource Guide
We encourage you to celebrate addiction recovery in the Jewish community on another Shabbat if your congregation is not able to participate on Shabbat Naso, as many parshiot are amendable to recovery themes. All participants will be listed on our Serenity Shabbat webpage.
Serenity Shabbat Participating Synagogues
Anshe Emet Synagogue
Beth Shalom of Naperville
Chicago Loop Synagogue
Congregation Anshe Tikvah
Let us know how you will be participating! Sign up today.
Communication Considerations on Serenity Shabbat
It is important to consider how we refer to people facing addiction and those in recovery. Person-first language places the person before other potentially stigmatizing identities. Examples of person-first language include “a person with an addiction” or “a person in recovery.” There is an online Addiction-ary for those interested in engaging with the most current usages in the recovery community.
Special Note for Special Times: Serenity Shabbat during Covid. During these uncertain times, we know that some members of our community will be celebrating Shabbat at home, perhaps participating in services via livestream or zoom. Some will be with family or friends, and some will be alone. Therefore, we have included suggestions for “Shabbat At Home” to enhance and support the observance of Serenity Shabbat for all.
If you have questions at any time during your planning process or following Serenity Shabbat, please contact us:
Beth Fishman, Program Manager, Addiction Services
Nina Henry, Addictions Specialist
Rabbi Rob Jury, Addictions Consultant