Jewish Community

Creating a Community of Caring

Addiction and addiction recovery are realities in our community; they always have been and likely will be into the near future.  Until recently many people in the Jewish community denied that addiction was a Jewish issue.  Now there is a much greater recognition of how addiction challenges our own.  However, many Jewish families still express deep feelings of isolation when confronting addiction in themselves or their loved ones.

There are so many ways, large and small, that each of us can support Jewish families struggling with active addiction or in recovery, to bring them out of isolation and into the loving support our community offers.  Here are some ideas:

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Coping With Sudden Loss

Not a day goes by when we are not inundated with stories of shootings, accidents, senseless acts of violence or natural disasters. When these events happen, we might feel shock or sadness, yet we strive to protect ourselves by keeping the tragedies at arm’s length. But how do we handle an unexpected or sudden loss in our own lives? 

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Awareness and Inclusion: Creating Opportunities for School Success for Children with Emotional Disabilities

Rabbi David M. Rosenberg, Coordinator, Jewish Educational Services, JCFS Chicago Therapeutic Yeshiva reflects on Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month and the opportunities for success the JCFS Chicago Therapeutic Day School & Yeshiva create for students whose potential to achieve has been hindered by their emotional disability. 

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Jewish Summer Camp Welcomes Everyone

Jewish summer camp welcomes everyone - and I mean everyone. Our son Danny, who is now 23 years old, has attended Jewish summer camp for nearly 20 years. His journey began at the Mayer Kaplan JCC in Skokie. And since Danny was headed to Jewish camp, I signed up his younger sister as well. At three and five years of age, Debbie and Danny were eager and enthusiastic to follow in the footsteps of their older siblings as campers. However, for Danny there was a difference.

Danny is on the autism spectrum, and the secular day camp that his older sisters attended did not offer the services and supports Danny needed. Fortunately, an inclusion program jointly sponsored by Keshet and the JCCs did, and off we went.

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Gender Stereotypes – What’s A Parent to Do?

By Tracey Lipsig Kite, LCSW, Educator and Trainer, JCFS Chicago

“Do girls abandon our bodies because that’s where we’re shamed and boys abandon their emotions because that’s where they’re shamed? Little boys: Don’t feel. Little girls: Don’t hunger.” Glennon Doyle Melton in Love Warrior

Our culture today (often unconsciously) pushes girls and boys into separate boxes, and handicaps them emotionally. Despite our efforts to the contrary, we continue to tell girls, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that being nice, beautiful, smart and successful are expected; expressing anger is not OK. We tell boys that being tough, strong and a leader are important, and the only emotion that is OK for them to express is anger. To further complicate things, most people aren’t aware of having taken in those messages, so we may be passing them on to our kids without meaning to. Two JCFS Chicago parenting sessions of particular interest over the past two years are: Girl Drama and Raising Emotionally Healthy Boys.

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Children of Alcoholics: Protecting Our Most Vulnerable Victims

by Amanda Platner, M.A.  Psychological Services Pre-doctoral Intern

“Children in alcoholic families suffer trauma as acute as soldiers in combat; they also carry the trauma like an albatross throughout their lives.” –Pamela Weintraub, Author of "A Toxic Brew," Psychology Today, 2007

Like many diseases, alcoholism affects all members of a family. Some of its most vulnerable victims are children. The National Association for Children of Alcoholics reports that approximately one in five adults grew up in a household with an alcoholic family member. Of the 26.8 million children of alcoholics in the United States, over 40 percent are under the age of 18 (NACoA, 2002). “

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