Addiction

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:

Read more

What Community Development Can Teach Us About Self-Development

by Yakov Danishefsky, JCFS Chicago Community Services Intern

Leadership, at its best, is fueled by a fervent desire for change and the ardent commitment to a dream. But zealotry, whatever its worth, is not leadership. Leadership consultant, Marty Linsky, writes that “Leadership is disappointing your people at a rate they can absorb.” If the leader expresses too much passion, she loses her people. Too little passion, and she loses herself and her cause. Being passionate enough to dedicate your life to social-change advocacy, and yet patient and even-keeled enough to do so successfully, is not simple.

Read more

Using Medications Safely: Empowering Older Adults

According to a 2014 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2012 and 2050, the United States will experi­ence considerable growth in its older population (the report defined older population as age 65 and older). The baby boomers are largely responsible for this increase as they began turning 65 in 2011. By 2050, the surviving baby boomers will be over the age of 85.

Read more

September is National Recovery Month

by Dr. Beth Fishman PhD
Manager, Addiction & Misuse Services

September is National Recovery Month, therefore it seems a good time to ask “what is recovery?”  The addiction and misuse services at JCFS Chicago serves Chicago’s Jewish community by raising awareness about addiction issues, educating on addiction, prevention and treatment, referring community members to recovery resources, and supporting Jews in recovery.  So it is equally fitting that addiction and misuse services would bring this question to our community.

Read more

JCARES Professional Training Institute

by Betsy Lazerow, JCARES & Community Services Professional Education Coordinator

JCFS Chicago's Community Services is committed to offering cross-discipline professionals – mental health, social service, health care and addiction treatment professionals; Rabbis and synagogue leadership; law enforcement and legal advocates; administrators and educators – with a diversity of opportunities for learning, networking and dialoguing.  

Read more

Raising Mental Health Awareness

Fifteen year-old Anna lounged on the sofa in Robin Stein’s office, sinking into the cushions with her legs folded beneath her. Though her features remained stoic, the cell phone she cradled shook in the palms of her hand as she rapidly swiped at its surface with her thumbs. “Here,” Anna said, and held the phone out to Stein, a licensed clinical social worker at JCFS Chicago. The screen displayed a somewhat pixelated selfie of a very young girl with a gun pointed at her temple. “She talked about dying all the time.” Anna was in grief therapy with Stein; the girl holding the gun was Anna’s younger sister, Sarah, who had taken her life the year before, ultimately overdosing on a relative’s sleeping pills. Sarah was only 10.

Read more

Our Stories Have Power

by Beth Fishman, PhD and Nina J. Henry, LCPC, CADC

Many individuals in addiction recovery struggle with an important question:  Should they tell people that they are in recovery?  The traditional response would be reflected in a quote from the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous:  “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program.” Guarding anonymity in a world full of stigma against people who struggle with alcohol, drugs and mental disorders was a realistic response.  Individuals in recovery had reason to worry about their vulnerability and often only shared their status as a person in recovery with people they trusted to not judge them.

Read more

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). “

Read more

Technology and the Orthodox Community

Everywhere you look, people’s eyes are glued to the screens of their smartphones, iPods and tablets. Commuters on the El or customers waiting in line with their shopping carts at their local Jewel-Osco are scrolling and tapping their hand-held devices—texting, surfing, emailing, gaming, posting and shopping. The Orthodox Jewish community is by no means immune to this digital invasion and it is grappling with how to adhere to Jewish laws in the ubiquitous landscape of technology.

Read more