A Shabbat to Celebrate Recovery from Addiction


Join others in recovery from addiction and celebrate at an innovative and inspirational Shabbat Service and dinner created especially for people in recovery and those touched by addiction on Friday, September 13t at 7:00 p.m. at Temple Beth Am, 5950 North Kendall Drive, Pinecrest. This musical and spiritual evening is open to the community. Go to www.tbam.org/recoveryshabbat to register. The cost for dinner is $20. There is no cost to attend the service.

Many Jewish people in recovery from addiction have felt alienated from the Jewish community and synagogue life. Alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction and others were considered moral failings and the addict and the addict’s family were stigmatized.

Like many Jewish people I was raised with a fiction: Jewish people are not alcoholics and not drug addicts. Alcohol is part of our celebrations, it sanctifies joyous times like Shabbat – the Sabbath. Holidays too normalize the use of alcohol. On Passover we drink four cups of wine. Only once a year, on Purim are we commanded to drink to drunkenness. Alcohol has its place in this culture of moderation. Drinking beyond moderation, outside of this framework was considered sinful and the Bible illustrates this in a number of stories. For Jews the message became clear – if you were an alcoholic you were shameful. In addition, because the Jewish community in America was still experiencing discrimination and prejudice any behaviors that would reflect badly on the community as a whole were ostracized. These included addictions.

Temple Beth Am’s “Recovery Through a Jewish Lens” is an initiative to end the stigma of addiction in the Jewish Community and support those in recovery and those touched by addiction with the wisdom and insights from the Jewish tradition. Through discussion, reflection, prayer and celebration in an anonymous and non-judgmental setting we offer programs such as a monthly Second Sunday Serenity Support Group, Chanukah Candle Lighting, Clean and Sober Passover Seder and our upcoming Shabbat service and dinner created especially for those in recovery and the people that support them. The stigma around addiction causes hurt, pain and alienation. We’re changing that and creating a Jewish community that provides healing and spiritual support. For more information contact Rabbi Jaime Aklepi at 305-667-6667.

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