Twelve Jewish Steps

The Jewish Outreach Institute would like to congratulate our Executive Director Rabbi Kerry Olitzky on the second edition of his book “Twelve Jewish Steps to Recovery: A Personal Guide to Turning from Alcoholism & Other Addictions,” published by and available from Co-authored with Dr. Stuart Copans, the second edition (due in stores August 2009) is a revised, updated and expanded version of a book that has over 25,000 copies in print.

Much like the work we do at JOI reaching out to intermarried families and unaffiliated Jews, the book serves a population that the community often rarely discusses - or even acts like are not even there. The goal for both the book and JOI is to provide practical ways to address real world concerns and serve the needs of those who may not feel the Jewish community is there for them.

Whether it’s helping someone regain control of their life from a crippling addiction or creating a more inclusive Jewish community for those on the periphery, we know from the innumerable folks we have worked with over the years that the best approach for both is an understanding and openness about the issues.

1 Comment

  1. I can imagine there would be an enormous burden of guilt for Jews who struggle with addiction - because so much emphasis is placed on proper behavior and speech, it could leave someone feeling like a failure, with nowhere to turn to for the kind of acceptance that makes healing possible. It is difficult to display the attributes of holiness while also being imperfectly human. Another area of common judgment is toward those who struggle with depression - being “happy” is viewed as a spiritual requirements, and suicide is regarded as a great sin - which compounds the original problem for any sufferer. There is something to be said for repairing our own souls instead of trying to fix or control or improve others - to use Jewish wisdom to help ourselves grow, rather than to impose exacting standards on someone else. As one version of the blessing goes, “May you be who you are, and may you be blessed in all that you are.” It is beautiful to reach out and try to help others in this way.

    Comment by Sara — May 3, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

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