Rabbi Jen Lader
Rabbi Jen Lader

Temple Israel service to focus on supporting those with substance abuse disorder.

Fighting judgment and the stigma of weakness are two of the biggest issues when it comes to substance abuse disorder.

Lisa Daniels-Goldman
Lisa Daniels-Goldman

“When somebody says that they’re sick, we always ask, ‘What’s wrong? What’s your method of treatment?’” Lisa Daniels-Goldman said. “But when they tell you that they’re sick with a substance use disorder, you know, the doors close and the response is often, ‘Well, just stop or you did this to yourself.’”

Daniels-Goldman knows all too well how devastating that stigma can be.

Her son, Jamie Daniels, passed away in 2016 after battling substance abuse. She remembers the embarrassment Jamie dealt with while trying to recover and the obstacles that arose throughout because others could take advantage of those obstacles.

“Jamie was afraid that he would be judged. And his words go through my head all the time, ‘You can’t tell anybody because they won’t like me anymore, and I’ll be judged,’” Daniels-Goldman said. “And little did he realize how many people around him were going through the same things. And, so, we kept it quiet. And you just can’t do that.”

Since Jamie’s death, Lisa and Jamie’s father, Ken Daniels, have worked to try and help fight the stigma and embarrassment around substance abuse through the Jamie Daniels Foundation, which focuses on supporting young adults who may be struggling.

On Friday, March 17, Temple Israel, in partnership with the Jamie Daniels Foundation and the Jewish Addiction Resource Alliance, will hold a Serenity Shabbat, where Rabbi Jen Lader will speak to the congregation about the importance of opening up our ears and minds when it comes to substance abuse disorders.

“We need to bring the Jewish community together and learn how we can be supportive and not be judgmental,” Daniels-Goldman said. “And my thought was that if one of our rabbis could stand at the bimah and say, ‘We understand,’ then it could help the community understand that substance abuse disorder can affect anybody.”

Lader added, “This service is an opportunity for us to come together as a community to acknowledge and address the devastating impact of addiction. We have a responsibility to love, support and provide resources for those who are struggling, and by coming together in this way, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected and their families.”

Those attending the service can bring in old or unused prescription medication (no liquids or sharps/needles) for safe and proper disposal to help protect our community from the harmful misuse of prescription drugs.

The service is supported by the Jewish Addiction Resource Alliance & the Jamie Daniels Foundation.

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