Jewish Agencies Grope for Response to Drug Issue
which hospitals are trying to tac-
(Continued from Page 17)
old administrator of Common kle the myriad problems sur-
Ground in Birmingham, doesn't rounding drugs. More and more
entirely disagree with that point of them are becoming involved in
of view. Olshansky, the son of a outreach programs — expanding
Jewish center director in Vir- the scope of their influence be-
ginia, feels that a diversity of yond the four walls of the hospital
constructive leisuretime activities as a new concept of mental health.
Other than accepting patients
is vital to channel youngsters'
energies. But he's not sure that in an acute toxic stage as part of
such normal needs are being met their emergency services, few
in the Jewish community. "Some hospitals presently have drug pro-
kids just don't feel at home in a grams, Providence Hospital does
Jewish center. Maybe we could operate a drug abuse clinic, how-
learn something from the old set- ever.
tlement houses: Get a youth work-
At Sinai, the issue is still in
er to go around to different the discussion stage, and Execu-
if* places where kids are, not always tive Vice Presitlent Dr. Julien
wait for them to come to you.
Priver is not prepared to an-
"A lot of things can be tried," nounce anything further than
said Olshansky. "Not all will that. However, it was learned
work, but that's no excuse for not that a plan will will be proposed
trying. At its preesnt rate, I don't at a staff executive committee
think the drug problem has reach- meeting in September. Whether
ed its peak. I think we're in for a it will be part of a. cooperative
lot more serious addiction prob- citywide effort or an independ-
ent program was not disclosed.
Whatever is done, by whatever
It was put a different way by a
father who will never forget the agency, must take into considera-
sight of his son sitting in the bath- tion that Jew and gentile are in
room with a needle in his arm: this together. No drug outreach
"There are no answers, but some- program under any auspices can
one real quick ought to start turn away a troubled youngster
looking fo:- the questions. If we because he's from another com-
had a diphtheria epidemic we'd munity. It would be impossible,
sure as hell rise up and search and undesirable, for a Jewish
for an answer. We'd better start communal agency to limit itself
to a Jewish clientele on this uni-
wasting some money."
But those who are responsible versal issue.
At some point, however, there
for the money are not ready to
waste it. Is there value in starting is a time in a child's life when he
up a community program when is a captive audience within a
there would be more sense in co- Jewish milieu. The United He-
operating with an existing one? brew Schools services 1,600 chil-
At this point, Sam Lerner thinks dren on an elementary level and
another 300 in high school. The
The Jewish Family and Chil- independent congregational schools
dren's Service has indicated it have some 8,000 enrolhnent.
will lend two staff' members for
Dr, Benjamin Yapko, superin-
a new program being set up by tendent of the UHS, notes that
the Oak Park community serv- there. is a Jewish viewpoint on
ices department. They will put drugs and perhaps youngsters can
tab. in afternoons and evenings offer- be reached "at their level of un-
ing whatever aid is needed in derstanding" before they get to
the way of group therapy, on- the experimental stage. On the
the-spot treatment, or whatever high school level, there is some
is required. Lerner also said his discussion of the Jewish position
agency will lend three or four on drugs, but it occurs within the
staff persons to the new drug context of an elective course on
awareness clinic operating out contemporary affairs.
of Berkley, wheie they will be
A drug abuse problem hasn't
prepared to do group counsel- come to Dr. Yapko's attention, al-
ing for youngsters and their though he thinks many students
may have tried marijuana.
"Part of the reason for this out-
What concerns him is what he
reach program is that we're not views as an increasing number of
sure what works," said Lerner. emotionally disturbed children
"It would cost $50- to $75,000 to over the past five or six years—
open one of our own. But if I had in one branch perhaps 45 out of a
the money and I could find the total 600 children currently en-
_ right staff and I thought young rolled,
people would flock to the pro-
Although there has been some
gram, I would grab it up."
cooperation with the Jewish Fam-
The ifs are many. And no ily and Children's Service (JFCS
agency is more caught up in the has sent out a counselor to one
ifs of the question than Sinai Hos- branch to help teachers identify
the. problems of children) and the
Like other hospitals, Sinai has Jewish Vocational Service (a
too many demands on its limited counselor meets with high school
space and too little money to be students from time to time), in the
spending on bandaids when what Main the United Hebrew Schools
is required is surgery.
staff is not equipped to handle
An internal battle at Sinai has anything on a larger scale.
been going on between the pro-
Dr. Yapko isn't sure why the
methadone people and the anti- drug scene is happening. "A sign
methadone people. Some doctors of the times, perhaps—a disorder-
feel that methadone—the synthe- ed society? Loose morals? Too
tic opium derivative being used much freedom? Advice is very
to help addicts withdraw from freely given. I'm a parent, too,
heroin—is of no value; it is mere- and I know. But I would guess
ly the substitution of one habit for many parents abdicate responsi-
another, albeit with less lethal bility and pass it on to someone
else. I don't know whose function
.Is methadone therapy at all? it should be, but community
Many responsible physicians argue agencies by themselves can't do
that to administer the program much without the help of par-
properly would require an ex- ents."
penditure of $2,000 per year per
In the last analysis it always
patient—involving the use of sup- gets back to the parents. Last fall,
portive rehabilitative services. the Jewish Theological Seminary
Dr. Ronald Krone, director of of America, in a commentary on
emergency services at Detroit drug addiction, included this ad-
'General, who has seen the metha- monition:
done program in operation at his
"How many of today's par-
hospital, tends to agree.
ents are facing up to the reality
But there are other ways in that there are no short-cuts to
Friday, July 30, 1971
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
the good, within their own home?
They will often imagine, with
all sincerity, that they are pro-
viding a good life for their chil-
dren and themselves by multi-
plying every material security
for their family. As though any
'amount of material goods and
ambitions can be enough to
create a healthy family.
"To be a parent, instead of only
a provider," the statement went
on, "is to give our children our
presence, as well as our pres-
ents. It is to unaerstand them; and
to give them our patience as well
as our love. It is not only to in-
struct but also to listen; not only
to criticize them but to accept and
respond to their criticism, as well.
For how else can we teach our
children to listen and respond to
us? In what other ways can we
hope to reach our children deeply
enough to shape their characters
and their lives for the good?"
One parent, looking back at his
son's long trip to nowhere with
drugs, recalled: "We didn't see
our son was using anything seri-
ous. I suppose we knew about the
marijuana, but that's not so terri-
ble. Until he took his first over-
dose at .19, we didn't know he was
messing around with hard drugs.
He was five minutes away from
death three times. I guess he's
one of the lucky ones because he
got into a self-help program and
has a chance of coming out of it."
But there are no guarantees
that he will. Just as there are
no guarantees that a child ex-
posed to all the right influences
in early life will not flirt with
drugs later on. There is no 100
per cent immunity from the
-countless elements in the youth
Rabbi Groner is outspoken about
the causes of proliferating drug
use among Jewish youngsters. To
those who have complained that
alienation of youth — and the ac-
companying increase in drug
usage—is due partly to their dis-
enchantment with the synagogue
and other establishment institu-
tions, he responds:
"In facing any serious social
problem, there's a tendency to be
simplistic. Most prOblems with
drug abuse are related to afflu-
ence, a breakdown of family con-
trols and other factors."
From his own experience, Yitz-
chok Kagan, a Lubavitcher Hasi-
dic rabbi, finds that often "the kid
from an affluent area is pushed
into a channel of what's expected
of him. There is, for example,
great pressure among Jews in the
suburbs for a kid to go to the
University of Michigan. Once he's
there, his values are put under a
"There also is the pressure of a
high-level academic interchange.
'If he can't take the pressures, he
may find a form of escapism in
Rabbi Kagan, who is hardly
the picture of a hip, swinging
youth cultist, feels he has chalk-
ed up some positive results in
several years of leading inform-
al group discussions on Judaism
at U. of M.
Last year, he was invited by the
Hillel Foundation (with Midrasha)
to conduct a weekly discussion as
part of the Jewish studies pro-
gram. It will be repeated this
More significantly, with the suc-
cess of a pilot project last year,
the Mishkan Israel Lubavitcher
group will conduct five aifferent
discussion circles on dormitory
permises as part of an outreach
program run by Hillel. The idea
is, of course, to reach the greater
number of Jewish students who
never set foot inside Hillel.
At the base of the Lubavitcher
program is the assumption that
there is a lack of identification
among youth, a rejection of the
values of their parents and teach-
ers. And so Rabbi Kagan and his
colleagues try to instill a Jewish
identification. They also have been
invited to Michigan State and Oak-
land University to administer their
own brand of intellectual therapy.
At the dorm sessions, "we
get kids of all kinds, some fre-
quent users of the casual uni-
versity drugs like pot and hash
(hashish). Our groups aren't
oriented to rehabilitation, but
simply within a framework of
"As a result," said Rabbi Ka-
gan, "the kids get close to you.
We invite them into our homes
for Shabat weekend. They're
shown that all of Judaism is a life
style. In many cases, it grows on
Within the last two years, Rabbi
Kagan estimates, those students
who have had personal contact
with the Lubavitcher program
number about 35. Of those, 25 to
30 were on drugs, he said.
"They've gone on to lead Torah-
true lives and have been com-
pletely rehabilitated," he claims.
The Lubavitcher rabbi recog-
nizes that the same search for
identity is found among the young
Jews joining the "Jesus freaks,"
a group whose members claim to
have abandoned the drug culture
and returned to an elemental ford'
"But there's a hypnotic sense
among the Jesus freaks. Our
Hasidic approach is within the
mainstream of Judaism."
Rabbi Kagan believes that
there must be a revamping of
synagogue attitudes. "There are
too many commissions and stu-
dies and not enough action. If
rabbis would go out three times
a week and talk to kids on cant-
pus, it would. be a terrific ap-
proach. There really is a short-
age of manpower."
He had a word for the com-
munity agencies involved, as well:
"Don't wait for the kids to come
to you. Don't think that getting a
large group of kids out for some-
thing is a measure of success. It's
the small group and the followup
that count. It takes hours and
hours of work."
But so far who has been willing
to take the time? Mostly volun-
teers, some profesionals, some
teen-agers. What has been done
within the Jewish community has-
been primarily on an individual
basis and not as a large concerted
If there are no immediate an-
swers it need not mean there is
no hope of ever finding one. As
the Seminary statement on
drug addiction put it:
Leaders who yield to the
temptation of offering simple an-
swers, where there are none, are
turning their backs on reality in-.
steady of coping with it. They toolk,
are addicted to the immedia
rather than the good • . .
"The day is short. The work it .
hard . . . Ours is not to complete -
the task. Yet neither are we free
to neglect it."
ISRAEL'ISMILE 71n11 1 7)ta1Vit
A Conversation Series
By Shlomo Kodesh
TARBUTH FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF HEBREW CULTURE
LIFESAVING - IN A RESTAURANT
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Cast: A waiter and a guest. Scene: A restaurant in Tel Aviv.
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Guest: Good evening_
Waiter: Goad evening sir. what may I serve you?
Guest: "What may you serve me"? Bring me supper, and-you wilt save a
man from starvation.
Waiter: Nothing's easier. Here is-the menu. You•may order your courses.
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Guest: Who is familiar with the names of all- the dishes on the menu?
Besides, I am dying of hunger and have no patience to go searching
through the menu. Give me whatever you wish.
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Waiter: I understand. Truly, "a matter of saving a
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Let's begin the
job without a menu. What shall we begin with?
Guest: With what does one begin a meal in Israel? With a green salad.
Listen. there is nothing in the world better than a salad of green
vegetables. But don't stint on the onion and hot pepper. A veg-
etable salad without hot pepper is tasteless.
continue nit!) beefsteak, and finish with dessert. What do you sug-
gest for dessert?
Guest: Why make choices? How did the sages put it: "Hold fast to the
first and don't let go of the second!" Give me a bottle of soda and
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glasS of Carmel wine, a
Waiter: Here is the salad. Good appetite!
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. Waiter:• Is that all?
Guest: For the moment. Later on. we'll see...
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Guest: We'll make do with a baked apple and a cup of coffee.
Waiter: What will you drink during your meal - a cold drink or a glass
of wine? The choice is yours.
- 11 `?*9 1 4? 1717 1? 1 r-It3
Waiter: Fruit compote. baked apple, cake and coffee or tea,
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Waiter: Very good. And what after that?
Guest: After that, the nay is clear! Well taste your chopped flier. We'll
V' . 9'1911; 09[1'7 3111`?]9
tvill 11T1 :,aia
All beginnings are dif-
!It7t21715 ,I7'5 97:113. 7
Excerpted from the book "Israel With A Smile", published by Tarbuth Foundation, 515 Park Ave., N. Y. C. 10022