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May 05, 2005 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-05-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Left: Marlies Budesky, 13, of Novi and
Erin Rhodes, 13, of Farmington Hills in
Lifilown's working bank.

that will help them become more
independent, positive members of our
community. It will- help their parents
see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This is not a luxury, it's a necessity;
and we're honored to be part of it."
"The Friendship Circle is an amaz-
ing organization; they do such incredi-
ble work," said Ronda Ferber of West
Bloomfield. "Bassie and Levi are

devoted, nonstop and tireless. Our
community is lucky to have them."
Rabbi Shemtov feels blessed to have
such strong community support. He
recalls being approached by Ed Meer,
who now lives in Florida with his wife,
Gloria, during an annual Friendship
Dinner years ago.
"In the program, we had a section
called 'Our Dream,' which described
the building we hoped to have one
day," said Rabbi Shemtov. "Ed Meer
came up to me that night and said he
wanted to help make that dream come
true, and he did." ❑

Charriol Trunk Show

May 6th &

"Women Helping Women," fund-
ed by a grant from the Jewish
Women's Foundation, is a new pro-
gram pairing Jewish women who
need support with women coping
successfully with similar problems.
"For years, I was ashamed to admit
that my husband was an alcoholic,"
said Joyce M., active in both Al-Anon
and Women Helping Women. "I felt
that my husband's problems were a
reflection on me, so I stayed isolated,
which made everything worse."
When Susan P., a mother of two
young children, realized that she
couldn't control her drinking, she
was afraid to ask for help for fear of
being stigmatized.
"I'd stand in line at the grocery store
looking at the other women and feel-
ing so alone. I was sure that none of
them had this problem. I didn't know
any other women, let alone Jewish
women, who were alcoholics," she said.
"When I finally did stop drinking
and started going to AA meetings, I
still was afraid to go to Rabbi
Pinson's group. I was worried about
what they would think of me because
I had kept my problem such a
secret," she said, "but they welcomed
me with open arms, there was no
condescension at all.
"The Friendship House program has
not only helped my recovery, it has
enhanced my Judaism and my spiritu-
ality. And I've made some really good
friends, people I never would have
dreamed had these kinds of problems
if I met them out in the world."
Dr. Ziv stressed the importance of
prevention and urged parents to
take an active role in educating their
"Parents need to pay attention to
their kids, to watch for signs such as
changes in behavior or mood, or prob-
lems in school," she said. "They need

to get involved in their children's lives,
know where they go and who their
friends are, ask questions. Show them
that you take this issue very seriously."
She added that parents sometimes
keep a problem secret because they
take it personally if their children are
using drugs or alcohol.
"If there is a problem, don't keep it
hush-hush, take immediate action,"
she urged. "This is a chronic, pro-
gressive disease that becomes harder
to stop the more it advances. It's also
genetic, so, if there is a history of
addiction in the family, don't cover it
up; teach your children how to pro-
tect themselves."
Harry C., who, at age 29, had lost
almost everything to his heroin
addiction, can attest to the healing
power of Friendship House.
"Rabbi Pinson lit a spiritual fire in
me: He visited me in jail, got me"
rides to meetings after I got out,
drove me to my court appearances
and never asked for anything in
return," Harry said.
"He welcomed me into his home
at a time when my own family was
reluctant to have me. Now, most of
my friends are people in this pro-
gram," Harry said.
"The Torah is filled with 12-step
concepts. Teshuvah, which literally
means 'return,' is all about recovery,"
said Rabbi Pinson. "It's an amazing
spiritual journey back to the good-
ness that is inherent in all of us." El

An open house for the communi-
ty will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday,
June 5, at the LifeTown building.
For more information, contact
the Friendship Circle at (248)
788-7878, Friendship House at
(248) 788-8888, or see
www. friendshipcirde. org.

Fri 10-8
Sat 10-5:45

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