This past week, OU Israel joined forces with Amudim Israel and hosted two programs focused on the challenges surrounding substance abuse in the Jewish community in Israel. The programs were held in Elazar and Chashmonaim, respectively.
Entitled “Awareness, Substance Abuse & Addiction Prevention Within Our Communities, What Can We Do?” presenters discussed warning signs of distress in teenagers, a firsthand reflection of a family member’s overdose, and communal support for teenagers and families struggling with addiction. Speakers included Rabbi Avi Berman, executive director of OU Israel; Doni Silverstein, director of Amudim Israel; Rabbi Zvi Gluck, executive director of Amudim; and Dr. Jennie Goldstein, psychiatrist in Gush Etzion, Israel.
OU Israel’s The Pearl and Harold Jacobs Zula Outreach Center is a supportive environment for teenagers in Israel who may not have clear direction in life. Some of these teenagers are not in school, some are struggling with substance abuse, while others are just looking for a place to hang out. The Zula’s programming includes all-night music and conversation three times a week, as well as daily activities, study hall and workshops in art, music, photography, and creative writing. The Zula tries to give these teenagers the tools to reconnect with their families, communities, and mainstream society.