In response to the growing numbers of overdose deaths in the community, Sue Seidel, whose son died of a heroin overdose in 2016, has organized with officials from Beth Tfiloh Congregation a new Nar-Anon Family Group meeting in BT’s Tuvin Library on Thursdays at 7 p.m. beginning Jan. 4, at 3300 Old Court Road in Pikesville. The library is reached through the main synagogue entrance.
Nar-Anon Family Group meetings, like Al-Anon, are for family members, loved ones and friends of people who are suffering from substance abuse disorders. The group meetings offer support and a place where people can talk openly, safely and anonymously about the challenges of living with or being involved with an addicted person or a person in recovery. Few meetings can be found in synagogues.
Earlier this year, Beth Tfiloh held a forum on addiction to help reduce the stigma of addiction in the Jewish community. BT leadership said they were very receptive to hosting a Nar-Anon meeting.
“Our feeling was simply that here were these Jewish people in pain, needing support and finding it in a church, since that was the only place available to them. We all felt that our synagogue had the responsibility and even the privilege of answering these needs,” said Zipora Schorr, BT’s director of education. “I absolutely believe that more open dialogue has increased, but I would say that the Jewish community still has a long way to go. BT has always been open about these issues, beginning with Rabbi [Mitchell] Wohlberg speaking to the student and the parent body in an honest and realistic way, helping them to understand that ‘it could — and does — happen to anybody.’ He stresses often that there are no guarantees, but that education and honest and open communication can certainly help. And, most important, the support of the community and acceptance of the reality makes all the difference in the world.”
For more information, call 410-627-4495, or 443-253-4500. For more information on Nar-Anon visit nar-anon.org.