Jews & Alcoholics Anonymous

Dispelling the myths that Jews aren't alcoholics and that Alcoholics Anonymous is only for Christians

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This is only because until recently no one had made any effort to hold them in synagogues, or because synagogues did not welcome them. More and more synagogues have now become the site of AA and NA meetings.  

What about the prayers at AA meetings?

No one is obligated to say any particular prayer. When others recite prayers of their liturgy, a Jew may recite any prayer from the siddur (Jewish prayer book). 

Jews who observe the laws of kashrut [dietary laws] can generally arrange for kosher provisions in a rehabilitation center. Some rehabilitation centers have already accommodated various observances without any difficulty. Nor need there be any problem in Sabbath observance or in setting time for daily services. 

In 1980 a group known as JACS (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons, and Significant Others) came into being under the auspices of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and the New York Board of Rabbis. In addition to being the resource center, JACS provides two annual weekend retreats for recovering persons and their family members to focus on Jewish spiritual issues. In many communities, local JACS affiliates have developed to stimulate community awareness, provide information and resources, and create a supportive and understanding network for Jewish recoverers and their families. 

It is clear that chemical dependency has become a Jewish problem, but it is also clear that there are support systems and solutions which can and must be utilized to help the Jewish recoverer. There is no longer any excuse for not recognizing the problem or not knowing where to turn for information or help.  

The problem is ours! We cannot walk away from it!

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Rabbi Abraham Twerski

Rabbi Abraham Twerski, M.D. is a nationally acknowledged expert in the field of alcoholism and chemical dependency, and is currently the Medical Director of the Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, as well as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.