NEW YORK (Oct. 29)
The United Synagogue of America (USA), the congregational branch of Conservative Judaism, has joined the national crusade against drug abuse and alcoholism.
Franklin Kreutzer, 46, international president of the two-million-member USA, called on all Conservative institutions and on the Orthodox, Reform and Reconstructionist synagogue movements to admit that the problem of drug abuse and alcoholism exists among Jews and to “open the synagogue to appropriate, recognized forms of counseling and information-sharing sessions.”
Kreutzer was one of 150 selected guests from all walks of life and all religions invited to the White House Monday to attend President Reagan’s ceremonial signing of the 1986 drug bill. Reagan said the bill, enacted by both Houses of Congress, “marks a victory in our crusade against drugs.” He urged “all Americans” to be “strong in your intolerance” of the illegal use of drugs.
URGES A UNIFIED APPROACH
Kreutzer urged a unified approach to the problem by all branches of Judaism in the U.S. He said that as a constituent member of the Synagogue Council of America, which represents all branches, the USA will press for creation of a task force to determine how individual synagogues all over North America can help Jewish individuals and families afflicted with substance abuse.
He also called on the established rabbinic organizations to involve themselves in helping families cope with the problem of drugs and alcoholism by participating in and opening their facilities to groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Al-Ateen and Families Anonymous.
Kreutzer said that the United Synagogue Youth (USY), which he described as the largest organized religious youth group in North America, will be urged to consider various proposals for incorporating drug informational projects into their various conferences, meetings and conventions.
He said the National Youth Commission of the USA will also be called on to consider proposals on an ongoing basis to keep the flow of information available to Conservative Jewish youths.
Kreutzer sent a message Tuesday to the Education Commission of the USA urging the development of family education programs to stem rampant substance abuse. He noted that this issue affects not only children and adults as individuals, but tears families asunder. The situation can be rectified only by fortifying total family structures with skills and intervention that can have an impact on each family member, he said.