(delivered by Rabbi Maderer at Shabbat service 12/18/16) Last week I shared with you a time when I lived in the suburbs and my family overdid it in the area of home security. I made fun of the way that, even with a burglar alarm in our house, we added to the front porch, an extra security measure: a big dog-food bowl. Even though we did not have a dog. I went on to make fun of — and to be clear, I was making fun of my mother– I went on to make fun of the way that, to make it seem real, we painted onto the bowl the name of our fake dog: Shomer, Hebrew for “guard.”
Funny story: Last week, here in Philadelphia… you guessed it. My garage was broken into. Who here believes in karma?
Now, seriously, do you think there is a connection? One week I am making fun of my mother for over-securing our house all those years ago, and days after I write those words, a break-in. Coincidence? Karma? God? There was a time I would have said: there is no such thing as coincidence. I believed God influenced the details of our lives. Yet as my life and rabbinate move forward, I find my response to the world changes: more questions, less certainty of God’s role, judgment, or expectation. Read the rest of this entry »
Rodeph Shalom’s High Holy Days Services Designed for Families with Young Children
Contemporary Multi-generational Morning Services
Requires a “pass”; please contact Catherine Fischer email@example.com.
Rosh Hashanah: Monday, October 3, 8:30 am
Yom Kippur: Wednesday, October 12, 8:30 am
A full service for adults; yet a family-friendly atmosphere with children of all ages. Clergy, congregational choir, and guitar lead accessible music, encouraging participants to join in. Designed for all ages, the informality provides a comfortable setting for families with young children and there are activities for the children during the sermon.
Tashlich Service at Fairmount Waterworks
Monday, October 3, 1:30-2:00pm
640 Water Works Drive Philadelphia, PA 19130
Cast away your sins with breadcrumbs. Open to all.
Afternoon Mini-Services for Families
Open to the community; no pass needed, please just bring photo ID for security.
Rosh Hashanah: Monday, October 3, 3:00 pm
Yom Kippur: Wednesday, October 12, 1:30 pm
A very brief service for families of very young children and their parents and grandparents.
Thank you to our RS teen, Ella Komita Moussa, for creating this great resource sheet on mental illness and addiction for our evening with Patrick Kennedy Tues., April 12, 7:00pm!
Delivered this Shabbat in anticipation of former Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s upcoming talk at RS about mental health/addiction parity and de-stigmatization. At some point during my adolescent years, my father came home with a package and presented it to my sister and me. It was a box of 1000 red pencils, each adorned with the words, “Just say no.” With the image of a skull and crossbones right beside the slogan, on each one. Never known for his subtlety, my father’s loving gift reflected the oversimplified messages he was hearing in the 1980’s, about how to keep your children safe.
By the time my red pencils ran out, scientists, educators, therapists and advocates began to discover more about struggles involving substance abuse and beyond. What does it mean to understand the role of the genetic component to addiction? Co-occurring disorders? Or that the stigma of addiction and of mental illness which can strip away respect, dignity and compassion?
Consider the complexities of genetics, co-occurring disorders and stigma, on top of the challenges of peer pressure and temptations to escape, and the presumably well-meaning Just Say No slogan can become an obstacle. The “just” makes abstinence sound simple. Originally a response to a question a young child asked of Nancy Reagan, Just Say No, makes avoidance sound easy.
If you fail to Just Say No, because perhaps you have a disease that appears to the rest of us as a choice, we blame you you for having a character deficiency. We assume your disorder is a result of your own wrongdoing, you are choosing a harmful path, you aren’t trying hard enough, we don’t want those choices to touch us, so we isolate you. You know we are going to isolate you, so you hide your vulnerabilities and those of your family. Perhaps so much so that you delay getting care. (Assuming you can afford care.) And the cycle of stigma continues.
In a nation where the suicide rate is double the homicide rate, we need to remove obstacles to mental health care. And societal stigma does not bring people to treatment. Read the rest of this entry »