How can rabbis and community leaders help community members struggling with issues related to drugs, at-risk youth, domestic violence, and abuse? On August 6, the Rabbinical Alliance of America–Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis; the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), a national organization representing 130 Orthodox synagogues across the United States; and the Vaad HaRabonim of Queens (VHQ), representing the Orthodox rabbinate of Queens, New York, teamed up with Amudim for a presentation at the Young Israel of Queens Valley, New York.
The special workshop and training overview was titled “The Role of Rabbis and Community Leaders Dealing with Substance Abuse, Addiction, Sexual Abuse, and Mental Health.” Rabbi Zvi Gluck, the founder and director of Amudim, lectured to a crowd of 105 rabbis, rebbetzins, educators, and Jewish communal leaders who attended this important workshop.
Rabbi Gluck presented a well-organized overview of the issues facing the Orthodox Jewish community in particular. His presentation was well-received, and he answered a series of questions. Rabbi Gluck explained to the audience what to look for to identify people in trouble and what resources are available for the Jewish community. “The goal of Amudim is to support the Jewish community and to assist the Jewish community in responding to and resolving these issues. It is my prayer that Amudim go out of business when there will be no further need for our services. Until such day, we are here, ready and able to assist in any way we can.”
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice president of the RAA/Igud, thanked Rabbi Shmuel Marcus, the rabbi of the Young Israel of Queens Valley and president of the VHQ, for opening his congregation for this “most informative and necessary workshop.” Rabbi Mirocznik further thanked Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank, director of the Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs of RAA/Igud, and Rabbi Binyamin Hammer, director of Rabbinic Services of NCYI, for their hard work and collaboration in making the workshop a reality.
“This workshop is in harmony with the ongoing and longstanding relationship between the NCYI and RAA/Igud in further offering Orthodox rabbis’ professional, hands-on training in helping them with their avodas ha’kodesh (sacred work) in the rabbinate,” said Rabbi Hammer.
Rabbi Marcus remarked, “the goal of this workshop is ahavas Yisrael, to help a fellow person in their time of need, and I am proud that such a worthy group of rabbis, educators, and community leaders came together to learn how to be helpful. I thank Rabbi Zvi Gluck, Rabbi Hammer, Rabbi Volk, Rabbi Mirocznik, and Rabbi Blank for putting this together. May we merit and see that all those in need get the help they need to be productive, healthy people. Klal Yisrael needs every person, and we need to make certain that we have everybody as healthy as they could be.”