Once again, a Jewish addict with over ten years of recovery and service work succumbed to the insidious disease of addiction. Adam Michael Goldstein, whose stage name was DJ AM, passed away last Friday at the young age of 36 from an apparent drug overdose.

As a rabbi who attends full-time to Jewish recovering addicts, it is both tragic news and everyday news. Hundreds and thousands of young Jews have lost their lives to the disease of addiction in all its forms. At the same time, every loss is another awakening, another call to action.

Death, by its very nature, makes a stunning impact. There is no stronger statement than a cold, lifeless body. When the deceased person is young, the magnitude of the shock reverberates throughout the interconnected community. Add to that a very unnatural death and a celebrity and you have a "trending topic" on Twitter. The whole world pauses, some for a second, others for minutes, hours or days. This sort of tragedy gets us thinking — and rightfully so. The Talmud states that when a man passes on, his close friends need to worry. The ones that were directly affected by his passing should take time to reflect on their own lives and its fragility. When someone's death makes the headlines, everyone who reads the news is directly affected. All of us should take the time to think about what value our lives have and how satisfied we are with our spiritual progress.

The details of a person's death call for a lesson that is specific to that event. When I hear about a gentle and kind person, who battled for years against negative impulses and desires in an environment that was filled with using behavior, I have deep respect for his accomplishments. When I realize that years of successfully winning numerous battles against addiction don't guarantee a final victory, I think about the constant need to reassess ourselves. Most importantly, when I hear that a person who on the surface had a seemingly successful life spent his last days depressed and lonely, I remember that when it comes to helping others, I need to look past the surface.

Adam's last update on Twitter, three days before his body was found, reads: "New York, New York. Big city of dreams, but everything in New York ain't always what it seems." A quote from a famous song, but also a message for all of us: Let's not wait for tragic events in order to start reaching out to a stranger. Let's not wait 'till after death to realize that our friend could have used an extra hand, or encouragement to change.

Not all deaths make it to the national news, and not all drug addicts die. But when they do, it becomes our responsibility to ensure that their death was not without a lesson for the living. I hope that the Jewish Community will renew its continuous support, and increase its understanding of the addicts among us.