WERNERSVILLE, PA — (February 20, 2007)
R. C. Berman

Drug and alcohol addiction are often symptoms of spiritual hunger. At one treatment center, Jewish patients have the opportunity to connect in a way that complements their recovery.

Karen Z. just doesn’t fit the stereotype of an addict, but when the crisply articulate New York City professional needed help breaking her use-abuse cycle, she checked into the Caron Treatment Center in out-of-the-way Wernersville, PA. There she found – of all things – a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi waiting to invite her to his family’s home for Shabbat dinner.

For seven years, groups of fifteen to thirty drug and alcohol addicts at various stages of recovery and, sometimes, their families, have been guests at Rabbi Yosef and Chana Lipsker’s Friday night dinner table. On average, Jewish patients comprise about 10% of the 214-bed Caron Treatment Center’s population. Some stay for 30 days, others for months, giving them ample time to connect with the Lipsker family. As a result, hundreds of lives changed, but it has not been easy.

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