Think addiction isn’t a Jewish problem? Think again.

“The funeral homes have called us. They said, ‘We’ve never buried so many children,’” says Addie Lewis Klein, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s director of Community Engagement. “The opioid epidemic has hit home for all of us.”

Experts say there’s no reason to think addiction is any less common among Jews than for any other community. And yet historically, Jewish communities have been in denial about addiction in our midst, instead expressing fear and blame toward people with substance abuse — which in turn has prevented people from getting the help they need.

Our Jewish Federation is partnering with JFCS to bring attention to addiction in our communities. The first initiative is a presentation of “Freedom Song,” an original musical production about addiction and recovery in the Jewish communities. “Freedom Song” tells the story of a family celebrating a Passover Seder while also confronting the impact of addiction, allowing us an intimate look at the individual dramas, and into the process of recovery. Created and performed by residents of a Jewish addiction treatment program in Los Angeles, Beit T’Shuvah, “Freedom Song” is a gripping experience meant to encourage dialogue, and is recommended for the whole family, ages 13 and up.

Cast members will answer audience questions after the performance; resource tables and clinicians will be available throughout the evening for support. In addition, JFCS and JPRO, our Jewish Professionals Network, will provide a training session before the performance on concrete actions you can take to help combat the opioid crisis, including administering Naloxone to prevent a fatal overdose.

“Freedom Song” will be performed on Tuesday, November 5th, 7:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m., at Main Line Reform Temple; tickets cost a suggested donation of $10 per adult. For more information or to register, click here. To register for the Overdose Awareness and Reversal Training, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., contact Penina Hoffnung at or 215.832.0813.