New Borough Park rehab serves Orthodox Jews

Posted: Updated:
BOROUGH PARK -

Instead of waiting on diners, a Brooklyn restaurateur is now serving her religious community by taking on drugs and alcohol.

Barbara Silverstein founded Journeys, a rehab center created to treat addiction among Orthodox Jews. It opened last month on 38th Street in Borough Park.

Silverstein owned her own restaurant until she says a personal tragedy changed her life. She doesn't like to give details, but she says she now wants to help people help themselves and remove the stigma of recovery.

The Journeys program director says drug and alcohol abuse are problems in every community, but among Orthodox Jews the roots of those problems often get ignored.

"If you walk down the street, you may hear someone saying, 'Oh look at that junkie,'" she says. "We are a close-knit community. People are more wary of wearing their faults on their sleeves, and we want to help people see this as a disease and not a choice."

Addiction can grab hold of anyone, Silverstein says, and Journeys provides a group of private therapists without a waiting room where patients might see one another. 

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