Thursday, March 11, 2010

Students of the Department of Counseling and Social Education Visit the "Retorno" Rehab Center

The "Retorno" drug rehab center, located near Beth Shemesh, provides treatment for tens of adolescents (boys and girls) and many adults from the orthodox and ultra-orthodox backgrounds who sought an escape through alcohol, drugs, gambling or other additions.
Accompanied by their teachers Limor Tal and Bella Even-Hen, the Orot students visited the center during a week of practical work to witness the staff's professional work and devotion to their patients. The students heard personal stories of several patients, some of whom themselves became part of Retorno's training staff and administration.
Students absorbed a number of critical messages during their visit. They witnessed the catastrophic results of destructive parental and educational behaviors, including a lack of attention, sensitivity, and a failure to understand the child and teenager's soul. The students learned that drugs and alcohol represent an attempt at a permanent escape for pain. Often, teens mask this deeply hidden pain because they lacked an outlet to express their feelings in conversations with any meaningful figure in their life. Students were introduced to some of the treatments as well as to the complex challenges that the center addresses, and also learned about various methods of support and reinforcement, such as sentences that express love ("we love you") to someone who addresses the group, or a physical hug (or virtual hug in case there is prohibition of touching between man and woman).
One of the highlights of the tour was in the quarried cave of the Retorno site where meetings are held at candlelight, in group dynamics style. These experiential and powerful meetings enable both individuals and the whole group the ability to develop trust, support, acceptance, belonging, identification, intimacy and development of self-awareness and awareness to others.
The students left the center with tears in their eyes and a heart full of excitement and gratefulness for "a most instructive experience and memorable lesson for life".

Teaching the Value of Freedom at the Seder

An Article By Rabbi Reuven Spolter
Director of Recruiting and Special Projects

Should we cause our children to suffer in order to help them fully appreciate the Redemption we're supposed to relive on the night of the Seder? Maybe we should. After all, as parents, we cause our kids to suffer all the time.
You can download this article in pdf format by clicking here.

Along the same lines, my wife Rena shared with me this story of parents outraged an an educational attempt to help kids appreciate the suffering of the Holocaust. Do you agree with the incensed mother at the end of the story? I'm not sure.