By Julie Edgar
Growing up in a Lubavitch home in Oak Park that was open to all Jews but closed to secular values, Hindy Finman reached adolescence in a happy bubble. Other than her kid brother, she hadn’t talked to a boy without an adult nearby. When she did, at age 19, her life’s purpose became clear. As her father, Rabbi Herschel Finman, might say, it was hashgacha protis, or Divine providence.
One afternoon, Finman, her sisters and friends met up at Victoria Park in Oak Park. While they were idly chatting and tossing pebbles, a young religious Jew stopped to talk. During the conversation, he revealed he had struggled with a heroin addiction, an admission that shocked her.
“Somebody who’s frum [religious] suffering from addiction? What? I called a rabbi, who told me to leave it alone, ‘Don’t talk to boys.’ That was a big wake-up moment. I asked myself, ‘What is my community doing and what am I doing?’” Finman, 30, promised herself she would be a person who would have answers — or try to get them — when somebody in need called. She promised she would work to destigmatize drug addiction in the religious community.
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Bamidbar Wilderness Therapy is a program of Ramah in the Rockies.