from Social Issues
JONAH is the first (and only) Jewish organization assisting strugglers and their families to understand and heal the emotional wounds which have led to their same-sex attraction. The group maintains a confidential hotline number for strugglers and their loved ones, as well as making referrals to pre-approved therapists, rabbis, and counselors for psychotherapy, religious counseling, and support groups.
One of JONAH's primary missions is public education, particularly through community outreach. They address groups within synagogues, Jewish Community Centers, and other Jewish organizations. JONAH is also preparing to offer training seminars for rabbis, teachers, mental-health professionals, and the community on education, prevention, intervention, and healing of the issues involved in homosexuality.
A symposium was recently given to a large group of Orthodox Jewish mental health professionals in Brooklyn, many of whom were completely unaware that a significant number of homosexual clients suffer from a gender-identity deficit which forms the foundation of their homoerotic attractions. Many of the professionals expressed ignorance of any healing strategies which are available and were particularly impressed by the testimony of an ex-gay Board member of JONAH, Avrohum Ben Mordecai, who spoke of his own journey to wholeness.
At that symposium, JONAH's Clinical Director, Rabbi Samuel Rosenberg, discussed the Torah's perspective on homosexuality. JONAH's Co-Directors, Elaine Silodor Berk and Arthur A. Goldberg, spoke about today's cultural climate, the group's referral services, and the role that parents can play in helping to heal their children.
In another recent speaking engagement, Rabbi Rosenberg and Co-Director Arthur Goldberg spoke at the NARTH Conference in Washington, D.C. in November 2000.
Visitors to JONAH's offices are invited to scehdule an appointment to use the extensive library which includes books, articles, and tapes. The library resources support JONAH's conviction that homosexuality is not inborn, that humans by nature are sensual and sexual beings who need to regulate their behavior, and that a number of strategies are available to heal the emotional wounds that underlie same-sex attractions which cause the acting-out of a homosexual behavior pattern. There are both Judaic and secular resources, and as a service to its constituency, the library will also mail copies of materials upon request.
JONAH is also creating a web site which will be a compendium of Jewish articles and other resources from its collection. Any members of NARTH who believe they have resource material which could be of value in such a collection are invited to send copies to the organization at their mailing address.
JONAH is currently referring clients to therapists in the United States, Israel, Canada and Europe, and is working with several groups which are starting local chapters in their geographical area.
Calls to the JONAH Message Center are confidential and returned quickly. Please call 201-433-3444 or write to JONAH at P.O. Box 313, Jersey City, NJ 07303.