Together We Can Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 433

Not quite 15 months ago, right before the coronavirus shut down life as we knew it, Laurel and I participated in a community event attended by the Greater Cleveland Congregations; representatives of area synagogues, churches and mosques. Along with lay leaders, congregants and clergy, the dais was filled with government executives, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, judges, defenders, and city officials from as far away as Cincinnati. Laurel was a guest speaker who shared our family’s journey with our son’s addiction and incarceration. Pushing for Change, the goal of that evening was to speak out on behalf of those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse to create a crisis diversion center with the intent to divert people who are ill and suffering to treatment instead of incarceration.

It seems logical to us that these illnesses need to be treated medically and with therapies just like other diseases like diabetes, heart disease or cancer. But the stigma of addiction and mental illness as a moral failing or lack of will power remains in the minds of many. Working together with the city officials, hospitals, mental health centers and law enforcement, today, this dream became a reality. Laurel and I were honored to participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony at the building that had opened just that morning and had received its first patient.

Theodore Herzl, a leader in the Zionist movement striving for a Jewish National Home in Israel, wrote: “If you will it, it is no dream.”  Laurel and I were part of the will, the need, and the desire to create an alternative that provides hope and recovery outside of jail and prison to those who are truly sick and suffering with these diseases with nowhere to turn for help.

Collaboration, in this, or in our businesses with experts and colleagues are the catalyst for great change. Today proved that we need only to put our heads together to imagine the possibilities. It is no dream when we all work together for the betterment of others and this world. Let’s get to it, together we can, then even the sky is of no limit.

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