Communities Confronting Substance Use & Addiction, Inc. (CCSA) is a not-for-profit organization founded with the goal of creating stigma-free Jewish communities through awareness, education and prevention programming regarding substance use and addiction.
CCSA'S TEAM MEMBERS
Lianne Forman, Director & Founder
Lianne is the Founder & Director of CCSA. Lianne, a corporate and employment attorney by training, left the practice of law to focus on CCSA full time and to work towards her dream of eliminating stigma associated with the disease of addiction by creating greater awareness and education about substance misuse and addiction, making these topics that are addressed openly and without judgment within the Jewish community.
Etiel (Ed) Forman, Founder
Etiel is a 30+ year Teaneck, NJ resident, and serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Legal and Risk Officer of Kroll, a global financial advisory firm. Etiel and his wife, Lianne, are proud parents of five children (and grandparents of four grandchildren) and are deeply committed to continuing the critical work that they have embarked upon to eliminate stigma around addiction in Jewish communities and to provide support and education on a broad basis.
Sharon Darack, Assistant Director
Sharon Darack is a wife, the mother of two boys, and the Assistant Director of CCSA. Prior to joining the team, Sharon served as the North American Director for OU Israel Free Spirit Birthright. She also worked at the Jewish Board’s JACS (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others) program for 15 years. As a graduate from Reading University in the United Kingdom in Social Work, Sharon has over 22 years of experience counseling families, and conducting educational programs in addiction and mental health, and is a leading contributor to raising awareness about substance use in the Jewish community.
Adeeva Laya Pomeranz, Program Manager
Adeeva Laya Pomeranz brings with her a wealth of project management, event planning, and client service experience from her past positions, including the ADL, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, and Administrative Director of Camp Mesorah. Adeeva is a graduate of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Personally and professionally, she strives to shed light on important issues that need to be addressed and spoken about in the Jewish community and welcomes the opportunity to do so as a member of the CCSA team.
Jesse Wright, Program Manager
Jesse Wright has been working in the addiction field since 2020. He is a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse counselor (CASAC), Certified Peer Recovery Advocate (CRPA), and Certified Addiction Recovery Coach (CARC), and previously worked as a recovery coach at Mountainside Treatment Center. His passion for recovery work comes from his own experience with addiction and his years of recovery. Jesse feels a deep connection with the work CCSA does because of his Jewish roots and sobriety journey. A graduate of Millsaps College, he is currently pursuing his Masters of Social Work at Wurzweiler School of Social Work.
CCSA'S ADVISORY BOARD
Lewis J. Abrams ACSW, LCSW, CSAT
For the past 40 years, Lew Abrams has been treating those afflicted with addictions and mental health challenges including adolescents, adults, couples, and families. He has created and directed programs at all levels of care including traditional outpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and residential services throughout NY, NJ and PA. In the early 2000’s, as director of the Yatzkan Center, a not-for-profit residential long-term rehabilitation program for Jewish adolescents, he increased the quality of treatment and assisted over 200 families, from all over the world. Mr. Abrams has a full-time private practice located in NY and NJ.
Debbie Akerman, PhD, LCSW
Dr. Akerman is a social worker with years of experience in addiction, recovery, and trauma. A wife and mother to 11 biological and 8 chosen children, Dr. Akerman completed her dissertation on addiction and the Orthodox Jewish community. Currently, Dr. Akerman is a full-time faculty member at Wurzweiler School of Social Work and maintains a private practice. Dr. Akerman brings her own personal experience of trauma and loss, ranging from living with active addiction, public betrayal, divorce, the illness and death of a child and grandchild, to her work with individuals and groups as well as an inspirational public speaker. Building on Torah philosophy intermingled with 12 Step Recovery, Debbie shares her story of devastation and regrowth, and of turning tragedy into triumph.
Jeffrey A. Berman, MD, DFASAM
Dr. Berman specializes in the treatment of young adults with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. He serves as Medical Director for SOBA New Jersey, Director of Addiction Psychiatry for Avenues Recovery, and Senior Psychiatric Consultant for IHSC in the US Dept. of Homeland Security. Dr. Berman is a member of the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and is Board-certified in General, Addiction, and Consultation Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. He retired following 22 years of service with the US Army Reserve where he specialized in treating post traumatic stress and chronic pain. A Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, he served as President of the NJ Society of Addiction Medicine (NJSAM).
Dr. Aliza Frohlich
Dr. Frohlich is the Director of Guidance at Yavneh Academy Middle School in Paramus, New Jersey. Dr. Frohlich has a doctorate in School and Child Clinical Psychology from Yeshiva University's Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, a Masters degree and Specialist’s Certificate in School Psychology from Queens College, a Master’s degree in Jewish Education from YU's Azrieli Graduate Institute, and a Judaic teaching certification from the Michlalah Jerusalem College for Women. She is the President of the Yeshiva Counseling Network, an organization of psychologists and counselors in Yeshivot of the Metropolitan area.
Lesley Gabel, CPS
Ms. Gabel is the Co-CEO at Prevention Resources (PR), a nonprofit agency covering Hunterdon, Somerset and Monmouth Counties. Ms. Gabel graduated with a Marketing degree from Hofstra University in 1988. She joined the PR team in 2009 to direct the federal Drug Free Communities grant program through the Safe Communities Coalition. She helped develop a nationally recognized coalition called “One Voice,” and, in partnership with the prosecutor’s office, Ms. Gabel has also been one of the leaders in developing an adolescent diversion program. Ms. Gabel has received several local and national leadership awards, and she has been a frequent speaker at federal and state prevention conferences on drug and alcohol misuse.
Rabbi Zvi Gluck
As the son of Rabbi Edgar Gluck, Rabbi Zvi Gluck grew up in a home where public service was paramount. By the time he was 19, Rabbi Gluck was involved in a Brooklyn drop-in center for victims of abuse and addiction, and later certified as a paramedic. He became the chaplain for the Port Authority Police of NY/NJ. Rabbi Gluck founded Amudim Community Resources in 2014, and Amudim is now fielding thousands of phone calls from people in crisis, providing comprehensive clinical case management, support and services, and promoting education and awareness through Narcan trainings with the NYPD and community “Awareness” events.
Rabbi Efrem Goldberg
Rabbi Efrem Goldberg is the Rabbi of Boca Raton Synagogue and Founder of the Yeshiva of South Florida. Rabbi Goldberg is a powerful advocate for mental health issues in his community and beyond. Rabbi Goldberg and his wife Yocheved live in Boca Raton with their seven children.
Frances Rudnick Levin, MD
Dr. Levin is the Kennedy-Leavy Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and the Chief of the Division on Substance Use Disorders at NYSPI/Columbia. For over 20 years, she has been the Director of the Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Program at NY Presbyterian; for the past 14 years, she has been the PI of a Substance Abuse Research Fellowship. Dr. Levin graduated from Cornell University Medical College and completed her psychiatric residency at NY Hospital-Payne Whitney Clinic. She is Medical Director of a SAMHSA-supported national training and mentoring initiative focused on addressing the opioid epidemic, and of a State Targeted Response to states that received a technical assistance grant.
Rabbi Larry Rothwachs, MSW
Rabbi Larry Rothwachs has served as rabbi at Congregation Beth Aaron in Teaneck, NJ since August 2002. Rabbi Rothwachs is a graduate of Yeshiva College, the Azrieli School of Jewish Education, and received his semicha from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. From 1998 through 2016, Rabbi Rothwachs taught Talmud at Yeshiva University High School for Boys and the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey and he currently serves as head rabbi of Camp Morasha. In April 2016, he was appointed Director of Professional Rabbinics at RIETS at Yeshiva University.
Devora Shabtai, LCSW, MSc
Devora Shabtai is a PhD Candidate and currently serves as the Vice President of Clinical Programming at Onward Living, an addiction rehabilitation program for Jewish men in Boca Raton, Florida. Devora specializes in the treatment of addiction and spiritual/religious trauma, as well as clinical program design that is tailored to meet the clinical and cultural needs of members of the Orthodox Jewish community within both inpatient and outpatient levels of care. Alongside clinical work, Devora has a background in evidence-based research and her current doctoral research is examining spiritual/religious identity development and its relationship to mental health.
Matisyahu Shulman, MD
Dr. Shulman is a board certified general and addiction psychiatrist and a research fellow at Columbia University Medical Center. His research focus is on opioid use disorder treatment and talk therapy for substance use disorders. He is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on the topics of addiction and general psychiatric treatment. He attended New Jersey Medical School and completed a general psychiatry residency at Northwell Health Hospital System, and an addiction psychiatry fellowship at Columbia University.
Shelley Stuart, CHES
Shelley Stuart served as the Director of Coalition and Community Services at the Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources in Fair Lawn, NJ. She has a degree in Public Health, and began her prevention career as the coordinator of a regional tobacco grant in Sussex County and transitioned into Coordinated School Health where she planned and implemented youth leadership trainings and worked with middle and high schools. At BCPC, she oversaw the Garfield Prevention Coalition, which is a Drug-Free Communities grantee, as well as the Bergen County Prevention Coalition, a Regional Coalition. Shelley currently serves as the SAFIR Coalition Coordinator of the Substance Awareness Center of Indian River County in West Palm Beach, FL.
Lisa Twerski, LCSW
Lisa Twerski received her MSW from NYU in 1990. After graduating, she worked first as staff, and then as a Program Director for Victim Services (now Safe Horizons) providing long-term therapy to adult survivors of rape, incest, child sexual abuse and domestic violence. In 1995, Mrs. Twerski started Brairot, a batterers intervention project for men in the Orthodox Jewish community who had been arrested for domestic violence. Currently, Mrs. Twerski is in private practice in Brooklyn, NY, and is on the Executive Board of NEFESH). She lectures on marriage, domestic abuse and prevention, and has also developed a course in pastoral counseling. In 2011, she published a book entitled, I’m So Confused, Am I Being Abused? Guidance for the Orthodox Jewish Spouse and Those Who Are Trying to Help.
Dr. Rayzel Yaish
Dr. Yaish received her Ph.D. In Clinical Health Psychology from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University. Dr. Yaish is the Director of Guidance at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls. She maintains a private practice in NY and NJ, has worked as Head Counselor both at Camp HASC and Camp Simcha, and consults and presents workshops for local and national organizations.