Posted by Pini Herman
Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States. Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Among the most commonly abused are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma.
Jews have an unearned reputation for sobriety. The 1997 LA Jewish Population Survey found that one-in-forty, or 6000 LA Jewish households reported having at least one member who needed assistance with problems of alcohol or substance abuse. There is a higher acceptance of use of substances such as marijuana in the Jewish community than the general population.
The Jewish population is growing older and that does not mean a lessening of the problem. Even Biblical Noah turned to drink in his old age. Alcohol and substance abuse among the elderly is a hidden epidemic. It is believed that about 10% of this country’s population abuses alcohol, but surveys revealed that as many as 17% of the over-65 adults have an alcohol-abuse problem.
As we age as a community, the proportion of Jews who turn to alcohol and and substance abuse is certain to increase. Currently, my conservative estimate is that there are at least eight thousand Jewish households in Los Angeles having at least one member who need assistance with problems of alcohol or substance abuse.
It would not be surprising if there was a disproportionate number Jews dying of drug deaths within this general societal trend. Only a new Jewish population can confirm whether the problem has worsened in the past 14 years..
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September 19, 2011 | 12:40 pm
Posted by Bruce Phillips
In honor of the Federation turning 100 and in anticipation of the upcoming Autry National Center exhibit on Jews of Los Angeles, I decided to look back to see where Jews lived using the 1920 and 1930 U.S. Census data available from the University of Minnesota Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. These are the original interviews from the Census that can be released only after 70 years have passed to protect privacy. This series is extremely popular with genealogy buffs who can go back and find their grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents, and so on. I identified Jews using a combination of born in Russia or having a Russian born parent, speaking Yiddish or having a Yiddish speaking parent, or having one of the 37 most common “Distinctive Jewish Names.” A Jew was defined as someone who met one of these three criteria.
The period 1920-1930 was a period of explosive growth both for Los Angeles and its Jewish community. The population of Los Angeles County more than doubled and the Jewish population more than tripled, growing from less than 30,000 in 1920 to more than 90,000 in 1930. In 1920 more than one in five Jews lived in downtown. By 1930 that percentage dropped to 7%, not because Jews were leaving downtown (the downtown Jewish population actually grew a bit), but because the new migrants to Los Angeles were pouring into the “East Side” (i.e. Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights). The East Side Jewish population grew more than seven-fold from 3,000 to almost 25,000. By 1930 one in four Los Angeles Jews lived in the East Side. Almost as many Jews (19,000) lived in Hollywood, Los Feliz, Echo Park, and Silverlake. Jews were more likely than non-Jews to live in these two areas.
By 1950 major changes were already underway. The Jewish move to the Valley was already taking off and the Fairfax area, which accounted for only 5% of Jews in 1930, would account for 17% twenty years later. At mid-century the leadership of the Jewish Community Council (which had not yet merged with the Federation) understood that 1950 was not the same as 1930, and commissioned the very first Jewish population study in Los Angeles in that same year. The forthcoming release of the 1940 IPUMS file, combined with 1920 and 1930, will provide a unique look at the formative years of what would become the second largest Jewish community in the United States.
|Atwater, Glassel Park, Highland Park, Eagle Rock||1%||3%|
|Boyle Heights-Lincoln Heights||11%||26%|
|South of downtown (South of MLK, East of Figeuroa)||22%||10%|
|West Adams-University Park-Jefferson Park||10%||9%|
|Southwest LA (w. of Figueroa) Beach Cities-Inglewood||3%||7%|
|Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silverlake, & Echo Park||16%||20%|
|Bev Hills West LA Santa Monica||0%||2%|
|Midtown, Mid Wilshire, Westlake Park||9%||5%|
|Palms Mar Vista & Venice||0%||2%|
|San Fernando Valley, Burbank Glendale||0%||2%|
|Long Beach & Harbor area||4%||1%|
September 12, 2011 | 4:27 pm
Posted by Pini Herman
In 1997 LA had 13,600 Jewish households with elderly disabled persons. That number has surely increased as the Jewish community is aging in place and my conservative current guesstimate is that there are at least seventeen thousand Jewish households with elderly disabled persons in Los Angeles.
150 Adult Day Health Care Centers in Los Angeles are to lose state Medi-Cal funding as of December 1, 2011. The State of California has sent out the notices. The Jewish community will be especially hard hit with our disproportionate number of American-born and foreign-born elderly.
Adult day health care is a planned program of activities designed to promote well-being though social and health related services. Adult day care centers operate during daytime hours, Monday through Friday, in a safe, supportive, cheerful environment. Nutritious meals that accommodate special diets are typically included, along with an afternoon snack.
Adult day care centers can be public or private, non-profit or for-profit. The intent of an adult day center is primarily two-fold:
- To provide older adults an opportunity to get out of the house and receive both mental and social stimulation.
- To give caregivers a much-needed break in which to attend to personal needs, or simply rest and relax.
There are some attempts to challenge this loss of state funding, but it will be up to us, the local Jewish community to attempt to keep these vital services to the elderly going.
Adding insult to injury, elderly seeking to sit at a bus bench in LA may not find them easily. Norman Bench Advertising, which provides and manages the city’s roughly 6,000 bus benches, began removing them mid-August because it was not awarded a new contract by the City of LA.
Update: Adult day health-care centers get reprieve but will lose funding on Dec. 1
Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/jul/26/adult-day-health-care-centers-get-reprieve-but-1/#ixzz1hwv01ij9
September 5, 2011 | 2:20 pm
Posted by Pini Herman
Labor Day reminds us that Jews have been prominently associated with labor union membership, leadership and organizing. The urge to labor empowerment is strong and has often found expression in the Jewish community through the avenue of self-employment.
In Pre-WWII Europe and the US roughly half of all Jews were self-employed as compared to about a fifth of all non-Jews. Recently as 2000, about a quarter of Jewish workers in the US were self employed as compared to less than a tenth of non-Jewish workers.
In Los Angeles, the 1997 Jewish Population Survey found over a third of working Jews were self-employed as compared to 8 percent of the general population. 79 percent of LA Jews were employed in private businesses, 13 percent by government and 8 percent by non-profit organizations. Higher self-employment rates among Jews mean lower eligibility for the unemployment benefit safety net.
The 1997 Jewish unemployment rate of 3.4 percent was about half the unemployment rate of the general population. If the unemployment ratio has held for Jews, then currently the Los Angeles county unemployment rate is 13.3 percent and for Jews it is estimated at 6 percent of the Jewish working population or an estimated 25,000 unemployed LA Jews, with the largest concentrations in the Valley and then Fairfax area if historical LA patterns hold true.
As noted in a recent editorial in the Jewish Journal, current timely information hasn’t been gathered for 14 years, so these are at best, educated guesses regarding the needs of the community.