Page 1




C U LT I VAT I O N issue


p g14

Just A Matter Of Time



JUNE 2014

MAGAZINE F E AT U R E S C h a i r ’s & P r e s i d e n t ’s N o t e

| 04

Dr. Bill Resnick and Annette Shapiro discuss Beit T’Shuvah’s next chapter of growth.

H a r r i e t ’s & R a b b i ’s n o t e

| 06

A spiritual message about cultivating the soul.

J o y c e t o t h e Wo r l d

| 08

Spotlighting Donor Joyce Brandman, largely responsible for our beautiful new building.

We a l l r u n f o r s o m e t h i n g

| 12

A look at the remarkable, selfless journey Craig Miller embarked on during the 2014 L.A. Marathon.

Breaking Ground

| 14

Residents are digging their hands into an organic program yielding bountiful results.

Organic “Soul Amendment Tr e a t m e n t ” | 2 4 Why the culture of Beit T’Shuvah is working to fix addicts and other broken people.

{ INSIDE } The G ala p g18 Circle of M ajest y p g30 BTS O p e n p g32 Bir t hright p g36 High Holid ays p g42 Cant or ’s Cor ner p g4 4 E vent Highlight s p g46

J u s t a M a t t e r o f Ti m e

| 26

How Creative Matters blossomed into a vibrant design firm.

Active In Recovery | 38 Residents take to the slopes and the seas in search of sober fun.

ON THE COVER: “Bre aking Ground”

2 | DAVIS B E I T T ’WATSON S H U V A H | &w ALISON w w. b e i t t s h uHENNESSE v a h. o r g Y

J U N E 2 014

Dr. Bill Resnick, Chairman Annette Shapiro, President Lise Applebaum Heidi Bendetson Lynn Bider Joyce Brandman Warren Breslow, Chairperson Emeritus Jessica Boar Rabbi Mark Borovitz Emily Corleto Samuel Delug David Elston Jon Esformes John Fishel Pat Gage Mel Gagerman Carolyn Gold Beverly Gruber Salli Harris Roberta Holland Janice Kamenir-Reznik Russell Kern Dr. Susan Krevoy Diane Licht Virginia Maas Bradley H. Mindlin Nancy Mishkin, Chairperson Emeritus Donald S. Passman Joan Praver Ed Praver Heidi Praw Avi Reichental Harriet Rossetto David Ruderman Ronnie Stabler Frank Wurtzel Jill Black Zalben Honorary Board Members Sheldon Appel Donald J. Berghoff Robert Felixson* Herb Gelfand Jeffrey Glassman Robert Gluckstein* Brindell Gottlieb Blair Belcher Kohan Shelley Kozek Chuck Maltz Cheri Morgan Mike Nissenson Jan Rosen Richard Schulman Rena Slomovic Craig Taubman Lisi Teller Greg Vilkin Dr. Howard Wallach* Brad Wiseman Hal Wiseman* Robert Wiviott * Deceased














Please send comments, letters, and feedback about this issue of Beit T’Shuvah Magazine to: or 8985 Venice Blvd. Ste. H, Los Angeles, CA 90034


A NEW CHAPTER This will be the parting note I write as the Board Chair for Beit T’Shuvah. It’s been a wonderful couple of years, but I’ve accepted a full-time position and this means I can no longer carry on the duties of a chair. At the present moment, I am the acting Chief Operating Officer at Beit T’Shuvah. Rabbi Mark, who was doing double duty for many years as Beit T’Shuvah’s spiritual leader and Chief Operating Officer, approached me earlier this year, saying that he simply couldn’t do it all anymore. He asked if I’d be willing to step in and serve as the acting Chief Operating Officer. Without hesitation, I jumped right in.

“Since I first got involved with Beit T’Shuvah almost a decade ago, this place has gradually become more central to my life and has continued to feed my soul in ways I never imagined.”

Since I first got involved with Beit T’Shuvah almost a decade ago, this place has gradually become more central to my life and has continued to feed my soul in ways I never imagined. Since I became Board Chair in the beginning of 2012, I increased the amount of time I spent with the organization and deepened my involvement. I made it clear to Harriet and Rabbi Mark that I would be available when the time came to further step up my involvement. Therefore, it wasn’t such a massive leap for me to take on an executive management role, having the full support of the rest of the Board of Directors. I couldn’t be more honored to have the opportunity to serve Beit T’Shuvah in a deeper and more meaningful capacity. Prior to taking on my new role, I was busy but scattered; serving on five other nonprofit boards, volunteering as a psychiatrist at Venice Family Clinic, and teaching at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. Showing up for work at Beit T’Shuvah over the past few months has been a great joy—I get to engage in meaningful interactions with staff and collaboratively work on keeping Beit T’Shuvah’s mission and community alive and well! It feels like a new chapter here, as we’ve moved into our beautiful new sanctuary space and have started programming with our exciting and groundbreaking Elaine Breslow Addiction Institute. It’s wonderful to serve alongside Harriet and Rabbi Mark, and our incredibly committed and talented staff.

4 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014


A NOTE FROM THE BOARD When I first became involved with Beit T’Shuvah some 18 years ago, I knew this was an opportunity for me to be part of an organization that truly would grow and change lives. The seeds that have been planted over the years have not only grown with our residents, but with many of us as well. In our Organic Garden, we are planting seeds for the future. As the flowers and food grow, our residents are cultivating their own souls too. The programs we provide at Beit T’Shuvah are reflected in our garden— an example of how we are growing and harvesting the future for our residents. I am very proud of my Beit T’Shuvah community for how it has helped us grow and cultivate the souls of so many lost men and women and how it has helped recover their passion and discover their purpose. And we also know that it is not only our residents who benefit from our organic growth–it is also our community. One might say: how has my soul been touched by the organic growth of Beit T’Shuvah? Each of us has grown to understand Beit T’Shuvah and if you have spent any time with us – at Shabbat, at an event – then you know that your soul and even your families’ and your friends’ souls have been touched. All of us matter. Our community’s interest and financial support has made it possible for us to keep growing. With your support of our Capital Campaign, Gala, Golf Tournament, Circle of Majesty Society, grants, our Thrift Store and other various programs, we are able to grow. To Harriet our Founder and Rabbi Mark, you truly matter in our lives. Each of you continues to give your heart and soul to Beit T’Shuvah. You care so much about all those who enter our doors.You truly represent the beautiful flowers in our organic garden.

“I am very proud of my BTS Community, for how it has helped us grow and cultivate the souls of so many lost men and women and how it has helped recover their passion and discover their purpose.”

Thank you for being there for all of us.

J U N E 2 014

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 5


“The soul, in my opinion, is the place within where all our parts converge and where we are whole. It is the place of armistice where our warring parts lay down their swords and align with the oneness of the Divine. ”

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR (YOU MAY GET IT) Where and what is the soul? And how do we cultivate it? Is it only individual? Is there a communal soul, an organizational soul? The soul, in my opinion, is the place within where all our parts converge and where we are whole. It is the place of armistice where our warring parts lay down their swords and align with the oneness of the Divine. It is the mixing bowl where all the ingredients that make up our unique humanity are blended in proper amounts, we rise to our highest self and are baked until inside and outside come together as a “whole loaf.” The soul blends human/divine, mortal/immortal, self-will/God’s will, ego /spirit, grandiosity/self-loathing, life-affirming/life-denying, immediate gratification/long-term satisfaction. Blending and disempowering our interior opponents frees us to make moral choices that honor principles before personalities, to take right action no matter what we feel. The principles I try to live by are: 1) to honor each person’s uniqueness, 2) to err on the side of kindness, 3) to seek win/win resolution to conflict, 4) to practice forgiveness, 5) to subdue my need to be right and 6) to see myself in everyone.

struggle every day to see the good (God) in everyone, even when they harm me, harm each other or harm Beit T’Shuvah. This is becoming more difficult as we grow. As parents often say, “little children, little problems, big children, big problems.” Beit T’Shuvah has gotten big, necessitating systems and structures that sometimes create distance and disconnection from I-Thou, person-to-person relationships. The severity of California’s labor laws has helped create employer suspicion and a “cover your ass” approach to Human Resources. I struggle with the competing moral claims of protecting the organization while doing what is right for the employee. Our culture is more complex than many organizations since the majority of our employees were recently our clients, and both parties have to navigate dual roles of employer/employee, client/therapist, and child/parent. Labor laws presume an adversarial relationship between employer/employee. Therapeutic or familial relationships are cultivated in trust, benevolence and mutual belief that the good of the whole and the good of the individual are in alignment. The practices of the Organizational Spiritual Initiative and the Collective Wisdom framework are giving me (us) the tools to nurture alignment of intention between staff and management, between all team members, so all of us stay focused on the mission and orient to the well-being of the whole. This vision can only be realized if each member of the organization is engaged in the process of his/her own soul nurture. Each of us brings our past wounds and vulnerabilities to the workplace. If we have not learned to take responsibility for our own emotions and have a limited capacity to self-regulate, we will sabotage ourselves and blame others. We will project our family-of-origin hurts and betrayals onto one another and recreate family dysfunction that contradicts individual and organizational spiritual growth. These are our challenges: “progress not perfection,” “one day at a time,” and “one grain of sand better each day.”

The soul of an organization is a reflection of the soul of its leader(s). I

6 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014


“Once I distinguish my true story, once I hear my soul and/or ask for the help of another, I am able to begin again to cultivate my authenticity, my soul’s knowledge, my God-Image.”

Once I distinguish my true story, once I hear my soul and/or ask for the help of another, I am able to begin again to cultivate my authenticity, my soul’s knowledge, my God-Image. The same is true when I am hearing the call and cry of another soul. In order to do this, I have to get out of my “rational” mind and be from the place of my Higher Consciousness or “Spiritual mind.” This is when and where I invite God in. Ultimately, Cultivating the Soul is living in our God-Consciousness (Higher Consciousness). It is the way of being that is above our individual situation. It is, in my opinion, the true way of BEING HUMAN. This allows me to know the Truth about others and myself. It forces me to act from places that go beyond my own self-interest. It is, the best way to LIVE HOLY.

THE WAY WE CULTIVATE Beit T’Shuvah has dedicated its existence to cultivating the soul. We begin with the individual and through the individual, we help their families and their communities cultivate their souls. This is the work, the raison d’etre of Beit T’Shuvah, and to what I have dedicated the last 25 years plus of my life. It is an honor to be part of this type of “farming.” It gives my life purpose and passion. How I do this is different with each person, each family and each community. I first have to listen to what the soul of the entity is truly saying. I have to hear the still, small voice of the Soul, and the even quieter voice of God within the entity. This is difficult and simple. When I begin this journey of cultivating the soul of an entity, I first listen to the fact, the history and the story of what the entity is holding on to. These are important distinctions. In cultivating one’s soul, one has to distinguish between what is fact, what is the history we tell ourselves from our memory of events, and what is the story or meaning we apply to the previous experiences. I have found that my version of history doesn’t always mesh with others. The facts can be verified or not, and the meaning that I attach to both facts and my version of history is what makes up my story. As long as I make the story up from my mind and emotions, I will lie to myself and live a life that is not authentic. J U N E 2 014

None of us do this all the time, nor are we capable of living this way all the time. This is why we chose the phrase “Cultivating the Soul.” Some synonyms for cultivating are: 1) Taming: I have to learn how to control both my rational and Spiritual parts so that they live in proper measure. 2) Educating: I have to be engaged in reflection and learning so that my soul grows; so I can trust it more in more areas. 3) Nurturing: I have to accept my imperfections and errors and see them as opportunities to learn and “fail forward.” 4) Enlightening: I have to allow the light of God and others to touch me and illuminate my own light even more. I believe that all of us need to be engaged in Cultivating our Souls so that we can help others Cultivate theirs. After all, isn’t this what Parenthood is all about? Isn’t this what teaching is all about? Please join us at Beit T’Shuvah in Cultivating the Soul of our organization, of individuals, of Judaism, of Recovery, and of the Self. Thank you for all of the rich soil you have given to my soul and the soul of this great Organization.

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 7


an online companion at Chapman University was founded to offer education to people who don’t have the money or time for traditional college courses. The Saul and Joyce Brandman Breast Center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center was founded in 2000 and offers medical and psychological support services to thousands of women suffering from breast cancer. The list could continue indefinitely because Joyce has made it her goal to make sure every penny from the foundation goes to a charity that is truly making a difference. One charity, however, stands apart from the others for Joyce—Beit T’Shuvah. Her relationship to our organization started modestly. Annette Shapiro had contacted her and Saul about making some small donations, and they had graciously agreed. Although Joyce didn’t know much about Beit T’Shuvah, Saul seemed excited. Joyce recalls, “Saul would say to me, ‘we really need to go see this project.’ I believe that in his heart, he knew he would love it.” Then one day she was invited to take a tour of the Beit T’Shuvah facility. Joyce immediately noticed two things—that this was a very chaotic place, severely lacking in space, and that they were a truly righteous cause, dedicated to serving the community and saving lives. Never one to do anything half-heartedly, Joyce has since taken an active role in the leadership of Beit T’Shuvah as a member of the Board of Directors. She also contributed a majority of the funds that made our new building—affably named the Joyce and Saul Brandman Campus—a possibility. She loves the idea of donating to a place with results that you can see and touch. “In my mind, Beit T’Shuvah is the real meat and potatoes,” says Joyce.

The Talmud teaches us “to save one life, it is as if you saved the whole world.” The words are so important to the spirit of Beit T’Shuvah; they’ve even been inscribed on the stained glass of our original sanctuary walls. If this statement holds true, than it would be impossible to compute the number of worlds that Joyce Brandman has saved. As the President and Managing Director of the Joyce and Saul Brandman Foundation, an organization she founded with her late husband, her philanthropic work has helped thousands of people all over our angelic city. After Saul passed in 2008, she made it her mission to carry on his legacy and make sure that their money went to causes that were close to Saul’s heart. “Saul wasn’t what you’d expect,” she says. “You wouldn’t know the kind of money he had. He just really loved to help people, especially in local communities.” To date, the foundation has helped over 100 charities both in Los Angeles and abroad. Saul believed strongly in healthcare, education, and Jewish nonprofit organizations, and with Joyce at the helm she has stayed true to the goals of her beloved husband. Brandman University,

8 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

“It’s more than bricks and mortar, more than putting your name on a building. Because at the end of the day you can see someone walk out that door that your money has helped. That’s really what it’s all about.” Possibly no moment struck closer to home for Joyce than her first Shabbat service in the new sanctuary that she helped to create. “I sat there and tears streamed from my eyes,” she says. “When I go there for Shabbos, it has great meaning to me because of the people that I see. It was emotional to put my late husband’s name on it.” With our new building currently being filled with the uplifting voices of Shabbos prayer on a weekly basis, and our old sanctuary currently undergoing it’s own construction, there’s no denying that Beit T’Shuvah is changing at an astounding rate. And instead of being intimidated by this rapid growth, Joyce is running with it. “Beit T’Shuvah is going to grow; with growth comes change,” says Joyce. “I plan to be involved and do more, because I believe in Beit T’Shuvah.”

J U N E 2 014

Beit T’Shuvah Thrift Store Hal Wiseman, Founder



FREE PICKUP CALL (310) 204-4669 Beit T’Shuvah’s mission is to help individuals and families in need of healing and recovery to live well by employing spirituality, psychotherapy, the 12-steps and the creative arts. Beit T’Shuvah is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit Residential Treatment and Prevention Center

Beit T’Shuvah Thrift Store

Beit T’Shuvah

Hal Wiseman, Founder

Recover Your Passion Discover Your Purpose

Baer Essentials By Eliot Godwin


The word is commonplace at Beit T’Shuvah. Wherever you turn, someone is either expressing gratitude or receiving it. Like T’Shuvah, gratitude is an ongoing process, and any addict knows that actions speak louder than words. David and Mickey Baer are living gratitude-in-action, giving back daily to the community that made them whole again after years of drug abuse and criminal activity.

1 0 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014


is a Program Facilitator Supervisor, which means a lot of things; if you’re a new resident, it means he’s in charge. He primarily goes by his last name, and for good reason. Equal parts teddy bear and lion, Baer supervises the direct care staff; if there’s a conflict, dispute or any problem at all, Baer will handle it. To his credit, he’s able to do this with considerable grace and objectivity. When you walk through the doors of Beit T’Shuvah, he’s likely to be one of the first faces you see. Inevitably you’ll need him for something. In that case it’s best to just stand in one place and soon enough, Baer will appear. He’s a vital and ubiquitous cog in the organization he knows so well. David came to Beit T’Shuvah in 2010, a broken man who had had enough. He says, “I was tired of living the life I was living. Beit T’Shuvah offered me a new way of thinking.” Amy Jaffe, his unit coordinator during his stay at Vista del Mar Child and Family Services, is now a Senior Vice President there and a friend of Beit T’Shuvah. She and David have a strong relationship and at her urging, he came here and got sober. But it didn’t completely stick at first. “I thought it was all about looking good on the outside and didn’t pay attention to what was going on inside. I didn’t utilize the resources here,” he says. Not long after he left, he relapsed and decided to give it another go.

“When I came back, I made it an inside job. I focused on myself and stayed involved.” He was more than involved. Immersed is more like it. He attended groups, kept all his therapy and spiritual appointments, and interned across several departments. Music, thrift store, overnight staff–you name it, David’s done it. When it was time for him to leave, he took a job at a sober living, seeking to stay actively involved in the recovery community. Having proven himself as a reliable employee and a devoted member of the Beit T’Shuvah community, Brandon Berry naturally thought of Baer when a direct care staff position opened up. As Baer tells it, “I couldn’t think of any other place I’d rather be. I wanted to give back what was given to me.” And that’s exactly what he is doing. Baer’s job is not easy. An assertive leader, his days are never dull nor lacking drama. Clinical Supervisor Kim Sherman considers herself blessed to have David on staff and as a close friend. “His humility exemplifies his awareness that everyone at Beit T’Shuvah is equal in their humanity, from the newest resident to the most senior staff member. He’s an

J U N E 2 014

advocate and shoulder to lean on for residents struggling to find their voice and their place,” Kim says. David’s twin brother Mickey also turned to methamphetamine as an escape and ultimately found his way to Beit T’Shuvah. Mickey’s path was more complicated, however, as he was arrested for burglary and credit card fraud. Beit T’Shuvah was aware of Mickey’s plight because of his brother’s involvement and soon enough Carrie Newman went to see him in prison. Two and a half months later he was a resident. Mickey dove headfirst into his recovery.

“I was tired. Beyond tired. I always thought life was one way and that’s it.” “[Beit T’Shuvah] didn’t have to help me but they did. They showed me another way,” Mickey says. Ultimately, Mickey made the choice to try the other way because he needed to be a present father. For him, there was no other choice. With his fiancée Angela and his four year-old daughter Kennedy as his motivation, Mickey committed to change, working the program and even seeking treatment for his anger from Rabbi Mark. Soon he was working on the BTS Thrift Store truck. Meeting the donors face-to-face is a delightfully rewarding experience for Mickey. Today he’s one of the senior employees on the trucks and enjoys teaching the younger staff values like discipline, self-respect and integrity. A prominent theme with the Baer brothers is connection. Both men were unable to remove their shortcomings until they wholeheartedly dove into the program. It’s no surprise that both men are still deeply involved and highly valued members of the Beit T’Shuvah community.

“I give everything to this community because it gave me everything. Without Beit T’Shuvah I wouldn’t be with my daughter. That’s everything to me,” Mickey says. David and Mickey Baer have clearly internalized the same spirit that Harriet and Rabbi Mark infused into this place so many years ago. There’s an ancient Chinese proverb: Good things come in pairs. Clearly, in recovery, two Baers are better than none!

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 1 1

A R O F G N I N RUN E S U A C T N DIFFERE hing We all run for somet

By Josh Silver

It’s a chilly morning in March. The runners from Beit T’Shuvah’s Run to Save a Soul Team arrived at Dodger Stadium before the sun was even up, along with the tens of thousands of other marathoners from across Los Angeles. Excitement, fear, determination—no one emotion could be pinned down as they all prepared for the grueling task ahead of them. Some were sitting, or pacing. Others were getting in a few last moments of rest. Then, just before 7am, the sun began to rise. The runners were placed in their corrals, facing west. They never saw the sun staining the sky pink, purple, and orange—blending in a neon haze of clouds. And just as the sunlight skimmed across the backs of the last group of runners, they were off. Cheers erupted almost immediately.

The runners, motivated by a myriad of different charities, causes, and personal goals, were now streaming toward that elusive 26.2mile finish line. One man, though, was holding something back. Instead of running to beat his personal best time, Craig Miller’s goal for this marathon was to help others achieve their goals as a coach and mentor. This was Craig’s fourth Los Angeles Marathon running for Beit T’Shuvah, and his third since he became certified as a coach by the Road Runners Club of America. His duties as a coach began months before the marathon. Not only was he at all of the team practices, but Craig also personally trained nine individuals to run their first marathons. “I came up with their programs. We would train for different scenarios— speed work, hills, long runs,” says Craig. “By the end they were logging 45-60 miles per week.” Zoe Wilschinsky was one of those nine trainees. As a first-time marathon runner, she had much to learn from Craig and the team.

“I never realized there were so many different ways to train for running,” says Zoe. “Craig created this whole schedule and he was super responsive and supportive.” Zoe is now training to run the Orange County Half Marathon with other members of the Run to Save a Soul Team. She originally joined the marathon team at Beit T’Shuvah to fulfill a personal accomplishment and give back to what she describes as “a great cause.” But Zoe says that “being part of the team and being accountable to others” was her favorite part of the race. J U N E 2 014

Even with all of the training he was giving others, Craig had always planned to run his hardest when the day of the marathon finally came. He had raised donations just like other team members and was excited about this annual test of stamina and physicality. Then, shortly before the marathon, Becca Zalona, one of the runners he was training, came to him and asked for his help. It was in that moment that Craig realized: “This year isn’t about me.” Becca became the first of three runners who would be personally escorted through the marathon by Craig. The others—Amy Bentekote and Heather Lipman—both joined up quickly and the decision was made for them to run as a group. Craig was there to pace them, hold their water bottles, tell them when to eat energy food, and continually check on their mental status. “I decided it was better to stay in contact with the runners…see how they’re feeling,” Craig says. This is a far cry from the man who ran last year’s best time on the entire Run to Save a Soul team. He may have added nearly two hours to his marathon time this year, but for Craig, the change of pace was more than worth it. “They all had their best times,” Craig proudly states. “The training really paid off. By the time we hit mile 20, everyone else was slowing down, and we passed over 4000 people on our way to the finish line.” When you ask people why they run a marathon, everyone has a different answer. Some run for the thrill of it, others run to contribute to charitable causes. No one response is better or worse, but Craig’s reasons for this year’s marathon were wholly unique. He was able to perform a truly selfless act and put his goals aside to help others accomplish theirs. Yet at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how fast you ran. The only thing that matters is what you were running for.

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 1 3

g n k a e r B By Steph Lager


“Is that a radish?” “What’s a scarecrow doing here?” “I thought this was the sidewalk!”

As I walk down Vera Avenue I stop to peer at a not so common sight: sprouting plants, fresh herbs, painted signs, and a scarecrow. Many have wondered what that blooming garden framing the block of Beit T’Shuvah on Vera would become, and February 8th we discovered the remarkable spirit, palpable energy, and bountiful sustenance seeping into the very ground that Beit T’Shuvah is built on. Amidst the humming anticipation permeating the Comey kitchen, Beit T’Shuvah’s off-campus housing program for alumni, a family unveils the growth of Beit T’Shuvah’s very own Organic Garden Program. Residents Davis Watson and Alison Hennessey began the program to connect residents to a tangible example of healthy, organic growth, and on this February evening, the community gathered to enjoy the fruits of their labor. 1 4 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014

“Their passion is so ripe with sincerity that I can’t help but recognize the love they have for each other, for healthy food, and for sharing the bounty of fresh vegetables with Beit T’Shuvah.”

Davis’ sister, Anna Watson Carl, renowned food writer and personal chef, directed guests, Beit T’Shuvah staff, and residents in preparations for the first ever farm-to-table dinner. Over 20 guests took turns digging their hands into the cool earth and toasty kitchen area to nourish a program that continues to sprout both literally and figuratively.

to have her here celebrating the end of the season all the way from New York, is really cool!”

The Comey kitchen was packed; Harriet Rossetto and Fionnula Flanagan were measuring ingredients, Rabbi Mark Borovitz was simmering green onions, and an array of hungry helpers were eagerly chopping heirloom carrots and vibrant radishes. Outside, Davis led residents as they washed, de-stemmed, and snacked on the assortment of vegetables that were harvested from the parkway and Comey garden. As Davis bathed the pac choi (a cousin of bok choy), he said, “I’m stoked. This is the next phase of connecting food growing to food eating. And my sister, who is so passionate about dinner parties,

Their passion is so ripe with sincerity that I can’t help but recognize the love they have for each other, for healthy food, and for sharing the bounty of fresh vegetables with Beit T’Shuvah. “I like to grow things and she likes to cook them,” Davis says, and it’s this type of give and take that makes the program fit in so perfectly with the BTS family philosophy.

J U N E 2 014

It was easy to get in the spirit with comments like: “Sis, look at the size of this daikon!” “Wow, that’s beautiful!”

As resident Nick Di Giulio dressed the spelt pizza dough with ricotta cheese, green onions, and Swiss chard he said, “It’s really refreshing w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 1 5

“...we’re not just growing food, we’re also growing as people in the garden, learning to partner with each other and with God!”

eating non-artificial, pesticide free food. We have our own little garden; our own little place of this world is good to have.” Nick touches on that which makes this program so successful. Besides having our own little place of the world to grow nutritious food, we have our own close-knit community that continues to grow and evolve. Spiritual counselor and staff leader behind the Organic Garden Program, Adam Siegel, chimed in on the same observation, “the amazing thing about the garden program is that we’re not just growing food, we’re also growing as people in the garden, learning to partner with each other and with God!” Two months after the dinner, the garden program has not slowed down in the slightest. I visited the parkway garden at Beit T’Shuvah to uncover the story that’s been emerging from the adorned curbside. “There’s no better. There just is.” Davis Watson says this to me after I tell him why I’m embarrassed for the way I tossed my pinto beans; it wasn’t as skillful as the way he did. 1 6 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

The way Davis sprinkled them, delicately, yet purposefully scattered to the side before dropping effortlessly to the soil, is the toss of a deeply knowledgeable farmer, passionate food justice activist, and charismatic Beit T’Shuvah resident. Davis Watson, Alison Hennessey, Adam Siegel and I speak in the Beit T’Shuvah Organic Garden office, which is snugly fitted on the sidewalk of Vera Ave, between the Beit T’Shuvah Garden Parkway and the new hay bales. The bales of hay will soon sprout luscious greens to accompany the Parkway and Comey gardens. Even though we’re inbetween seasons, one artichoke and a tree of Meyer lemons have begun to sprout. The charming way Adam Siegel nonchalantly throws the pinto beans sums up the laid-back and spiritually founded aura of the program. “The underlying thing is that we aren’t just learning about gardening and farming, we’re learning how to apply these lessons to recovery and J U N E 2 014

“It’s not hard to see how seamlessly farming and gardening translates to growing a sober life. Time, dedication, and patience that involves tending to everyday, and reaping wonderful rewards in the end—it’s the perfect metaphor.”

passionate about, they were truly able to bloom. On top of all that, the L.A. City Council just so happened to repeal the law that issues citations for planting gardens on public parkway— and with that, all of the seeds perfectly fell into place. The head farmer and program director, Davis, is no stranger to farming; he worked on two organic farms in Tennessee, and when he moved to L.A. he was inspired by the lack of healthy food options and poor food knowledge at a local sober living. “I wanted to plant a garden and a program, but I didn’t want to do it alone.” He wanted to learn to be in a community, and he couldn’t have found a more perfect place to do so. The other part of the dynamic garden duo is Alison Hennessey, who ran her own garden in Santa Monica for 18 years. She has been digging her hands into curbside gardens far before they were in vogue. to life.” And what’s more wholesome than taking lessons straight from the earth? In response to the garden’s unbelievable evolution Davis says, “We’ve had a fair amount of community support and a tremendous amount of Facebook likes,” as he rakes the land with Alison, whose bare feet sink into pockets of the soil. Beit T’Shuvah’s Organic Learning Garden includes more than just 40 non-GMO organic varieties of veggies and herbs—it incorporates an entire informational course syllabus packed with every detail from food consumption, soil care, and plant growth courses to various field trips. The whole garden story is quite serendipitous. It all began when a few visionary mothers of Beit T’Shuvah Alumni, including Rhonda Snyder, Julie Soter, and Carolyn Gold, along with Beit T’Shuvah’s Facilities Director, Craig Miller, heard about garden programs at their congregations and were able to imagine a potential program for growth in recovery. They spoke to Rabbi Mark and Netiya, a Jewish network that brings garden programs to synagogues, schools, and nonprofit organizations in LA. About the same time that the Netiya project slowly faded away, the vision for an organic garden was simultaneously budding in residents Alison Hennessey and Davis Watson. Serendipitously, Davis and Alison were both emerging from their recovery and had experience with gardening and farming. “They were floundering a bit,” Adam recalls, but starting to discuss a program that they were incredibly J U N E 2 014

Davis’ goal is to slowly change the food system and hopefully grow the majority of Beit T’Shuvah’s food consumption in-house. They have already begun— the garden program supplied the herbs for this year’s Passover Seder! People have been so inspired by the program that two residents, Jonas and Ben, even created a weekly juice bar at Beit T’Shuvah and others are growing their very own sprouts in mason jars as a part of Alison’s Sprouts Club. “It’s alive,” Davis says, which speaks not only to the organic growth of the program, but the life lessons imbedded in organic farming that transcend our commercialized society and encourage people to use their hands to connect to something greater than themselves. It’s not hard to see how seamlessly farming and gardening translates to growing a sober life. Time, dedication, and patience that involves tending to everyday, and reaping wonderful rewards in the end—it’s the perfect metaphor. So perfect that it seems the Organic Garden program won’t be a one hit wonder, surely it’s going places. Literally, the program is taking residents on field trips—planting trees, volunteering at food banks like Sova, garden digs with Ron Finely (Davis’ hero who is a social food activist and runs a farm in Compton), farmers market trips, milking cows, and countless screenings of food and farm films. This progressive program speaks to the continued cultivation of Beit T’Shuvah; whatever endeavor helps build gracious, beautiful souls, their hands are all in. w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 1 7

The Beit T’Shuvah Choir with Lara Kamen

We hit our goal again at this year's 22nd Annual Steps to Recovery Gala! The auction was amazing, the choir was breathtaking, and the stories, as always, were full of life and love. Thanks to the generous support of many, we can again take up our mission of saving lost souls. 1 8 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014



2 1. The Beit T’Shuvah Choir 2. T’Shuvah Award Honoree Joyce Brandman 3. Yeshaia Blakeney, Emily Blakeney and Family 4. Harriet Award Honorees Paul Bergman and Andrea Sossin-Bergman

4 5



8 5. The Beit T’Shuvah Gala 6. Rabbi Mark Borovitz 7. Silent Auction 8. BTS Board Member Russell Kern J U N E 2 014

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 1 9



9. Yeshaia Blakeney 10. Avia Rosen, Harriet Award Honoree Doug Rosen, and Rabbi Mark Borovitz 11. Sossin-Bergman Family 12. Cantor Seth Marlon Ettinger and Cantor Rachel Goldman 13. Craig Miller and Wendy Blumenthal Miller


12 13


14. Rabbi Mark Borovitz, Harriet Rossetto, Doug Rosen, Lise Applebaum, Joyce Brandman, Andrea SossinBergman, Paul Bergman, Lynn Bider, Heidi Praw 15. Co-Chairs Lynn Bider, Heidi Praw and Lise Applebaum 16. Nico Esformes, Heather Garett and Jake Mullary


2 0 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g


J U N E 2 014

Organic Gardening Sponsorships Available Now you can be a part of this innovative program that has been taking root at Beit T’Shuvah for the past year. Through the Organic Gardening Program, residents have the opportunity to plant, cultivate, and harvest their own organic fruits and vegetables. We need your help to secure the space and equipment to keep expanding. Gardening box--$200 (11 available) Large Gardening Box--$350 (1 available) Plot on the parkway--$500 (10 available) Sponsors for the season rotate every 6 months. Contact Adam at to reserve your sponsorship today.


To get involved or become part of this years Team BTS contact Barbara Friedman at: OR 310.204.5200 X204 Beit T’Shuvah 2 2 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014

Brian Rivera, Barbara Friedman, Jenn Gerber and Ali Gabler

T HE D E V ELO PM ENT TE A M After a fabulous day on the golf course for the BTS Open Tournament and a lovely afternoon at the beautiful home of Sam Delug for the Circle of Majesty Luncheon, the Development team is grateful to all of the generous donors and supporters who participated in these spring events. Beit T’Shuvah never turns anyone away because of the inability to pay for treatment services, thus these events are vital to sustain our operations. No one knows this better than the newly formed Development Committee led by Janice Kamenir-Reznik and Lise Applebaum. These phenomenal women have assembled a committee of individuals committed to helping Beit T’Shuvah strategically raise the funds necessary to support future operations. With the committee’s guidance and support, the Development team is already planning the kick-off for the 2015 Team BTS Marathon training season this summer, as well as preparing for our annual Gala, to be held January 25th 2015 at the Century Plaza Hotel. We invite you to visit our new Beit T’Shuvah website which has many links to upcoming events in our community. On the website you can see who will be celebrating their sober birthday at Shabbat

J U N E 2 014

over the next few months, sign-up to take your sober birthday cake and of course sponsor a Shabbat in honor of those celebrating a sober birthday. For a spiritual experience like none other, please join us for the High Holidays, which are right around the corner. Our new website features easy High Holiday services reservations; just go online and purchase or renew your Congregation BTS membership. High Holiday services will once again be held at the Agape International Spiritual Center (as well as our own new Sanctuary on Erev and Day 2 of Rosh Hashanah). The Development team invites you to celebrate Shabbat with us over the summer in our new sanctuary… remember our Pre-Shabbos Nosh starts at 5:30pm so come have a bite with us beforehand! And in the fall, when the construction of our new building concludes, we will have a formal dedication (date TBD) where our entire community will have an opportunity to thank the numerous donors who made it all possible. For more info on gift opportunities or ways to support Beit T’Shvuah, please contact the Development department at 310-204-5200 or visit our website at

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 2 3

Beit T’Shuvah:

Artwork from the book 2 Broken People by Jack Bender

Organic “Soul Amendment Treatment” for Alcoholics, Addicts and other Broken People

O By:

Garrett O’Connor, M.D.

n a rainy afternoon about 27 years ago, Harriet Rossetto decided that she had lost her soul. Intrepid warrior that she was— and still is— she set out to look for a new one. Even though her own soul had been lost, and her heart was broken, she felt that she might have a chance to retrieve both vital organs if she could locate and help another person in a similar predicament to her own. She lucked out. Nearby, in the Los Angeles City Jails, she found dozens of addicts and alcoholics packed into prison cells like sardines, waiting to be devoured by a harsh and hungry Criminal Justice System. Using all of her powers of persuasion and a range of other survival skills she had developed over the years, Harriet convinced the authorities to release several Jewish inmates to her care on the grounds that they would have a better

2 4 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

chance for recovery if treated with compassion in a therapeutic environment. Thus was born Beit T’Shuvah, a unique integrative treatment community based on Jewish Faith and Culture, 12-Step Spirituality, Psychotherapy, Vigorous Exercise and the Creative Arts. Presently, Harriet was joined in her efforts by Mark Borovitz (soon to be ordained as Rabbi Mark,) who had also lost his soul, but was now on parole from a five-year sentence in Chino State Prison. And the rest, as they say, is history. The damaged souls of this pioneering pair of social prodigals were indeed restored and their wounded hearts repaired by encouraging others to achieve the same goals. They created an entirely new soul-saving treatment culture for “low bottom alcoholics and other addicts.” What began as an initially unpopular cause in the Jewish Community has evolved over the past 27 years, with more than “a little help” from friends like Warren and Elaine Breslow, Annette Shapiro, and Joyce Brandman.

J U N E 2 014

“There are literally thousands of definitions, commentaries and treatises about “the soul” in a literature that spans over 30 centuries.”

From a human perspective, the soul is anything you believe it to be. Many religions describe it as “that mysterious thing behind,” that it is a perpetual source of spiritual energy and animation that sustains all human functions and mechanisms required to sustain life.

Harriet and Mark chose the Jewish structure of Yetzer Ha’ra (negative human inclination) and Yetzer Tov (positive human inclination) as their model for the Soul of Beit T’Shuvah. These two inclinations, which carry opposite emotional and behavioral polarities, are constantly engaged in a life-long battle for mastery within each one of us, and it is the daily outcome of this mortal conflict that determines the nature of the individual’s life and character structure. Succinctly put, the goal of the Beit T’Shuvah integrative treatment culture is to help alcoholics, addicts and other broken people to restore the balance of their souls so that Yetzer Tov (the good inclination) out-flanks Yetzar Ha’ra (the bad inclination) on the battlefield of life. The spiritual motto of this transformation is “To do the right thing as often and as well as you can!” Growing up in Ireland, I always imagined my Catholic soul as a large white marshmallow buried deeply somewhere inside my tummy. As time went on, I was told by the priests that black pock marks would be permanently tattooed on the satin white surface of my soul each time I committed a sin. Big pocks for mortal sins—mostly sexual— and smaller pocks for venial ones, such as fibbing or disobedience. By the time I was 21, I had begun to envisage my soul as a stinking, putrefying abscess, laden with sin that had lost its capacity to animate my spirit and energize my life. I lived in a perpetual state of malignant shame and deep suffering, always fearing that I would be exposed to

the world for the worthless wretch that I really was. Given my high rate of sinning, it will not come to you as a surprise, that I had lost my soul by the age of 21, and that I was running for cover from eternal damnation on a daily basis. After 25 years of alcoholic drinking had destroyed my soul for the second time, I landed in AA where I began to regain some dignity after 36 years as a sober member of that organization. But I never lost my pathological foundation of malignant shame and secret self-loathing, and I knew full well that I would be held accountable to God long after I had lapsed in my Catholic Faith. I still believed that I would be held accountable by God on the Last Day of Judgment for my earthly transgressions against him and a lack of Faith in His Will. Available rewards and punishments included Heaven (sitting on a cloud with billions of dead and withered souls, contemplating the face of God to the tune of Angels playing harps); Hell (which meant continuous suffering for ever and ever without end in an inferno that was hotter than the interior of the sun); Purgatory (which featured all of the suffering of Hell but with a potential for remission sentence usually ranging from 100,000 to 1,000,000 years), which, although large, seemed to be a good deal under the circumstances; and then there was Limbo, a tepid, lifeless segment of the firmament reserved for unbaptized babies, petty criminals hoping for an eventual reprieve, and Jews, according to the New Testament. In February 2013, Harriet and Rabbi Mark found me—or I found them. Whichever way it was—I joined Beit T’Shuvah as Director of the Elaine Breslow Addiction Institute. It was here in the culture of Beit T’Shuvah that I found my lost soul for the third time, and finally learned to speak the language of the heart and soul, which is both the pathway to authentic suffering and the homeland of eventual peace for alcoholics, addicts and other broken people. This is my understanding of how Beit T’Shuvah cultivates the souls of its residents, its staff, and its family members.

“It was here in the culture of Beit T’Shuvah that I found my lost soul for the third time, and finally learned to speak the language of the heart and soul.”

J U N E 2 014

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 2 5

JUST A MATTER OF TIME How Creative Matters blossomed from a Beit T’Shuvah start-up into a vibrant creative agency. BY STEPH LAGER

Whether you’re a resident of Beit T’Shuvah or just Los Angeles, you may have already encountered the innovative, overly passionate work of Creative Matters Agency. You’ve also probably heard their story: a graphic design agency born out of Beit T’Shuvah as a social enterprise that designs inspiring marketing collateral for local organizations. But that doesn’t even skim the surface of what they do. Creative Matters fosters the creative talents of Beit T’Shuvah residents through 9-month internships, nurturing emerging talent and preparing them for a future brimming with possibilities. Their story is evolving as fast as their name is rising among celebrated creative enterprises (they were just featured in Fast Company Magazine’s April issue), which is most evident in their recent rebranding from BTS Communications to Creative Matters. Amongst the growing hype, we can’t help but wonder: why the name change and what has contributed to their developing success? “Like people in the process of recovery, we found that we had to take our own ‘inventory,’ to evaluate ourselves and see where we were excelling and where we were falling short,” Eliana Katz, the general manager of Creative Matters, explains. The agency found that their name was a misnomer—it didn’t accurately represent their true identity. Creative Matters is an organization that is skilled at innovative design, captivating messaging, and inspiring photography. Instead of suggesting that they are an overall communications firm, they wanted their name to reflect their true value.

2 6 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014

Katz explains that in brainstorming a new name, this one emerged rather organically. “Our name was meant to be an expression of both of our missions—not just to create beautiful work, but to shape beautiful lives. To invigorate and inspire not only brands, but the very people behind the creative.” And, most importantly, to represent the newly sober residents of Beit T’Shuvah who come “vulnerable and hungry,” and leave with a wealth of confidence, passion, and skills that translate into meaningful careers. In brainstorming their mission, the agency went back to their very Beit T’Shuvian roots: the famous slogan that, though often uttered playfully, is quite true: you matter. You matter, I matter, it matters! The ‘it’ in their case is the creative. Katz elaborates that creativity is what matters to their clients; it is what shapes their brand, communicates their cause, and ingrains their importance in the minds of their audiences. “And it matters to us— it makes us tick, keeps us engaged, and allows us to contribute uniquely to this world,” she says. As is required in effective messaging, the name change wasn’t just cosmetic; it was part of a larger strategic progression towards internal growth. First, the new name will allow the agency to continually point inward, so each staff member and intern will remember why they step foot in their office every day, and why they fervently pour their souls into every project. “That knowledge will drive our work, ultimately fostering incredible output,” Katz says. The second reason is that it will better represent the offerings and services of this anything but ordinary organization.

2 8 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

Creative Matters excels at delivering stunning design, copywriting, photography, and videography for both tangible print mediums as well as the digital space. “The confidence to offer exactly what we know ourselves to be good at also allows for strong customer relationships,” Eliana says. The clients they work with stay with them because Creative Matters believes in what they do, and that translates to producing an abundance of uplifting, cutting-edge design work. In terms of what the future holds, Katz’s demeanor brightens with a notable sense of pride. “The future is now!” she exclaims.

THE OFFICE IS CONSTANTLY ABUZZ WITH RINGING PHONES, BUZZING APPLE MONITORS, CLACKING KEYS, BR AINSTORMING SESSIONS, AND OCCASIONAL LY, AN INDIE SONG HUMMING IN THE BACKGROUND. “Our future is 50 MORE interns finding their way through our doors, a roster of 30 more clients, and more and more of our work seen peppered throughout Los Angeles.” And the sky really is the limit for this organization. Quite literally, in fact, this summer you can find

J U N E 2 014

Creative Matters’ work adorning billboards and bus shelters throughout Los Angeles for one of their newest clients: Fatburger. Few could imagine that a boutique agency born out of a Jewish treatment center would land such high profile clientele. What can we attribute to their recent success? Russell Kern is a man who wears many hats in his personal and professional life. Among them are the two he wears for Beit T’Shuvah: Board member and professional mentor to the cast and crew at Creative Matters since its inception. President of his own renowned direct marketing company, The Kern Organization, Russell puts his finger on that exact transformation. “I attribute their recent success to the maturing of the management, the increased quality of their services, and their creative work.” Russell knows that it takes all three to run a successful agency, however, “what has been surprising is how passionate both the hired staff and interns are about the work they do for their clients,” he says.


Kern serves as a vital component to the Creative Matters agency, an experienced advertising veteran who they can turn to for guidance. While the budding success of Creative Matters is remarkable in its own right, when one considers that part of their mission includes constantly hiring fresh, untrained interns, they’re really not just surviving, but thriving, against all odds. “Creative Matters is different because it is born from a social mission — to help those in recovery while helping businesses who have smaller budgets get high quality work. Frankly this doesn’t give them an advantage. It makes it harder for them, which means the staff has to be twice as smart and they have to work on leaner budgets. They need to train while they are producing new work for clients. And success is measured by interns going on to new lives.” While this is the opposite of what most businesses want, Russell adds that, “their heart and passion, in pursuit of helping others, is what allows them to overcome these hurdles.” He continues, “They care deeply for their clients and their staff. And it is this sense of family and community that allows them to ultimately achieve their goals.” It is that devotion that has allowed Creative Matters to dream big and exceed their wildest expectations. This agency is not slowing down anytime soon; their advertisements brighten the pages of the Jewish Journal, American Jewish University and Well Fargo’s event materials, Vista Del Mar’s magazines, Homeboy Industries marketing collateral, and this very magazine. Stop by their office or give them a call to uncover what their innate passion, vibrant pasts, and exceptional vision can do for you.



Contact Creative Matters Agency Eliana Katz, O: 310.842.3725 ext. 1 C: 954.665.1270 EVENT DESIGN

J U N E 2 014

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 2 9



Ellen Sandler and Corrine Sands

Co-Chair Lois Bloom, Roberta Novick, Beverly Gelfand

Development te

Laurie Harbert and Gayle Weiss

Alica Gabler

Sam Delug and Ronnie Stabler

Helene Galen

Co-Chairs Din

Ginger Bort and Sam Delug

Guest Speaker Fionnula Flanagan

Lauren King, Ginger Bort, Co-Chair Dina Leeds

The Circle of Majesty Society 7th Annual Luncheon The Circle of Majesty Society, a women’s group supporting the Youth Services Program, recently held its 7th annual luncheon. Co-Chairs Dina Leeds, Lois Bloom, Nancy Mishkin, Harriet Rossetto, Annette Shapiro, and Ronnie Stabler joined forces in 2008 to begin the program for a select group of women who exemplify the quality of “majesty.”

eam, Jenn Gerber, Barbara Friedman, Ali Gabler and Brian Rivera

Over 85 members enjoyed delicious food from Food by Lene, shopping courtesy of Shellie Harrison and Linda Meyer, and great camaraderie, all at the fabulous home of Sam Delug, who generously underwrote the entire luncheon. We are especially grateful for Sam’s support! The highlight of the afternoon was our guest speaker, actress Fionnula Flanagan, who talked about her illustrious career followed by a charismatic reading of a monologue from James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Circle of Majesty members receive a specially designed piece of jewelry to display their commitment to helping others. Besides the annual luncheon, members meet throughout the year at different events and continue their commitment to the important family work of Beit T’Shuvah.

na Leeds, Lois Bloom, Annette Shapiro, Harriet Rossetto, Ronnie Stabler J U N E 2 014

For more information on the Circle of Majesty, please call Barbara Friedman at 310-204-5200. w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’S H U VA H | 3 1

Craig Miller and helicopter crew

Salli Harris, Danny Maltzman, Mike Hooper, Darren Kaufman


Co-Chair Jan Rosen

The 2014 BTS Open was held on June 9th at El Caballero Country Club. We had a great turn out, with over 90 golfers turning out to support Beit T’Shuvah for a great day of golf, good food, and fun. Besides having an Opportunity Board with many outstanding prizes, our highlight was the Helicopter Golf Ball Drop. Golfers who donated $100 per ball watched as a helicopter hovered over the putting green and dropped over 300 balls. Cash prizes were handed out to the three balls that landed closest to the hole. After 18 holes of play, everyone had a delicious dinner and awards were given out. Congratulations to all and we hope to see everyone next year! We also want to thank Craig Miller for his generous donation of the helicopter.

BTS OPEN WINNERS Low Net (with handicap) team winners: Bob Grush, Ed Grush, Khoi Tran, Rodger Ferguson Low Gross (no handicap) team winners: Larry Wheat, Scott Kaufman, Mike Hooper, Darren Kaufman Rob Fox, Steve Berman, Rabbi Mark Borovitz, Martin Chavez

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS: The Antin Family May and Richard Ziman

Charles Winkler Silver Family in honor of Diana Zagha

The Temple Family Harriet Rossetto and Rabbi Mark Borovitz

In Memory of Jack Mishkin The Trabulus Family

Neil Solarz & Martin Neuman Sheryl & Ken Pressberg 3 2 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014

Temple Membership Memberships & Prices Single - 1 year $250 Family - 1 year $450

Single - 2 year $375 Family - 2 year $750

High Holiday Tickets • Single membership includes one ticket per service • Family membership includes up to four tickets per service • Additional member tickets are $55/ticket/service • Individual non-member tickets are $75/ticket/service

Member Benefits Include High Holiday tickets (# of tickets based on your type of membership) and reserved seating in the Temple Members section Invitations to all of the exciting Beit T’Shuvah events throughout the year, including a Temple Member Welcome Tea and annual Temple Member Shabbat

Access to clergy for spiritual services including: Spiritual Consultations Learning and Torah Study Life Cycle Events (at a discounted rate) A 25% discounted rate for Sanctuary rental and catering services A 25% discounted rate to hire our musicians and sound crew Waived Adat Shalom membership fee for Day and Religious School ($1,000-$2,000 value)

High Holidays are just around the corner and will surely be fabulous! Don’t forget to sign up or renew your Beit T’Shuvah temple membership by visiting or by contacting Brian Rivera at 310-204-5200.

J U N E 2 014

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 3 3


W E’RE ALL IN THIS TO GE THER Homeboy Industries is the largest gang rehabilitation program in the countr y, of fering job training, hope, and support to formerly incarcerated individuals. Homeboy Industries’ social enterprises include: Homegirl Café & Catering, as well as Homeboy Silkscreen & Embroider y, Baker y, Farmers Market, Diner at Cit y Hall and Merchandise. You’ll see Beit T’Shuvah’s Creative Matters enterprise at work in Homeboy Industries’ new brochures, print, and display materials. We are proud partners in the movement for second chances. For information about Homeboy please go to For more information about Creative Matters please go to

On On the the road road to to recovery, recovery, sometimes sometimes you you need need aa little little help. help. FinditParts FinditPartsproudly proudly provides provides externship externship opportunities opportunities totoBeit residents. Beit T’Shuvah T’Shuvah residents.

3 4 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014




By Martin Chavez


alking into the unknown is scary for anyone. Walking back into Beit T’Shuvah for the second time for me, was even scarier. I had finally succumbed to my addiction after a previous attempt to get sober. The reality was that my internal self was just as horrid as my external appearance. It was time to make the whole change, and that was the most frightening and biggest step I was ever going to choose to make. And then, it happened. Being born and raised into a Mexican-American, Catholic family as the youngest of 9 siblings was what defined me. Going through the Sacraments of the Faith : Baptism, Communion, Reconciliation and Confirmation were the staples of my childhood and teenage years. 7 years of Catholic schooling and Church every Sunday were part of the program as well. I was happy in both home and spirit and never went without. So how does a young man in a healthy and happy upbringing divert into a dark world of drug and alcohol abuse that spans almost three decades? My answer: by blaming others for my problems. This is where Beit T’Shuvah helped me regain my spiritualty and recovery. My Judaism began before I reached the steps of Beit T’Shuvah. I converted to Orthodoxy in 2001 when I married into an Israeli family, and found that Catholicism and Judaism were very similar. Family and faith were the core values of both for me, so the transition was easy. It’s not to say I denounced my Catholic roots, I just had not been practicing my former faith in quite some time and this was a natural transition. One thing never changed however, and that was my J U N E 2 014

addiction. So in the summer of 2010 I packed my things and left my family and the east coast behind and entered Beit T’Shuvah. This was my first attempt at real sobriety. A 90-day program was supposed to be my “cure.” Sadly I could not have been more wrong. Against all opposition and the warnings of what would come, I left treatment and went back home in a rush. Abstaining for close to a year was hard; not having any program was a mistake. I struggled for close to 3 years until the wheels fell off. The time had come to become whole again, mentally, physically and most of all spiritually! I came back to Beit T’Shuvah in May of 2012 and surrendered, this time from the inside out. I dove head first into my recovery, taking all direction that was given and connecting with my Judaism. My faith was the key. Shabbat services and daily Torah study are required at the beginning of treatment and are suggested throughout the latter stages of recovery. For me, 7 a.m. Saturday mornings are the key to my re-discovery of Judaism. Rabbi Mark takes on a journey through the teachings of Rabbi Joshua Heschel. The discussion ranges from recovery, spirituality, sports and sometimes Rabbi Mark’s youth in the “old country”….Cleveland! This, in my eyes, embodies what Judaism is, a wide spectrum of how I see God in my daily life. God is not just in Torah or in Temple. God is everywhere we see him and how we allow him or the spirit to come into our lives. This blend of Judaism and recovery is what Beit T’Shuvah means to me and how it has helped me remain sober for just over 2 years. Today I am a father, son, brother, uncle and friend, all with purpose and direction. By making the right choices, Beit T’Shuvah has helped lay the groundwork for a path in life that I will continue to take. And that is the story of the Mexican-American Catholic Addict Turned Recovered Jew. w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 3 5


ast summer marked the first Birthright trip that was completely organized and chaperoned by all Beit T’Shuvah staff and residents! From burying wishes in the cracks of the Kotel and dancing during Shabbat, to floating in the Dead Sea, and hiking Masada, community members all bonded under the Jerusalem stars and reconnected with their Jewish roots. It was a trip that will forever stay in their hearts.






3 6 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014


1. Vince L.; 2. Jennifer G., and Natalie H.; 3. Arielle T. and Shikma B.; 4. Lacey W. and Jessica F. at the Kotel 5. Mike G., Yael K., Marissa Y., David H., Erica R., Alex A., Jonathan W., Daniel G., Missy S., Stephanie L., Elise Y., Kyle P., Emily G., Joey D., Jessica F., Vince L., Veronica L., Arielle T., Erica G., Natalie K., Shikma B., Michal D., Oren H., Erin P., Nathalie H., Brianna C., Josh G., Ryan C., Nick G. 6. Natalie H., David K., Jennifer G., Andrew K., Mike G., Samantha., David H., Wesley F., Daniel G., Jonathan W., Erin P., Joey D., Michah., Oren H., Arielle T., Natalie K., Nick G., Alex A., Luke P., Josh G., Emily G., Lacey W., Kyle P., Veronica L., Vince L., Haim M., Brianna C., Monrosa K., Stephanie L., Erica r., Michal D., Daniel G. J U N E 2 014

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 3 7

ACTIVE IN RECOVERY By Eliot Godwin Sobriety is largely about sitting with discomfort and boredom. In the midst of using, addicts would rush to fill the mundane with excitement. We rarely take the time to appreciate our blessings, accept that it’s okay to be bored sometimes, and turn to new, healthy experiences to fill the void. The world is rife with opportunities to experience things we had never previously considered.

3 8 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014

If we apply to them the same persistence we used to get that next fix, we’d find that these experiences provide a much deeper and more enriching joy than we ever found in our addictions. Beit T’Shuvah understands that in order to live healthy, productive lives in sobriety, addicts and alcoholics need to explore new avenues of healthy experiences. Surf Therapy is a group that gathers twice a week, with surfboards, and heads out to the beach to meditate, surf and reflect. At the end of each session the group huddles up and gives gratitude to each other, to nature and generally appreciates the value of community as it pertains to sobriety. This group is quite literally the definition of being active in one’s recovery—having fun and looking out for each other is a powerful experience that transcends typical expectations of treatment. Sometimes, people in early recovery need a little help reaching those moments of excitement—whether that help is getting the right equipment or just being able to connect with likeminded peers. Resident Todd B. noticed that the wetsuits for Surf Therapy had holes in them and many were in disrepair. He asked some residents if they were enjoying the group and a common concern was that the water was too cold. Beit T’Shuvah has helped Todd in so many ways; he felt this was a logical opportunity for him to give back. “Before I got

J U N E 2 014

here, I wanted to die.” Todd says. “You could say I kind of owe this place.” Todd reached out to a number of well known purveyors of wetsuits, searching for someone who might be able to spearhead a donation project. His diligence paid off. One socially-conscious company—Patagonia, a Californiabased high-end outdoor and water apparel company—was so affected by Todd’s appeals for support that they donated 22 wetsuits for the Surf Therapy program, collectively worth over $13,000. Patagonia was stoked to be a part of Beit T’Shuvah’s life-changing community. Their Social & Environmental Responsibility Manager Wendy Savage remarks, “Sometimes we underestimate the impact that our small actions could have on other people. We are so happy that our suits brought such joy and hope to the group; you’ve made more than one of us cry!” Surf Therapy is indeed such a powerful experience that it spurred resident Eric Grossman to start the Beit T’Shuvah Swimming Program. “I rediscovered my passion for the water,” Eric says. “This program has helped me explore something new and inspired me to take on new challenges.” With the Surf Therapy program properly outfitted and ready for the cold winter water, Todd was urged by Clinical Director Kim Sherman to look into options for some ski trips she was planning for the residents as well. So Todd went at it again. After a bevy of emails, Bear Mountain offered up to 18 lift

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 3 9


tickets with rentals, good for five visits a year, indefinitely. This effectively has created a Ski Therapy program for Beit T’Shuvah as well! “Recovery and living well involves an integrative approach. Skiing and snowboarding are just that; spiritual experiences that promote a sense of community through connection and support from peers,” Kim says. “These values are at the core of Beit T’Shuvah teachings.” With the generous support of Bear Mountain, the February Beit T’Shuvah ski/snowboard trip was a success. Nearly 20 residents enjoyed a beautiful day in the mountains. Having so much fun together gives the experience greater meaning, for resort employees and attendees alike. “We were so happy to host Beit T’Shuvah at Snow Summit,” said Chris Riddle, Vice President of Marketing at Big Bear Mountain Resorts. “It’s important for us to give back, and help those whose mission it is to help others. Welcoming Beit T’Shuvah and providing them with a fun, relaxing day on the slopes was our way of saying thank you for all they do in the community.” 4 0 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

Many addicts have a great deal of friends for whom sobriety is not a priority. It’s imperative that they make new friends along the path of recovery with whom they can share something new and build a sense of community. Beit T’Shuvah resident Ethan C. sums it up: “This trip was one of my most valuable Beit T’Shuvah experiences because it showed me I could enjoy something in sobriety that I had always done under the influence. Life is vivid and incredible when you are clear in mind and spirit!” When one thinks of rehab, images of large locked doors contrast with gentle nurses and palm trees. Typically surfboards and snowboards aren’t part of the equation. But, as we know, Beit T’Shuvah is anything but typical. Beit T’Shuvah is exceptional. Broken individuals are welcomed through its doors and exceptional community members walk out. Their singular approach to addiction has helped thousands of people not only recover their passion, but reclaim their spirit in an “extreme” way.

J U N E 2 014

2 Broken People Paintings, Sculpture and Text by Jack Bender

“Jack Bender is an amazing artist and storyteller. His work is both entertaining and important. There’s a freshness here that delights both the eye and the mind. (And I mean every damn word.)” -Stephen King Based on the true story of Rabbi Mark Borovitz and Harriet Rossetto, this book weaves together art and prose to tell the story of two broken people who healed each other so they could heal the world. Purchase your very own copy of this ground-breaking tale of redemption, love, and healing today. All proceeds go toward helping continue the mission of Beit T’Shuvah.

A Redemption Story by Jack Bender

Jack Bender is an award-winning artist, writer, and producer, known for his decades of television work on shows like Felicity, Alias, Ally McBeal, The Sopranos, and Lost. A lifetime creative force, Jack uses painting and sculpture as a storytelling medium to explore the intersection of spirituality, pop-culture, and contemporary American politics. bender_art_book.indd 1

1/7/14 8:29 AM

Hard Cover: $50 Soft Cover: $35 Contact Brian Rivera at to order your copy.

HIGH HOLIDAYS The High Holidays are a celebration of change. At Beit T’Shuvah, we celebrate the capacity for each of us to change every day, and this commitment enables our High Holiday services to be expansive, rich and utterly unlike any other services you’ve seen. We harness the power of our awe-inspiring community of 1,000+ souls through prayer, music (both original and traditional cantorial and choral), and opportunities for many different members of the community to share their own thoughts and journeys.

4 2 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014

J U N E 2 014

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 4 3

CANTOR’S CORNER Rabbi Mark often teaches the rest of the clergy team to ask our spiritual counseling clients, “what are you oblivious to?” We can see examples of being oblivious everywhere in our daily lives. Someone might drive down the same street every day for years and then suddenly notice a building that they never realized was there before. Since Beit T’Shuvah still has on-going construction, I was forced to deviate from my usual path to and from work, which I think of as my little “bubble.” I usually park in our garage and walk internally to my office or the sanctuary. Also, my driving route to and from work never required me to physically pass by the front of Beit T’Shuvah. Suddenly, all of this changed. Due to the temporary construction blockage, I walked outside the garage, onto the street, past the newly planted Organic Garden, and around the corner through the front doors of Beit T’Shuvah. I immediately noticed that Beit T’Shuvah itself looked like a bubble…something I had clearly been oblivious to for a while. It was completely wrapped in plastic tarp. It almost reminded me of a cocoon. I thought about this much-used metaphor of a cocoon. A caterpillar envelops itself into a cocoon and emerges as a butterfly, and no matter how many National Geographic specials I watch, such a metamorphosis still strikes me as miraculous. However, in nature, you can’t just take a slug (or an elephant or a zebra) and put that into a cocoon and expect the same results as a specific caterpillar’s self-immersion. I tried to think about how this applied to Beit T’Shuvah, since so many personality types enter our (now literal) cocoon of treatment, prayer, and community. From the easily willing caterpillar-types to the more difficult honey badger-types, every person emerges as a unique butterfly of their own soul. I was awestruck by this fact—that against the laws of nature and Wikipedia, any type of already-holy soul can enter Beit T’Shuvah and find their own seeds to sow for their own metamorphosis. Everyone’s cocoon at Beit T’Shuvah is made of different “materials”—be it involvement as a congregant singing loudly with everyone at Shabbat, picking up a surfboard, or literally planting seeds in a unlikely plot of land on a city sidewalk—but the beauty is that everyone has the tools at their fingertips here to make their own cocoon. They just need to reach inside themselves and find that same willingness as the average caterpillar. The rest is just the miracle that is Beit T’Shuvah. SHANAH TOVAH, CANTOR RACHEL GOLDMAN 4 4 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014

ED THE SHREDDER Beit T’Shuvah’s lifeline often depends on the kindness of our community members who generously donate their time. Ed is one of these members. Ed donates his time every week and comes to Beit T’Shuvah to shred our paper. We humbly thank you, Ed!

ZEN GARDEN This year, along with our new building, we also completed work on our brand new Zen Garden. Complete with a fountain, walking path, and shaded areas to relax, it’s proof that appreciating nature can bring us all closer to each other and to God.

J U N E 2 014

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 4 5

Rabbi Mark Borovitz & Father Greg Boyle

EVENTS Awards, rewards and paying it forward. The Sisterhood’s Fashion Show and the first Shabbat in our new building were a few of the moments that made this a remarkably soulful year for Beit T’Shuvah. To top it all off, Harriet received the Cohon Award and she and Rabbi Mark attended Hannukah at the White House!

4 6 | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h . o r g

J U N E 2 014

Harriet Rossetto & Rabbi Mark Borovitz at White House Hanukkah celebration

BTS Sisterhood Fashion Show

J U N E 2 014

w w w. b e i t t s h u v a h. o r g | B E I T T ’ S H U V A H | 4 7

Youth Services Specializing in teens, under the age of 18, and their families. In addition to bringing Beit T’Shuvah’s already well known Partners in Prevention program to your school, Youth Services now also offers the following: Individual counseling | Spiritual counseling | Group therapy Tutoring | Mentoring | Drug testing | Music lessons Please contact Doug Rosen, Jessica Fishel or Zoe Ogulnick at 310-204-5200 for more info

FREEDOM song Help destigmatize addiction in your town. For booking information call Jessica Fishel at 310.204.5200 ext.204

HE HAS THE DRIVE. YOU HAVE THE CAR. “Freedom Song is the most powerful and emotional performance that every parent and teenager should see together.” -Dr. Chuck Slonim, Board Member of Congregation Schaarai Zedek in Tampa, Florida help destigmatize addiction in your town. for booking information call jessica fishel at 310.204.5200 ext.204

freedom song is a production of beit t’shuvah, a rehabilitation center in the united states dealing with addictions of drugs, alcohol

Beit T’Shuvah Recover Your Passion Discover Your Purpose

Beit T’Shuvah Needs Cars.

Jobs and Education are vital for recovering addicts. But they can’t get there without your help. Please contact Ali at 310-204-5200 or for your FREE Pickup and Tax Deduction.

Be a part of our hearing wellness program! We believe that everyone in our community over the age of 55 years old should have their hearing screened annually as part of their personal wellness program.


Hearing Screening


Expires 8/31/14.

5525 Etiwanda avE., StE 309 tarzana, Ca 91356

Over 27 Years Experience

Randy W. Martin PhD, OMD, LAc, CCH, QME

% 20OFF

Discount for first treatment when you mention this ad (not valid with other discounts)


Lisa Goldstein, M.A. Audiologist

Judy Hodosh, M.A. Audiologist

•ACUPUNCTURE •HERBS •HOMEOPATHY •NUTRITIONAL •COUNSELING •DETOXIFICATION •12-STEP COMPATIBLE Menʼs & Womenʼs Health Menopause PMS Fertility Fibroids Headaches Neck/Back Pain Pediatrics Allergies INSURANCE COVERS TREATMENT West L.A.: 12340 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 132 310-979-6495 Encino: 17000 Ventura Blvd., Suite 220 818-905-6171 Valencia: 23332 Valencia Blvd. 661-312-9868 Web: Email: Providing warm, gentle care since 1983

ONE PEOPLE. MANY CHOICES. As a service to the entire Jewish and inter-faith community for over 70 years, Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary offers the largest variety of cemetery choices of any Jewish memorial park. We recognize that times, lifestyles and people change and so do their desired choices when it comes to funeral services. As the interest in cremation has increased, so too have our cremation options. Hillside is a name you have trusted for many generations and as your family creates new traditions, we will be here to honor them. Please contact Rebeca Smoller, liaison to Beit T’Shuvah, for more information, including the Hillside/Beit T’Shuvah Partnership Program. (800) 576-1994 x108

Paul Goldstein, General Manager 6001 W. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90045 FD 1358 A Community Service of Temple Israel of Hollywood

Beit T’Shuvah 8831 Venice Boulevard Los Angeles, California 90034-3223

R e c o v er Your Pa s s i on D i s c o v er Your Purpos e 8831 Venice Blvd. | Los Angeles, CA 90034 310.204.5200 |

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage


Los Angeles, CA Permit No. 672

BTS Magazine  

Beit T'Shuvah's Cultivation Issue

BTS Magazine  

Beit T'Shuvah's Cultivation Issue