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VOLUME 4 NUMBER 1

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SACRED L I V ING I SSU E The Art of Making Your Bed An excerp t from Harrie t’s bo ok and a rec ap of her recent promotional bo ok tour. p g16

From Los Angeles to the Amazon & Back Stories from Yeshaia’s life-changing journey to the A mazon. p g24

{ INSIDE } •NEW BOARD MEMBERS •SOULSAVERS INITIATIVE •FA MILY WEEKEND •GAL A PHOTOS •WELCOME DR. O ’CONNOR

MAGAZINE


Beit T'Shuvah MAGAZINE

SEPTEMBER 2013

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

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Dr. Bill Resnick and Annette Shapiro share their thoughts on sacred living.

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

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An inspirational message rooted in routine & religion.

We l c o m e A “ B o a r d ”

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Introducing our four new Board Members.

Fa m i l y We e k e n d

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Parents share their experiences from our annual Family Weekend.

Th e A r t o f M a k i n g Y o u r B e d

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An excerpt from Harriet’s book Sacred Housekeeping and a recap of her recent promotional book tour.

S o u l s av e r s I n i t i at i v e

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Annual Gift. Lifelong Miracle.

G i v i n g D o e s n’t R e t i r e

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Warren Breslow’s retirement means a lot more time for Beit T’Shuvah.

Th e ‘ I s h ’ C o n n e c t i o n

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How an Irish Catholic found his home at Beit T’Shuvah.

{ INSIDE } THE GAL A p g28 Circle of M ajest y p g38 Cant or ’s Cor ner p g47 E vent Pics p g48

From L A to the Amazon & Back | 2 4 Stories from Yeshaia’s life-changing journey to the Amazon.

Th e K i d W h i s p e r e r

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One child describes Doug Rosen’s lasting impact.

Hotel Kotel

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A Year in Jerusalem with Ron Goldberg.

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Dr. BILL RESNICK, BOARD CHAIR

ANNE T TE SHAPIRO, BOARD PRESIDENT

Chair’s Note

President’s Note

I hope you enjoy this issue of the Beit T’Shuvah magazine, focusing on Sacred Living.

Being involved in BTS has changed my life—I have become more aware of the value of “Sacred Living.”

Beit T’Shuvah continues to grow in terms of outreach, most notably as Harriet Rossetto tours with her book Sacred Housekeeping, spreading the lessons she’s learned over the past quarter century—those lessons which she—along with Rabbi Mark—imparts so brilliantly to the Beit T’Shuvah community. Harriet’s wisdom includes the direction to attend to the basics in life, such as making the bed every day, or simply doing the next right thing.

We need to look at experiences in life and understand why things happen, some good and some not as good and put this together with everyday life. Being in the right place at the right time can make a difference in what happens in your future.

A key lesson in recovery is that there is much we have no control over—including how we feel in a given situation (or at least our initial emotional reaction). We do have control over how we respond however. And when we respond with right action and intention, we live a more sacred life. We are being mindful of how our actions matter. This could be as simple as warmly engaging with others we encounter during our day, be they family members or co-workers— and not responding in a retaliatory manner when we feel slighted. Or it could be as mundane as cleaning out the refrigerator. As we head into the High Holidays, I encourage us all to notice the little ways we can live a more sacred and engaged life. I also want to take this opportunity to welcome world-renowned addiction psychiatrist Dr. Garrett O’Connor to the Beit T’Shuvah community, as well as four dynamic new board members, Pat Gage, Heidi Bendetson, David Elston and Jessica Boar del Cid. I’m thrilled to get to work with all of you!

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Shabbat on June 29th was a sad goodbye to Shira Fox, our assistant Cantor. We were wishing her lots of luck in her new Cantorial position. Each Friday night when I go to services I enjoy my experience—beautiful music from Cantor Rachel, the Rabbi’s Torah worship and Sober Birthdays of those celebrating years of recovery. This is so meaningful to me as President of this important community agency. One of our former residents who now works for BTS shared about his recovery and spoke of the support and closeness he has with his grandfather, who was celebrating his 90th birthday as well. What an incredible gift it was to have his grandparents see him celebrating 2 years of being sober. This is truly a blessing that was hiding in the curse of addiction. When I turned around to see how proud the grandparents were for their grandson, I was so surprised to see I knew them. I have known them for about 60 years. They had moved out of LA and I lost contact with them. How proud they must be of their grandson who is now living a Sacred Life of helping others in their recovery. We are looking forward to our new remodeled building which should be finished in October. At that time we will have enough space to seat everyone that attends our Shabbat services and have the opportunity to reunite more families. I invite you to come and share this experience with us.

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

Beit T'Shuvah

MAGAZINE

EDITORS IN CHIEF HARRIET ROSSETTO RABBI MARK BOROVITZ DESIGN EDITOR JOHN SULLIVAN

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS BARBARA FRIEDMAN ELIANA KATZ JOSH SILVER

ART DIRECTORS KENDL FERENCZ ZACK FETTERS

MARKETING AND PR FANYA COHEN

PRESIDENT OF BTS COMMUNICATIONS LON LEVIN CONTRIBUTING WRITERS YESHaia BLAKeNEY LOS ANGELES TO THE AMAZON AND BACK, RABBI MARK BOROVITZ RABBI’S NOTE, FANYA COHEN THE ART OF MAKING YOUR BED, THE SOULSAVERS INITIATIVE, RON GOLDBERG HOTEL KOTEL: A YEAR IN JERUSALEM, DAVID GOLE 21 AND SOBER, STEPHANIE LAGER THE BEIT T’SHUVAH PULSE, COPING WITH CONSTRUCTION, WENDY NORTH DEAR HARRIET, DR. GARRETT O’CONNOR THE ‘ISH’ CONNECTION, DR. BILL RESNICK CHAIR’S NOTE, HARRIET ROSSETTO CEO’S NOTE, THE SOULSAVERS INITIATIVE, ANNETTE SHAPIRO PRESIDENT’S NOTE, JOSH SILVER WELCOME A “BOARD,” GIVING DOESN’T RETIRE, FAMILY WEEKEND, JOHNNY L THE KID WHISPERER CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS JUSTIN ROSENBERG SENIOR STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER LAUREN SCHIRO STAFF VIDEOGRAPHER LAUREL JOHNSON CIRCLE OF MAJESTY & GALA PHOTOGRAPHER AVIA ROSEN KID WHISPERER PHOTOGRAPHER JACLIN MILLER INTERN PHOTOGRAPHER CONTRIBUTING GRAPHIC DESIGNERS ALEX MACHT INTERN GRAPHIC DESIGNER (COVER DESIGN) LACY WEITZ INTERN GRAPHIC DESIGNER (COVER DESIGN)

DONORS & ADVERTISERS THAT OFFSET THE COST OF THIS ISSUE AMAZING MEMORIES INC. | AMERICAN JEWISH UNIVERSITY | BLACK EQUITIES MOSHE ELAD FIRST IN PRINTING | FACTOR’S FAMOUS DELI | FIND IT PARTS GMPA ARCHITECTS HILLSIDE MEMORIAL PARK | HOLD THE DATE | DR. MARTIN SUGARRIDE LIMOUSINE SERVICE Please send comments, letters, and feedback about this issue of Beit T’Shuvah Magazine to: btsmagazine@btscomm.org or 8985 Venice Blvd. Ste. H, Los Angeles, CA 90034

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LIVING IN RECOVERY IS SACRED LIVING.

It is a daily process of monitoring ones negative thoughts, feelings and actions in order to choose life.”

Harrie t Rosse t to, Founder, CEO Y O U DO N ’ T HA V E TO B E A N ADDI C T TO B E I N RE C O V ER Y . Years ago when I was unhappy most of the time, a close friend who was a recovering alcoholic used to tell me, ”It’s a shame you’re not an alcoholic, AA would really help you to feel better.” It took many more years to understand the wisdom of that remark. AA and other spiritual programs of recovery invite a perceptual shift from the pursuit of external solutions to human imperfection; from shame and blame to self-acceptance and emotional responsibility. No matter how smart or rich or pretty or thin or popular or famous we become, we are unable to rid ourselves of the nagging sensation that we are not good enough and will always fall short of perfection. The recovery process begins when we claim our imperfections. To be human is to be broken and to yearn for wholeness; to be earthly and to yearn for holiness. All humans experience inner conflict – the pull of our opposing inclinations…immediate gratification vs. long-term satisfaction; self-

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serving vs. service to others; being good vs. feeling good. Most people flip-flop between extremes – good or bad, right or wrong, happy or sad, fat or thin, disciplined or self-indulgent, ambitious or slothful, optimistic or hopeless. The inability to sustain PERFECTION triggers its opposite, causing feelings of shame and worthlessness or the need to blame other for ones perceived failure. Recovery from the human condition of duality is a paradigm shift from an Either/Or perception to a Both/And perception. Accepting our both-ness (good and bad, right and wrong, etc.) frees us to pursue wholeness instead of perfection, to integrate our opposing parts instead of alternating between extremes. Right action is the bridge that connects us to ourselves and others. I do the next right thing no matter what I feel or think. I honor my commitments to myself and others, choose gratitude over resentment, responsibility for self over blaming of others, faith and love over fear and disconnection. Living in recovery is sacred living. It is a daily process of monitoring ones negative thoughts, feelings and actions in order to choose life. We choose life when we wrestle with and subdue our negative inclinations in order to act from our highest intention.

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“People THINK RELIGION IS IRRELEVANT.

WRONG!

Rabbi Mark Borovitz, Spiritual Le ader, COO Sacred Living is a r e l i g i o u s way o f l i v i n g . Sacred Living is a faith-based way of living. Sacred Living is a spiritual way of living. Sacred Living is the basis/reason for all of the 613 Mitzvot. It is interesting to me that Sacred Living is having such a resurgence today, yet people don’t want to be identified as religious, faith-based, etc. I ask myself, “Why?” It is because, I believe, religion has a bad name because people think it is irrelevant. WRONG! (IMHO). Judaism began as a revolution against profane living and a revolution for Sacred Living. This is the war that all of us need to be engaged in. Judaism is the path that guides us, much like “Art of War” guides many people in warfare (business and personal). How does Judaism guide us on the path of Sacred Living? It guides us in so many ways. Here are a few of my ideas on this subject. We have 248 “Thou Shall” or positive commandments. The reason for these positive commandments is that they are counter-intuitive. They go against our own self-interest in many cases and cause us to have concern for the interests of others. Or, as Rabbi Heschel puts

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it, “The interests of others have to be our concerns” (from Man is Not Alone). This is part of the path/map to Sacred Living because it helps us to join the revolution of Judaism towards building a community. God tells us in Exodus to “make a Mishkan (neighborhood) for me so I can dwell among you.” This is the major gift of the Jews to the world; the ways to create a community where decency and holiness are the foundation. We have 365 “Thou Shall Not” or negative commandments. My understanding of these negative commandments is that God is telling us that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. In keeping with the principle that the interests of others have to be our concern, we have to put the brakes on our desires to do what we want and join the Jewish Revolution to make a better world. I am one who indulges in negative behavior at times, just because I can. I think everyone can relate to this. Yet, it is not okay and my goal in this coming year is to follow the “Thou Shall Nots” with more intention and action. Sacred Living takes a real commitment to oneself, God and community. It is a statement of caring about the interests of others, the interests of God, the responsibility of being human and the spiritual health of ourselves. Please join me in re-engaging and reinvigorating the Jewish Revolution to be relevant, holy and decent.

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SP OTLIG H T

W ELCOM E A“B OARD ”

{ INTRO D UCING BEI T T’SHUVAH’S NE WES T BOARD MEMBERS } by J OSH SILVER

Community. It’s the kind of word that’s thrown around a lot at Beit T’Shuvah. Uplifting, unifying—this word adds a sense of stability and gravitas to everything associated with our organization. In fact, it’s one of the things that sets us apart from other treatment centers and synagogues, and makes us a sacred institution. But how do you truly create a community? And once you’ve got one, how do new people join and in fact become leaders within that community? Well, this year we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming four new members to the Beit T’Shuvah Board of Directors and each one’s story of being welcomed into our community is more interesting than the last.

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he Beit T’Shuvah Board of Directors has always been made up of men and women who are passionate about serving our community, individuals with vision, expertise, and determination. Yet rarely have we had a member with the artistic spirit of Pat Gage, who has had several connections to Beit T’Shuvah over the years and even worked hands-on with many of the residents.

JESSICA BOAR DEL CID

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essica Boar Del Cid’s involvement with Beit T’Shuvah began when a visit to one of our Friday night Shabbat Services led to a serendipitous meeting. “I realized that the Rabbi who married my husband and me, Mel Silverman, was one of Rabbi Mark’s mentors,” says Jessica. “I felt as if things had come full circle and I wanted to do whatever I could to help BTS.”

Her story begins 12 years ago when she was teaching and directing Theatre at Santa Monica College. She had heard of Beit T’Shuvah through her husband’s work with the Jewish Federation and had the inspiring idea to direct a Holocaust survivor-themed play with actors from both SMC and BTS. The play, entitled I Never Saw Another Butterfly, was a huge success. “More importantly,” says Pat, “I fell in love with BTS and for years I have wanted to be more involved.” Several months ago her step-grandson came to Beit T’Shuvah and has become an example of our message of redemption. “With that I knew the time had come for me to step forward and serve in an organization that I have long been drawn to,” says Pat. She hopes that her non-judgmental spirit, and unique enthusiasm will allow her to have a real impact both on the Board and the community as a whole.

Since that time, Jessica has been working as Beit T’Shuvah’s employment attorney completely pro bono. Generously donating her time and experience toward working with Rabbi Mark and our Human Resources Department, Jessica has already helped us make some incredible improvements. Her legal expertise has been invaluable in Beit T’Shuvah’s ongoing mission of expanding our program and facility. She now hopes to bring that same level of enthusiasm and legal acumen into her new position as a member of the Board. According to Jessica, “Because so many of BTS’ former clients are now employees, I want to ensure that both they and BTS work together in the best interest of the community.” 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

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ven before joining the Board, Heidi Bendetson had already made a distinctive impression on Beit T’Shuvah. “I became involved with Beit T’Shuvah about a year and a half ago,” says Heidi, “when I organized and oversaw a design project to renovate and redecorate all of the 42 primary living spaces.” During the 4 ½ months it took to complete this massive overhaul, Heidi practically lived at Beit T’Shuvah herself. Day in and day out, she could be seen organizing the intake of furniture, working with our Maintenance Department to go over construction, or showing new designers through our facility. Residents started to know her affectionately as “The Design Lady” and her deterministic attitude and attention to detail can still be seen today in the rooms throughout Beit T’Shuvah. Now Heidi is bringing that same level of focus with her as she joins the Board of Directors. She is possibly the only Board Member to have seen every nook and cranny within Beit T’Shuvah and has already proven to be a pivotal member of the community. “I became very emotionally connected to the whole Beit T’Shuvah community,” says Heidi. “I feel this exposure gave me an insight that can be very useful as I work with the Board.” We agree.

HEIDI BENDE TSON

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avid Elston knows the pain and turmoil that addiction can cause. At Beit T’Shuvah, we know that addiction is a family disease, affecting everyone involved and not just the addict. David says, “With two family members and children of several friends being current or past residents, I feel a close connection to Beit T’Shuvah and the amazing work they do.” This first-hand experience with addiction gives him an acute awareness of the inner workings of recovery. Additionally, as Beit T’Shuvah moves forward with the expansion of the Elaine Breslow Institute, David will prove to be an invaluable resource. One of the main targets of the new Institute is to help addicts and families before they know they need help, and as someone with several loved ones in recovery, David will prove to be a great asset to this process. “I hope to bring an understanding of alcoholism and addiction cycles to The Board,” says David, “as apparently it has run rampant through my family, yet given me great insight.”

DAVID EL STON

These astounding individuals have already begun to add their own unique voice to the management of Beit T’Shuvah. Earlier in this article there was a question that has yet to be answered: “How do you truly create a community?” The answer is simple. You can’t. The reason for this is that you can never truly create something that has no end. Beit T’Shuvah will never really be “complete” and our newest Board Members prove this point beautifully. With each new addition comes a new spark of enthusiasm that reignites the original collective passion. Also, a community will always, at some point, take on a life of its own. It becomes autonomous and self-sustaining, a constantly evolving organism with limitless potential. Remember the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel: “Wonder, rather than doubt, is the root of all knowledge.” Thank you to all of the new Board Members for reigniting the wonder within us all.

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Family Weekend

If you know anything about Beit T’Shuvah, then you know saying that we ‘treat addiction’ is a bit of a misnomer, or at the very least, an understatement. Beit T’Shuvah does not only treat addiction. We believe in treating every aspect of a person to help lead him toward the path of living well, not just living sober. Years ago, we realized that this would also mean addressing the family issues that inevitably crop up when there is a dysfunctional member, such as an addict. Thus, the Elaine Breslow Family Program was born. Today, hundreds of family members of past and current residents continue to seek guidance and group therapy at Beit T’Shuvah. Several family groups are held throughout the week and many people come for personalized family sessions with our trained MFTs. Here’s the catch. Due to logistics, we were only helping those families that were within driving distance of Beit T’Shuvah (i.e. those within the Los Angeles area). But what about all of our community members from out of state, the East Coast, even Canada? They require the healing process just the same. Our solution-focused Family Program Coordinator, Adam Mindel found a way. This past July we hosted our third Family Weekend, welcoming over 30 family members from out of town. During Family Weekend, families from all over the country fly in for an intensely focused and highly immersed glimpse into Beit T’Shuvah, and their family member’s world of recovery. They educate themselves, receive therapy, and process the experience with other families struggling with the very same issues. Some families speak out on what this experience meant for them…

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Giving Back

We didn’t want to participate in the family weekend; we really didn’t want to participate in the family weekend. Individual therapy can be hard and painful, family therapy can be grueling. Plus, at this point in our family’s journey, it felt as if we had done family therapy ad infinitum. But the request to participate came directly from Adam Mindel and our family is deeply beholden to Adam. Adam’s therapeutic skill, his wisdom, his care and dedication has served as a guiding point in healing our family. So we said yes, we participated, and here is what we gained. Unlike family therapy that is held with one’s individual family, the family weekend is a shared experience with many families. At the beginning of the weekend, the families are placed into groups. The most powerful part of the entire weekend, for us, was the group family therapy that was done with each group throughout the weekend. We met together many times and, by the end of the weekend, we felt that we had formed close ties with other parents. We learned their stories, they learned ours, and bonds formed. For those of us who live in Los Angeles, we look for one another at Friday night Shabbat services; we welcome each other with warm hugs and we often eat dinner together after services. It is said over and over that Beit T’Shuvah is not just a rehab, it is not just a synagogue, but it is a community; and the community embraces not only its residents but also anyone and everyone who chooses to be part of the community. Participating in the family weekend turned out to be an unexpected way to become closer to as well as to give back to the Beit T’Shuvah community. Cathy and Chris

gratitude

Participating in the February 2013 Family Week at Beit T’Shuvah was far more meaningful and uplifting than I had anticipated. My husband and I have been to family events at other treatment centers in the past, designed to educate, comfort, and give hope to families dealing with the trauma of watching a loved one travel down the dark road of addiction. But this one was different. Several reasons contributed to this sense of newness. One was that our daughter had discovered Beit T’Shuvah on her own. After she arrived at their doorstep for help, she was welcomed in, and they nurtured and supported her through various “rough spots” along the way. Another reason was the feeling of spirituality that permeated the rooms, the sanctuary, and indeed, the entire atmosphere, despite the fact that the entire place was in the throes of a major remodeling project. For me, the spiritual feeling was palpable. The services we attended were wonderful, not only for those of us with a Jewish heritage, but also for anyone seeking meaning and connection to a higher power. Frankly, my husband and I both came away with a new hunger to reconnect to our Jewish roots, and we were thrilled to learn that the 12 Steps are truly a very “Jewish” process for recovery of any kind.

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Participants at our annual Family Weekend. February 2013.

 ur individual sessions with Harriet, as well as the family process O groups with Adam, served to remind us of our gratitude for what is good right now, even if that means only that our loved one is safe and sober for today. We also received clarity on how as a family we might proceed in the future. During the group sessions, we found comfort as we shared and heard from other parents who were dealing with the same issues that we had experienced. I realized, again, that none of us are alone, and that we all have difficulties to manage, whether or not we are struggling with a loved one’s addiction. Family week also served as a vehicle of communication with our daughter as the dynamics of changing family roles were brought to the forefront, and we could address and discuss these matters openly in a space of ease and comfort.

of trouble she or he has created in the past. His personal magnetism is contagious, and it is easy to see how he is able to reach so many with his message and teachings of Torah and recovery. He certainly touched our souls as we listened and watched him in action. If I lived in LA, I surely would look forward to attending any of the services he leads and the classes he teaches.

An additional highlight for us was when Harriet Rossetto read a portion of her new book, Sacred Housekeeping. As she conveyed numerous life lessons and pearls of wisdom to us, I was riveted. I knew I wanted a copy of that book immediately, and I have read it many times since. Sacred Housekeeping is a great backdrop for appreciating the workings of BTS, and how even someone like Harriet, who has accomplished so much, had plenty of her own difficulties to work through before she found her passion, spirituality, and redemption. Now that she has, she continues to help hundreds of others find theirs. I would recommend reading Sacred Housekeeping to anyone before, during, or after attending a Family Session at BTS, and even to anyone who is not able to attend a session. Harriet’s book is that good—both revealing and inspiring!

The bottom line for my husband and me is that we came away from Family Weekend with a greatly enhanced sense of hope for the future, not just for our daughter –which is truly a blessing, but also for all the others we saw at BTS, as well as for those we hope will find their way to Beit T’Shuvah in the days and months ahead. For anyone who has a loved one at BTS and who can manage the logistics to come for a Family Weekend, I strongly believe this will be time and resources well-spent.

To further enhance our experience, Rabbi Borovitz spoke to the entire group of attendees with his message of hope and redemption. He too, has written a book, The Holy Thief (which I just had to read after Harriet’s), which gives much encouragement that your loved one still has a chance to turn their life around, no matter what kind

As I remember the past and look forward to the future, gratitude fills my heart.

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During our visit, I found it interesting to observe what a large percentage of those on the BTS staff had walked the same bleak path as our daughter. Their presence, as well as Rabbi Borovitz’s experience, gives credence to the possibility of true redemption since so many of them were lost souls before taking that first step to knock on the door of BTS.

Finally, I must say “thank you” to all who worked so hard to make those sessions meaningful for our family—and for all the others who participated. As I reflect, even after several months, you gave us all a shining light that helps us navigate the future, which begins anew each day.

An Appreciative Mom

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SPOTLIGHT

21 and S ober

{ oh, to be young and sober }

By david gole

For young adults in our country, turning 21 is a huge milestone. At this age, one can finally partake in legal drinking and gambling. Now think back for a minute—what were your expectations for your 21st birthday? Chances are that it involved a lot of alcohol, your preferred gender of choice, and partying till the sun came up. Now ask yourself, did the day live up to the hype? I know my big day didn’t live up to those expectations. In fact it came without a drop of alcohol. After all, I am in sobriety. Even with all the skills I’ve learned at Beit T’Shuvah, my 21st birthday was one of the most difficult days I’ve had since getting sober. In the days before turning 21, I had just reached 14 months of sobriety. My program was not the best, but at the time I had found the perfect balance between work and play. I would go to two maybe three meetings a week and still be sober at the end of the week. Knowing that I am in recovery, I had planned to go to a club with some friends the night of my 21st. Although I did not have the desire to drink on my birthday, I had still built the occasion up in my head. That’s where I made a mistake. When the day finally came I woke up extra early and made myself presentable. I honestly thought I would walk out of my room to a crowd of my friends cheering me on saying “Happy Birthday” as I headed out the door on my way to work. I felt the adrenaline as I turned the knob on my door, feeling as if I was on my way to a new S E P T E M B E R 2 013

chapter in my journey. As the door opened, there was no crowd waiting for me. The only sound I heard was the squeaking of the door hinges. Still I walked downstairs and headed towards the kitchen hoping that someone would notice me and say “happy birthday.” As I walked through the halls of Beit T’Shuvah no one seemed to care. I’d get the half asleep stare from other residents with the occasional nonchalant “what’s up.” Well it’s not that no one knew, it’s more that no seemed to care about my 21st as much as I did. That was the pattern the entire day and I, being the self-centered brat that I can be sometimes, sunk into self-pity and depression. At the end of the day I found myself at a meeting, stuck in my misery and not sharing my emotions. I was disappointed and by then the only thing I wanted to do was go to a bar and get a drink instead of seek help from my sponsor. At the end of the meeting, I got in the car and started to drive until I got to a light. It was a literal crossroads. There were two options in my mind at the time; either go meet with my sponsor or go to Sunset and relapse. I sat for the duration of the light, contemplating what to do. When the light turned green, I believe I made the right decision. Five minutes later I was sitting with my sponsor talking about my feelings and getting through the day sober. No one likes feeling miserable on their birthday, but, looking back, it was an eyeopening experience. For the longest time I had been slacking on my program and knew

that I needed to be doing more to take care of myself. It’s the exact reason why Beit T’Shuvah preaches sacred living. When one takes care of himself physically, spiritually, and emotionally he tends to feel better about his life. Since that day, I’ve had to make adjustments to my routine in order to continue my sacred living. There were a lot of important things that I had been slacking on and the first thing I changed was the amount of meetings I go to. I started making at least one meeting a day with the occasional night meeting to fellowship and to strengthen my sober network. In the previous month I hadn’t moved forward at all in the 12step department. Since I have some lazy tendencies, I decided to quit procrastinating and get back into the work. Everything I have changed is personal maintenance and self care; keep my room clean, call my sponsor, stay in gratitude everyday, and express my emotions. Becoming 21 years old in recovery is a blessing and a curse. The curse comes from the expectations you build up in your head. When in sobriety, what you thought was going to be the best day of your life since you were in high school is nothing but another age, but it doesn’t have to be a day where you mourn not being able to fulfill your long time fantasy. Although the idea of having a legal drink for the first time sounds appealing, I had my share of parties and alcohol. Sure I had fun back then, but, bottom line, that lifestyle does not agree with me. I like my life today and I wouldn’t trade it in for anything.

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To get involved or become part of this years TeamBTS contact Stephanie Cullen at:

scullen@beittshuvah.org OR 310.204.5200 X212 Beit T’Shuvah

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The Art of

MAKING YOUR BED By Fanya Cohen

Beit T’Shuvah’s sacred philosophy & operations are rooted, nested, and nurtured in the mind of its founder, Harriet Rossetto. And it seems this philosophy is catching on. Harriet recently released her spiritual memoir “Sacred Housekeeping” and in only six months has been on two national book tours.


“Sacred Housekeeping has set a new standard for personal integrity and authenticity in the professional recovery literature.” -Garrett O’Connor, M. D. Medical Director The Elaine Breslow Institute S E P T E M B E R 2 013

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critically acclaimed, humorous, raw, and remarkably brave piece of work, Sacred Housekeeping has become a guide for how to live and reveals Beit T’Shuvah as the institution where people are welcome to seek meaning. This 140-page recount of both Harriet and Beit T’Shuvah’s stories has awakened the sense in people that there is no shame in imperfection… inspiring them to discuss their personal struggles as openly as they discuss their triumphs. Several readers whom have had no prior experience with Beit T’Shuvah have called Harriet simply to thank her for writing this book in which they are “finding themselves on every page.” Sacred Housekeeping is not a self-help book by any means. In fact, Harriet does not believe that there is a single precise recipe for life or a step-by-step process to alleviate the intrinsic struggle of the human condition. Harriet’s healing wisdom, based on her own life experience, is profoundly simple. She notes that all people are filled with both good and evil inclinations and both are Holy. Drawing upon that energy and taking the basic action of making her bed was the first statement she made to herself that she mattered. She points out that often times epiphanies are short lived and people are left with the same reality they started with. By reframing the so-called “mundane” actions of daily life as “Sacred Housekeeping,” Harriet was able to alleviate herself from the gnawing question of “Why bother?” Accepting and honoring herself was a gift of freedom to work for a higher calling, ultimately resulting in the lives of countless people being saved. So it is quite simple: everything boils down to maintenance. By revealing herself so candidly – her missteps, insecurities, joys, and successes, Harriet has built another house, much like Beit T’Shuvah. The door is universally open to anyone who wishes to read it.

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You will want to leave. You will want to use again, and you might. But if you don’t, one day you will start to feel better. Alive again, in fact.” Below is an excerpt from “Sacred Housekeeping” from the chapter...

THE FAIR IS IN POMONA Dear New Resident of Beit T’Shuvah: A bed opened up. You are male or female, young or old, rich or poor. But if you can’t pay, we won’t turn you away. Your parents or your spouse or your children or your friends might’ve dropped you off and left, in tears. This is your last chance they shout. They might mean it, maybe not. You will probably test it. But for now, you go to intake. You are angry. You are in trouble. You are in pain. You have no idea what’s happening. Life sucks. We suck. It sucks. It really sucks. All of it. When you come to my office to talk to me, to tell me your story (you have one, everyone who breaks apart does), I tell you it’s fucked. Just like that. I do it deliberately. I want to shock you so you’ll re-evaluate your perceptions. I’m an old lady and a CEO and I have done a thousand wilder, weirder things than you will ever

know. As has my husband The Rabbi, who will also at some point be screaming some version of you’re fucked, fuck you, you’re a fucking prick it’s fucked, they’re fucked, who the fuck…??? etc, etc…etc…In the future, that will probably make you smile. Not yet though. I get it. We get it. You’ll get that soon too. My qualification to be your life teacher is I have been where you are. I’ve seen it all. I know your torment, your war against yourself. I have battle-hardened experience and I still struggle every day. And I have learned how to live an integrated life. You will too. You are sure that whatever you’re addicted to is the only thing that will relieve the misery of your emptiness, the hole that aches. Without (fill in your own blanks) drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, food, money, power and prestige…there is no reason to get up in the morning. You will see eventually that the agenda is to hand you back your life and teach you how to be You, the authentic you, to stop comparing yourself to others and judging your worth comparatively and conditionally. I can help you find the ammunition to tame your self-defeating demons, your “What’s the point?” “Why bother?” “Fuck it!” voice that “crouches at your door.” I don’t give a shit about your tattoos, piercings, hair styles, costumes or kashrut. They are only props you used when your spirit was subdued. You don’t yet understand that rebellion is not freedom: you have merely conformed to different masters. We will bombard you with alternative highs and rushes—surfing, singing, drama, art, writing, cooking, joining the choir or band. You might run the marathon or play golf or do yoga. We will teach you how to have fun in sobriety—dancing, sports, concerts. We will allow you to have relationships and will be there every step of the way, so you can learn how to draw on the power of love to better regulate your own reactions and emotions. You will learn patience, acceptance and tolerance in relationship with another. You will have a daily and weekly schedule that is an integrative treatment model: Jewish wisdom and spirit, addiction counseling and 12 Step recovery, and therapy of one kind or another. Like every resident you will have a team—a counselor, vocational counselor, spiritual counselor and therapist. You will become part of the Beit T’Shuvah culture S E P T E M B E R 2 013


and learn that it’s an individual program too. What’s good for one may not be good for another. We strive to do as we say and to be transparent. Right is not determined by rank or identity by role. Each of us has a job to do but all souls are equal. We honor one another’s vulnerabilities and do not use them to manipulate or harm one another (most of the time) we strive to place principles before personalities and to Be the Change we want for you. Some days you will hate me. Us. Yourself. Everybody. You will want to leave. You will want to use again, and you might. But if you don’t, one day you will start to feel better. Alive again, in fact. Connection to this community will become a stronger connection than connection to your dope dealer. And ultimately we help you frame your life by connection to a Higher and Eternal truth that governs your choices and provides a road map for the journey. And then back to the things and people who are important to you. You will know that we care about helping you find the “Song of your Soul,” reviving your shrunken spirit, igniting your passion for life and discovering your life’s purpose. You will see that we mean it and believe it when we say that Judaism teaches that everyone has a place in the world, the world is incomplete without you: you matter, everyone matters. You will come to feel responsible to your unique place, and sense more of the obligation to “repair your corner of the world.” You will hear us say: Everyone has a purpose. It will take a while to believe it. You feel hopeless, lost, ashamed. You will feel you have fallen too far, failed too hard to ever come back, or have the right to ever be forgiven. And we will show you the divine workings of t’shuvah, of redemption and return. This mind-set of perfection is totally contrary to Jewish teaching. Judaism is a spirituality rooted in acceptance of human imperfection. We are imperfect by Divine design with both animal and Divine inclinations—neither good nor evil, but endowed with both free will and the power to harness the energy of evil and to choose good. We become good when we admit and take responsibility for our evil inclinations and take contrary action no matter what we feel! Judaism is a religion of deeds, not creeds; we are judged by our S E P T E M B E R 2 013

actions, not our intentions. Our traits all come from God and are not intrinsically good or evil. They are human, and our challenge as humans is to know ourselves and heal the parts (traits) that are out of proper measure. You will be exhausted that first week, but you will stand up at your first Shabbat services where you and the other new residents will be introduced by name, to take your place here, and be welcomed—and you will look out at the tribe welcoming you in. Now they are strangers. But soon they will be your community, and you will find the connection you crave. Hope will replace dope. Recovery is a very tough journey. It’s painful—physically, mentally, spiritually. It’s the darkest moments, the toughest demons, the most hopeless abject failures faced. The only requirement is that you stay on the journey. You will say: life isn’t fair, and then you die. And I will tell you I used to believe that too. But now, when I hear it (life, the pain, the process, the stuff, all of it…) isn’t fair, I say: “Fair? The fair is in Pomona.” So just hang on.

Amen.

“Harriet Rossetto spoke from the pulpit of my synagogue on a recent Shabbat morning, in lieu of the sermon.  Her presentation was personal, powerful, and engrossing, interspersed with humor and, always, astute insight into the challenges and possibilities of both physical and spiritual recovery from substance abuse.  What she had to say resonated deeply with all age cohorts of the synagogue, certainly with our parents and teens, and the feedback afterwards was overwhelmingly positive.  Her presence in our community over Shabbat was a blessing, in many ways…” -Rabbi Gerald Skolnik President, Rabbinical Assembly Forest Hills Jewish Center

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PRO GR A M NE WS

the soulsavers initiative

{ annual gift. lifelong miracle. } By Harriet Rossetto and Fanya Cohen

In order for Beit T’Shuvah to continue to provide new life-saving programs and maintain its mission of helping people without financial resources, we need to create opportunities for giving that are both inspirational and affordable. Three outstanding lay leaders, Janice Kamenir-Reznik, Nancy Dean and Pat Gage, and two outstanding Community Engagement staff, Nina Haller and Fanya Cohen, have helped to design the SoulSavers Initiative. The SoulSavers Initiative is an annual donation campaign that features various levels of giving. Its members are truly soul savers; they give every year to ensure the continued survival of Beit T’Shuvah’s residential program. The Initiative is divided into three different areas of giving; Sacred Scholarship, Launch a Life and Buy a Brick. Donating to any one of these unique campaigns makes a tremendous impact in the lives of the broken souls who come to Beit T’Shuvah. By becoming a member of the SoulSavers Initiative, you are doing just that… Saving Souls. Sacred Scholarship supports incoming residents on their journey through early recovery. By donating to this campaign, members are sponsoring a resident for a choice of 30, 60, or 90 days of treatment. The purpose of the Sacred Scholarship is not only to donate to a remarkable cause, but also to demonstrate to people in early recovery what is at the crux of Beit T’Shuvah’s philosophy—“You Matter.” These three women understand that recovery is a rocky path and should not be trudged alone. This campaign is an effort to help sustain the cost of treatment required for each resident to achieve enduring sobriety. 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

Launch a Life supports a more seasoned resident in their transition from being newly sober to a functioning member of society. With an annual donation, you are contributing to the Beit T’Shuvah Internship Program, helping residents to learn professional skills that can be utilized upon reentering the workforce or, for many residents, joining it for the first time. Meaningful work is an important part of the recovery process; in fact people in sobriety are more likely to succeed when they have a part or full-time job that gives them a sense of purpose and passion for living. Launch a Life helps to bridge the gap between getting sober and sustaining an independent life. This campaign helps continue the work of the Susan and Leonard Nimoy Career Center. The most introductory tier is designed specially with Beit T’Shuvah residents, staff, and alumni in mind. The Buy a Brick campaign is tied to the reconstruction of Shirley’s Patio, the beloved hub of resident congregation. Annual giving to this campaign entitles the donor to their own brick laid in the new Shirley’s Patio, inscribed with their desired name. In this way, staff, alumni, and residents can literally be a brick in the foundation of the organization that continues to change lives. These 3 campaigns, with contributions as affordable as $18.00 per month, invite everyone who has benefitted from Beit T’Shuvah or respects its Soul-Saving work to become stakeholders in its sustainability. To learn more about joining the SoulSavers Initiative, please contact the Community Engagement Office at 310-204-5200 x204

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SPOTLIGHT

giving doesn’t retire

{ warren breslow } By j osh silver

There are many ways to describe Warren Breslow—father, husband, businessman, philanthropist. Yet whatever title you use for him, there is always a single, common thread: he is a man of great kindness and intelligence. Even if you’ve never met Warren Breslow, you’ve undoubtedly felt the gifts of his generosity. As both a donor and a leader in our community, he has been intimately involved with the expansion and support of Beit T’Shuvah for over 20 years. “Beit T’Shuvah is my legacy,” he says. “In life, nobody’s going to care if I was successful in business. What matters is what you do for others.” Born and raised in New York City, Warren came to California after graduating from the Bernard Baruch School of Business Administration in 1965. As a Certified Public Accountant, he quickly became successful in his field but has always had the need to help others and give back to the world. His association with the BTS community began in 1989. Upon reflecting back on his years of service to Beit T’Shuvah, Warren speaks with a humbled reverence about the progress it has made. “It’s quite incredible how Beit T’Shuvah keeps growing and reaching farther,” he says. And of course, Mr. Breslow played no small part in that growth. He was one of the main people responsible for Beit T’Shuvah’s move from the Lake Street house to our current location on Venice Boulevard, as well as one of the driving forces behind Beit T’Shuvah’s acquisition of the new property next door that is to become the much anticipated ‘Institute.’Of course, all those years ago, Warren and his wife Elaine, of blessed memory, were simply looking for a place to do some good. Their son Corey had struggled with addiction and after they heard about the unique spiritual program that Beit T’Shuvah could offer, they both set out to make a difference in any way that they could. Elaine began working as a mentor, counselor, and group leader to the residents, while Warren became the Founding Chairman of the Beit T’Shuvah Board of Directors, a position he held for the next twelve years. Through his work in forming the Board and his leadership through the years, Beit T’Shuvah has been able to expand into the vibrant and multifaceted organization that it is today. Sadly, in October of 2011 Elaine passed away. Although she is still greatly missed in our community, it is comforting to know that her legacy will live on. Beit T’Shuvah is currently hard at work developing a new program called The Elaine Breslow Institute. “Elaine would be delighted with the progress Beit T’Shuvah is making,” says Warren. He hopes this new program will be “an outreach to help people before they know they need help.” Today Warren is a lifetime member of the Board of Directors and remains consistently active within the Beit T’Shuvah community. He has supported numerous charities and non-profit organizations over the years including the Jewish Home for the Aging, Skirball Cultural Center, Stephen S. Wise Temple, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. However, Warren makes it clear that his S E P T E M B E R 2 013

heart lies with Beit T’Shuvah. For him, addiction is a family issue that affected not only his wife but also his son and daughter-in-law. “The most powerful experience I have is watching people whose lives have been changed,” says Warren. “It’s been very rewarding.” Warren also realizes that to truly affect change in the world, you have to do more than just provide funding. “The time I’ve spent is more important than the money,” he says.

“It’s easy to write a check, it takes a minute and a half. It’s the personal involvement that makes the difference.” That level of hands-on interaction has increased since late July when Mr. Breslow retired from his position as CEO of G&K Industries. When asked how his retirement will effect the time he donates to BTS, Warren humbly replies, “I hope it will give me the opportunity to put in more time at Beit T’Shuvah.” With a witty smile, he adds, “I know it’s a plus for me. I hope it’s a plus for Beit T’Shuvah.” It should be obvious to anyone that has ever met Warren; his continued guidance will not only be a plus for Beit T’Shuvah, it will help guide us into a new and ever-expanding realm of T’Shuvah and spirituality. 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 1


PRO GR A M news

T HE ‘ I SH’ connection

{ WHY & HOW I CA ME TO WORK AT BEIT T’SHUVAH } By dr. GARRE T T O ’CO NN OR

The Institute will offer innovative Immersion Training in Addiction Recognition and Management to physicians, clergy, medical students, pharmacists, law enforcement personnel and other First Responders in the field of addiction. In addition, the Institute will build on the excellent and substantial Youth and Family Service Prevention Programs already established at Beit T’Shuvah under the leadership of Doug Rosen and Adam Mindel. Pioneering outreach programs such as “Help for Families on the Brink” will also be developed. Looking back on my first four months in harness at Beit T’Shuvah, I have come to believe that this is no ordinary Treatment Center. To my astonishment, and in contrast to some other centers I have known where shameless self-interest and management duplicity pollutes the therapeutic air and demoralizes staff, Beit T’Shuvah appears to be a caring organization that values – and actually tries to practice as best it can – the recovery principles of honesty, transparency, responsibility and accountability in all its affairs, and at every level of management. This level of aspiration is also expected from the addicted residents as soon as they are well enough along in their recovery to master these alien and unfamiliar ideas! What a concept!

I

left the Betty Ford Center in January 2012, after six years as Chief Psychiatrist, and three years as President of the Betty Ford Institute. My intention was to spend a year writing, teaching and conducting workshops on addiction in the US and abroad, with the firm belief that this routine would be my pattern of work for the rest of my life. Not so! In February 2013 I accepted an invitation from Harriet Rossetto, CEO, and Rabbi Mark Borovitz, Spiritual Leader of Beit T’Shuvah, to take a part-time position as Director of the newly established Elaine Breslow Institute for Purposeful Living. The mission of the Institute is to educate addiction professionals and others about the spirituality-based Integrative Treatment Approach developed over 26 years at Beit T’Shuvah that has proved to be highly effective for restoring severely ill and even utterly hopeless alcoholics and addicts to purposeful and productive lifestyles. The Institute will also provide education and training about how to heal and mend individuals and families that have been broken by causes other than addiction, but who are in desperate need of empathetic spiritual and psychological care.

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At this stage, I have come to believe that my ending up at Beit T’Shuvah was no coincidence! This is not just an exciting job opportunity, it is also a spiritual calling! After a Catholic education by the Jesuits in Ireland followed by 36 years in Alcoholics Anonymous, both of which organizations emphasize spirituality and service to others, I now understand that the precepts of Relevant Judaism provide an excellent vehicle for understanding and implementing addiction treatment and recovery. And because I feel so much “at home” as a member of the Beit T’Shuvah spiritual community, I am forced to conclude that the similarities between Irish Catholics and Jews far outweigh the historical, cultural and religious differences that have traditionally kept our two groups at arms length from each other. Same Bible (more or less); centuries of death-dealing persecution and suffering (Jews 3000+ years, Irish Catholics 400 years); sardonic, selfdeprecating humor; profound cultural sorrow; world-wide diasporas of unprecedented magnitude and influence; extraordinary survivor courage and resilience that has enabled the Jews and the Irish (both Catholic and Protestant) to be, by far, the most successful immigrant groups to North America. I left Ireland in 1960 at the age of 23, intending to return there after I had completed my psychiatric training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. But I didn’t return, and now, here I am in Los Angeles, a survivor myself, 9000 miles and eight time zones away from Ireland, feeling very grateful to have found a spiritual and professional home away from home at Beit T’Shuvah, The House of Return. What more could a body want? S E P T E M B E R 2 013


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n A s Lo s e l ge e h t o t a Am . . . n zo and ck by YESHAIA Blakeney

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Yeshaia and his friend listening to the Maestro play his flute.

Yeshaia at the local market with Rosita Bonita a Maestra of the Shipibo Tribe and the “clerk.”

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or years I have been threatening to jump on a plane, fly to Peru and travel through the jungle. Two weeks ago I jumped on a plane and entered the jungle. I have always felt called to experience a tribal way of living. I did much research and learned about the Shipibo tribe. The Shipibos have been around for centuries (and their ancestors the Incas, millennia), have a strong, spiritual Shamanic culture and deep relationship with nature. One of the amazing privileges in the age that we live is the amount of access we have. Within twelve hours of leaving Los Angeles I was a Westerner in the jungles of Peru eating river fish and smoking Mopacho (don’t worry it’s just the local fresh tobacco, a habit that started and stopped in the jungle!). The daily routine in Peru consisted of working with different plant remedies, hiking, praying, meditating, learning and sitting around talking and reading in hammocks. There was no running water, and no electricity. We took cold bucket showers (surprisingly refreshing), and had to hike miles to make a phone call (in my case to my seven months pregnant, generous, patient and loving wife). The core of the trip and my motivation for going was to break the continuity of how I see and experience the world, or simply put, to try on a new pair of glasses. I always say, “there is a good chance you only live once, you should LIVE!”

For me there are two primary currencies in life, Love and Experiences; this trip was full of both. The Shipibo tribe live in two worlds: They live in modern Westernized Peru and they live in the Jungle. They straddle these two worlds gracefully, almost amphibian like. The Shipibo people I encountered live in a spiritual world where anything is possible and everything is alive—countless Gods, countless beings in an interconnected, pulsating infinite universe. Their religious rituals center around spiritual teachers whom we call Shamans, but they refer to as Maestros or Maestras. Maestros/Maestras are healers and usually come from a family of healers who have been practicing shamanism for hundreds, if not thousands of years. They start learning at around age nine, and they work primarily with different plants. Working S E P T E M B E R 2 013

with a plant is known as dieting, and Shamans go into isolation for weeks, months and even years dieting different plants and acquiring their healing properties and forming deep relationships with different plants. Forming a deep relationship with a plant from our POV seems strange, or at best, boring, however that’s because we don’t experience the plant world like the Shipibos. The Shamans transmit the healing properties of the plant to people in need of healing in the form of song. The songs are called Icaros. The words and the melodies are taught to the Shamans by the plants (I know plants wouldn’t be so boring if they taught you how to sing!) and each Icaro, like each plant, is unique. This often happens in what we would call a ceremony under the influence of an infamous brew called Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is an admixture of two plants, the Ayahuasca vine mixed with a plant the locals called Chacrunna. These two plants, in combination, bring on a trance state that the Shaman enters (and sometimes the patient) to facilitate the healing which is happening in the realm of Spirit energies. Ayahuasca has gained notoriety due to some western psychiatrists and addiction specialists attempting to use it to help facilitate recovery. A topic for another day. For me this trip gave me so much insight into the two worlds I straddle. The addiction world, and the world of Rabbinics. Rabbis, like Shamans are spiritual teachers, and if you believe the stories of our tradition, have (or had) access to the realm of spirit, there are stories of the rabbis traveling to heaven and consulting with angels. It’s funny, growing up I came in contact with many rabbis, the first and only I would describe as a healer though, is Rabbi Mark. The Shipibo use plants to heal and to grow, addicts do the same thing. Unfortunately in our culture the context in which we use drugs is often shallow and recreational, and without the help of guides and tradition, often results in spiritual disaster. One of my goals and intentions in life as a Rabbi is to connect with God and spirit and help facilitate the awakening of love and God consciousness inside all of us. In our Kabbalistic tradition we are all here for Tikkun Olam, the healing or making whole of the world. In Shamanic culture that healing comes through nature and is transmitted in the form of song. I cannot wait to share with my Beit T’Shuvah family the Music and Magic of Peru, which left a God shaped imprint on my soul. 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


few months ago, the Beit T’Shuvah resident hub disappeared; our beloved Shirley’s Patio was torn down. This cozy patio area was constantly bustling, a relaxed social environment where people sipped on their coffee and puffed on their cigarettes. If you were lucky enough to get a coveted seat in a patio chair you hesitated to give it up for any—I mean any—reason. Shirley’s was the place to see and be seen, and let’s face it, it set up more folks than JDate. After months of withdrawal from our beloved patio, Beit T’Shuvah, in a sense, has been in turmoil. With no direct access between the main building and the women’s/ sober living side, counselor’s and residents are constantly “shvitzing” as they “shlep” around the block, and have relegated the garage as the new “spot.”


But as with all great sacrifice, there comes great reward. Beit T’Shuvah knows that the reason we have learned to live without our patio is to make way for the muchanticipated new building and redesigned Shirley’s Patio that will soon take its place.

While chaos has ensued, adapting to a new routine for the betterment of our community is a key component of sacred living. Most of our residents understand the struggles that come from taking the hard way, from sacrificing what is more comfortable in the present for the hope of a better future. Addiction involves vulnerably embarking on the road to recovery; one of the scariest, most painful, and physically debilitating times most people will ever experience. But if you’ve spoken with anyone in our program, they will tell you about the life-changing, spiritually transformative gifts of sobriety that they reap, and the new building will only allow these gifts to keep on giving. Sacred living involves tending to your area of the garden, consistently making steps to improve not just your life, but also the lives of those around you. This is precisely the aim of Beit T’Shuvah’s construction project. It’s not just a beautification project; it’s a lifestyle change for the community. The new building will provide ample space with a sanctuary bearing 20-foot high ceilings that will house up to 750 guests for Shabbat services. The new 7,500 sq. foot building will also allow functional space for groups, counseling sessions, and therapy. The innovative architecture will fuse both buildings into a unified space and will create an inspiring structure that can contain the inspirational growth that Beit T’Shuvah will continue to promote within its newly designed walls. Finally, the beauty of our community will be seen, not just felt. Our exterior will match our interior, which perfectly reflects Beit T’Shuvah’s main philosophy of transparency. The incredible hurdles that Rabbi Mark, Harriet and the Board have overcome in this construction speak to the extreme importance of this new building. Providing a space large enough to hold all the people who want to be a part of this community will allow Beit T’Shuvah to keep doing what it’s doing: changing lives. One instrumental member in the Beit T’Shuvah expansion is Ed Praver. He was first introduced to our community in

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1999 and since then, he passionately explains, he became “addicted.” He helped form the Board of Directors and because of his impressive background, he was asked to chair the House Committee, which involves maintaining new and old buildings, and has co-chaired the Real Estate Committee on this new project. Beit T’Shuvah has been looking to expand for many years as countless people continue to want to be a part of the vivacious and intoxicating pulse of our Shabbat Services and a community determined to build healthy, sober lives. The idea for the expansion stemmed from our need for more space and it was “a part of our natural growth,” says Ed. The project required a lot of fundraising and the community stepped up and supported the cause. One of the biggest challenges Ed and the Board had to overcome was acquiring the land for the new building, which at the time, was occupied by retail shops. What many people might not realize is the ferocious motivation of the Board to exhaust all possible efforts in order to gather together enough funds and cut through plenty of red tape. Another vital aspect was the innovative imagination that the members of Beit T’Shuvah’s Board brought together; to see how the new building could be converted into a complete facility by studying the various needs for all the different departments. “We had to foresee how it would satisfy our needs— from a theological, spiritual, and educational standpoint, and how we could ensure that all our different offices would have a space,” Ed described. This undertaking is extraordinarily important and meaningful for Ed. He and his wife Joan “get so much back, seeing the development of so many people with various types of dependencies—seeing them heal and prosper within the community into contributing citizens,” says Ed. This is precisely what the new building will allow Beit T’Shuvah to keep on doing. Striving for what might seem the impossible, the dedication, support, and imagination of so many generous people like Ed is what allows Beit T’Shuvah to survive and help lost souls rediscover their special place in the world. It is therefore fitting that Beit T’Shuvah itself continues to find and expand its own unique space. The endeavors Ed, Rabbi Mark, Harriet and other members of our Board had to embark on to make this dream a reality perfectly resemble Beit T’Shuvah’s philosophy. If you bring your best foot forward, if you come from a place of goodness, purity, and love for others, amazing things will happen. And amazing things are happening! This October, Beit T’Shuvah will finally have a home large enough to house all who desire to be part of our community; who want to inspire and change the foundation of the way people live, to impact our core being, so we can all live lives worth living. Although the current under-construction conditions of our home may be a bit frustrating at times, our community will continue to adapt, because not only is it a lesson in itself to push through uncomfortable struggles, but the end result will be that much more fulfilling. Beit T’Shuvah is an incredibly unique place that is filled with encouraging people who just want everyone they come across to succeed; to be the best possible person they can be, and to continue to do acts of sacred living that foster a world beaming with care, love, and spiritual growth.

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The Gala

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This year we celebrated our 21st Annual Steps to Recovery Gala. Our largest fundraiser of the year brought in an astonishing $2 million. Thanks to the evening’s success, we can continue saving the lives of countless people.

Annette Shapiro, Board President & Warren Breslow, Board Chair Emeritus

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e Avi n, Honore o ts e d n e rn B i Russell Ke oree Heid e n re o o H n , o g H in h ean & Gloria Lus Lushing D y c n a Co-Chair N ir a l, Co-Ch Reichenta S E P T E M B E R 2 013


Israeli Consul-General David Siegel with Harriet & Rabbi Mark Rabbi Mark & Harriet

ey

Shy Blaken Cantor Rachel Goldman

with ssell Kern u R e re o n Ho eryl Zinn FiancĂŠ M

Board Chairman Bill Resnick

Honoree Avi Reichental with his wife Dorit & their two children, Adam & Alyssa S E P T E M B E R 2 013

Sam Delug &

Friend

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Inga Roizman, Jaclin Miller, Stephanie Lag er & Michelle Z iman ir under the The BTS Cho ish of Laura Bag

direction

Fanya Cohen & John Sullivan

Aryeh & Zeecy Shuler

Russell Harrison & Jamie Mackta

Co-Chair Gloria Lushing & Dr. Arnie Gilberg

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Joan & Ed Praver S E P T E M B E R 2 013


Mitch Gordon, Bruce Bryant (z’l), Jon Titcher & Mickey Baer

Lise & Rob App

lebaum

abler & Danny G e Ali Ditlov

David & Anne Ruderman Ahavia Scheindlin & Lon Levin

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endetson Honoree Heidi B Bob with her husband

David & Terri Elston

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MAGAZINE

VOLUME 3 NUMBER 2

MAGAZINE

VOLUME 3 NUMBER 2

the

ED R C SA VING LI SSUE The ArI t of Your B e

The Kid Whisperer D OUG ROSEN AND THE PARTNERS IN PREVENTION PRO GR A M p g20

H A RRIETS

The Art of Making Your Bed HARRIETS BOOK

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T he K id

{ INSIDE

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NEW BOA RD M EM BE LA MA RS L A RATH O TO A M N PL A ZO N A N NED TR IP EV G IV IN EN T PH G DO N O R SP OTO S OTL IG HT

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Sacred Living is a very personal concept, subject to personal interpretation. For this edition of the magazine, we opened up the cover art to the community, inviting residents and staff alike to submit their artistic interpretation of what Sacred Living means to them. The submissions were all too good not to share, so we decided we had to. Enjoy!

MAGAZINE

VOLUME 3 NUMBER 2

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SACRED LI V ING I SSU E

SACRED L I V IN G I SSU E

The Art of Making Your Bed

ARTIST KEY

The Kid Whisperer

An excerp t from Harrie t’s bo ok and a rec ap of her recent promotional bo ok tour. p g16

D OUG ROSEN AND THE PARTNERS IN PREVENTION PRO GR A M p g20

From Los Angeles to the Amazon & Back

The Art of Making Your Bed

Stories from Yeshaia’s life-changing j ourney to the A mazon. p g24

HARRIETS BOOK

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{ INSIDE } •NEW BOARD MEMBERS •SOULSAVERS INITIATIVE •FA MILY WEEKEND •GAL A PHOTOS •WELCOME DR. O ’CONNOR

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1. Zach Fetters 2. John Sullivan 3. Alexander Macht 4. Alexander Macht 5. Lon Levin 6. John Sullivan 7. Lacy Weitz 8. Kendl Ferencz


MAGAZINE

VOLUME 3 NUMBER 2

MAGAZINE

VOLUME 3 NUMBER 2

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SACRED LI V IN G I SSU E

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SACRED L I V ING I SSU E

The Kid Whisperer D OUG ROSEN AND THE PARTNERS IN PREVENTION PRO GR A M p g20

The Art of Making Your Bed HARRIETS BOOK

p g15

The Art of Making Your Bed HARRIETS BOOK

p g15

{ INSIDE } NEW BOARD MEMBERS

L A TO

AM AZON TRIP EVENT PHOTOS L A MARATHON

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GIVING DONOR SPOTLIGHT

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MAGAZINE

VOLUME 3 NUMBER 2

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SACRED L I V IN G I SSU E

The Art of Making Your Bed HARRIETS BOOK

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MAGAZINE

VOLUME 3 NUMBER 2

t he

SACRED L I V ING I SSU E

{ INSIDE } NEW BOARD MEMBERS

The Art of Making Your Bed

L A TO

AM AZON TRIP EVENT PHOTOS L A MARATHON

PL ANNED

HARRIETS BOOK

GIVING DONOR SPOTLIGHT

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p g15

{ INSIDE } NEW BOARD MEMBERS

L A TO

AM AZON TRIP EVENT PHOTOS L A MARATHON

PL ANNED

GIVING DONOR SPOTLIGHT

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THE

N E S ns O e e t e R r dp n a G s n e U te g n i p l DO s, e y h o s i b / e s h l w gir Ho

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l o o h c s of d l r o w he t e t a g i nav y. l i m a f nd a s g u r d

. L y n n h By Jo en s o R a i Av y B s o t Pho

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E

veryone in life has a person that they look to for both guidance and comfort. Most people would say that it is a member of their family; their father, their mother, or a sibling. Some might even say it is their close friends. However, to me that person is Douglas Rosen. Doug is neither my family nor one of my close friends from school; Doug is my mentor, my life coach, my therapist, and one of my best friends. Now you guys might be wondering what exactly does this Doug do. Well anytime that I have an issue with school, girls, drugs, or family he is the first person I go to talk to. He is someone that I can fully trust with anything I say and I know that no matter what he says, no matter how offensive, he only says it to help benefit me. But don’t get Doug confused with a normal therapist. He is probably the most unconventional “therapist” I have ever met. Instead of going to a boring office and sitting in the boring room and talking about different events in ones life in a boring way he will pick you up, ask where you would like to go eat, and talk to you the whole time about anything. It doesn’t have to be a problem or something that you want advice about. It could simply be a conversation on sports or what new movies are coming out. This is the main quality that separates Doug from anyone else. His goal at first is not to help you but to make you feel comfortable around him so when the time does arise there is full trust between both him and me.

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“He is probably the most unconventional ‘therapist’ I have ever met.” Now before I share with you my first experience with Doug I would like to say that he had a very hard past before he had turned out to become who he is. When Doug was younger, his parents went through a similar divorce as me. However, his way of coping with it was with drugs. He had become a heroin addict as his way to cope with his feelings of his parents divorce. After a few years he finally checked into a rehab center where he met his future wife, Avia. A few years later Doug began to work for the rehab center that he was admitted to as well as being his own version of the DARE program and going to schools, including my middle school, to share his experience with others. I will never forget the first time I met Doug and the first time that I had met with Doug. When I was in 8th grade I was at one of my best friends house with a few other friends and I saw this strange man walk into the house as if he was part of the family, but I had never seen nor met him before. He walked in and began talking to all us as if he’d known us for years. After he had left I asked my friend’s mom who that was. She responded by saying his name is Doug and he is here to help my son out with any problems that he may have. Now at this point my parents had been divorced for 8 years and I had been going through a lot with them. My parents were constantly fighting with each other and

putting me in the middle to deliver messages from one parent to the other. I had thought, “Wow he could probably help me with my problems as well.” The next day I went to my mom and I demanded that I see Doug and she thankfully listened to me. About a week later my mom told me that Doug would be picking me up from school and I was going to meet with him, I had never been more nervous in my life. I was about to get in a car with a man I had barely met and discuss problems in my life that I had never shared with anyone. But that’s not what happened. As soon I got in his car he looked at me and said do you know what I do. And I responded no. He then said I am here to help you with anything you may need whether its advice or just someone to talk to. The rest of the car ride was still a little awkward for me but as the day continued I realized he wasn’t trying to get information out of me but instead he was simply trying to be my friend and nothing more. He was waiting till I felt 100% comfortable around him. He succeeded. As the years went on I became very close with Doug and he came to be one of my best friends. I was at his wedding, I was there when both of his kids were born, and I’ve been to his house to simply play with and sometimes shortly babysit his two adorable kids, Jack and Teddy. By the end of high school Doug had known more about my life than anyone else; more than my mom, more than my dad, more than my sister, and more than my best friends. He had succeeded in helping with my parents divorce, he had succeeded in helping to bring me and my sister closer together, and most of all he had succeeded in making me into the person I am today. If it were not for Doug I truly don’t know how I would have turned out as a person. Doug is a man that I aspire to be. He has a beautiful, amazing, and strong wife who I have also gotten the pleasure to know, he has two fantastic kids, but most of all he makes a difference in people’s lives one at a time. It is because of Doug that I want to become a child psychologist when I am older so that hopefully I can have the same effect on people’s lives that he had. Thank you. S E P T E M B E R 2 013


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CIRCLE OF MAJESTY LUNCHEON

PHOTOS BY LAUREL JOHNSON

Jackie Banchik & Mimi Feldman Lexy Nolte, Fanya Cohen, Ali Ditlove, Barbara Friedman, Jenn Gerber, & Stephanie Cullen

Annette Shapiro

Nancy Lushing Dean & Fanny Esformes Cantor Rachel Goldman

Michael Soter

Co-Chairs: Dina Leeds, Nancy Mishkin, Harriet Rossetto, Lois Bloom, Ronnie Stabler, & Annette Shapiro (Not Pictured)

Carlton Knight, Thrift Store Manager


Sandy Smalley, Cantor Shira Fox & Sam Delug

James Fuchs & Aaron Delug

Harriet Rossetto

Joan Praver

The Circle of Majesty Society 6th Annual Luncheon

Gayle Weiss, Laurie Harbert & Lois Bloom

The Circle of Majesty Society is a group of remarkable women who come together in support of Beit T’Shuvah. This past annual luncheon celebrated 6 years of their dedication at the beautiful Beverly Hills home of Sam Delug. Over 85 members enjoyed delicious food from Food by Lene, Marcia and Mo jewelry, and great camaraderie. BTS Alumni Michael Soter boldly shared his story – from heroin addict to BTS Prevention employee and now law school student. One highlight was Harriet’s reading from her book “Sacred Housekeeping – A Spiritual Memoir”. Just back from an East Coast publicity tour, Harriet riveted the group with her personal story. Co-Chairs Dina Leeds, Lois Bloom, Nancy Mishkin, Harriet Rossetto, Annette Shapiro and Ronnie Stabler designed this program for a select group of women who exemplify the quality of “majesty.” To them, ‘majesty’ is not just an adjective- it’s an honorable way of living; a quality that comes from the soul.


SP OTLIG H T

the beit t ’shuvah pulse

{ from california to minnesota } By stephanie lager

the table she asked if they would need wine glasses. Shirley explained that it was not appropriate for this group because they are in recovery. Amazingly, the waitress was in recovery herself and was overwhelmed with excitement because she read about Freedom Song in the newspaper and had tickets to see it with her mother the next day. “It was such an incredible moment to witness,” Shirley describes. “She was so appreciative, she felt like it was an honor to serve our group.”

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hirley Zipkin is not just a generous member of the Beit T’Shuvah community; she is a pioneer. Unafraid of geographic boundaries, Shirley managed to transport Beit T’Shuvah’s magic all the way to Minnesota. Our band’s uplifting music, Cantor Rachel’s mesmerizing voice, Rabbi Mark’s moving words and a Freedom Song performance spiritually transformed and unified souls. Shirley was propelled to bring Beit T’Shuvah to her community and unsurprisingly, the Shabbat service and Freedom Song performance impacted her Minnesota synagogue on a new spiritual level. With over 1200 people in attendance, the Freedom Song event had so much support that some people even had to be turned away! Describing the Shabbat Service, Rabbi Mark explains, “The synagogue became alive.” The event motivated local people to discuss their own recovery, some with 25-30 years sober. The whole journey began during a Shabbat Service at Beit T’Shuvah when Shirley first heard about Freedom Song and immediately knew she had to see it. The compelling musical “blew my mind,” says Shirley. She turned to her husband Larry and said, “We have to bring it to Minneapolis.” “How are you going to do it?” Larry asked uncertainly.  She replied without hesitation, “We’ll just do it.” “And,” she said, “We did—it was a huge success.” Shirley worked tirelessly to inform all her friends and inspire the various Jewish organizations in Minnesota to get on board. They cautioned her, “You’ll be lucky if you get 250 people to come. We’ve seen this kind of thing attempted before.” However, Shirley was undetered. Utilizing all her connections, Shirley pushed the local newspaper to write an article about the event. The night before the big performance of Freedom Song, the Zipkins took the group of Beit T’Shuvites to a restaurant. As the server set

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In October Rabbi Mark, Harriet, James Fuchs, and Cantor Rachel brought the BTS Shabbat Service to the Zipkins’ Conservative Synagogue in Minnesota. Cantor Rachel described the experience as a kind of culture shock at first, since people were not sure how to act. During our traditional moment of “T’Shuvah,” where people pass the microphone and make an amends or give gratitude, people did not immediately know what to say. But then something amazing happened. “People really started opening up,” says Cantor Rachel, “speaking about their alcoholic son or their own disease and that they were grateful to find a place where they could be open.” Rabbi Mark did not fail to make the energy in the room soar to new heights. During “Le Ha Do Di” Rabbi Mark started dancing in the rows and encouraged people to join in. By the end, the whole group was on their feet, singing and dancing their hearts out. The spirit of Beit T’Shuvah’s Shabbat Service is something that cannot be contained or defined—it is something felt and for that reason it can be transmitted anywhere. Cantor Rachel described the event as an empowering experience, “We took something 100% BTS and brought it to a group of people that had no exposure to our community, and we were able to create the same energy in a completely different space.” Shirley hired a local gospel singer who sang, “May the Words,” which was such an awe-inspiring performance, “I have goose bumps just thinking about it,” Shirley recounted. Bringing Beit T’Shuvah all the way to Minnesota was not an easy task, but the hoops Shirley had to jump through were minor obstacles in light of the over-pouring of community excitement that ensued. While she hasn’t battled addiction herself, Shirley understands the importance of sharing personal experiences of addiction, of illuminating the fact that addiction does not have to be a secret and that it affects many more lives than one would expect. Addiction is about getting stuck in destructive behaviors, and through bringing a conscious awareness of this disease, and engaging in conversations about the importance of spiritual transformation, we can all live better lives. Shirley’s goal is to continue this consciousness, and to bring the community vibe of Jewish spirituality to Minnesota. Her efforts have brought us one step closer to unifying Jews, and those seeking a better life, into one big family.

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SPOTLIGHT

D ear harriet

{ gratitude for healing a broken soul }

a letter from wendy

Dear Harriet,

Dear God,

This is how my story began. For me, Harriet, and therefore Beit T’Shuvah gave me my opportunity. It came to me in that order. God helped me to get to Harriet directly and therefore my journey began. I know I was one of the very fortunate souls to have that direct tie with Harriet right off the bat. My 45-minute meeting with you changed and therefore saved my life. It was how you spoke to me, it was what you said. You might not have realized at the time the impact you were having on me but, I most certainly did. You represented to me the divine one, my higher power and through your words gave me the desire, strength, courage and hope that I could make my life right by making me right.

stir my heart with the spirit of joy. Imbue my arms and my legs with that spirit; for my arms are encumbered and my legs have become heavy with my wrongdoings, Fill me, my God, with the cleansing spirit of holy joy. Enliven all my limbs. Help me lift my feet and dance, dance, dance.

Although I know how very busy you are and therefore you do not have the luxury of giving each and every new comer that one-one-one experience I feel there must be a way for you to on a personal level touch each and everyone. Yes, I was ready to get sober and regain my life but you cannot underestimate the power of our meeting. When you spoke of community, congregation, spiritual advisors and self loathing I became curious, excited and skeptical. When you spoke of Saturday service and the Jewish folk music all I could think was she must be crazy, “is this really what my life has become?” Today, community is a huge part of my life, of my vernacular. Today, those Saturday morning services that I thought sounded crazy is the place, every Saturday where I sing, dance am filled with spirituality, love and yes, community. My prayer for our Torah Service and to my therapist Alicia and Spiritual advisor, Rabbi Shira:

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The Gentle Weapon Rebbe Nachman of Breslov Through Rabbi Shira and her sharing of the Gentle Weapon I found this prayer very early on and it has helped to guide me and bring me to that person who feels the music again and whose limbs have lost their heaviness and become light with me. Wow, right. This is where Rabbi Mark, Beit T’ Shuvah, Rabbi Shira, Alicia and you, Harriet, have helped me to get. What a great story I now have. What a gift I have received. I was completely BROKEN when I got here as you well know so... how can we help every broken soul who enters the doors of Beit T’ Shuvah get here? With Gratitude, Wendy 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 1


HOTEL KOTEL: A YEAR IN JERUSALEM BY RON GOLDBERG

Rabbinic School is filled with tests and challenges. Let’s be honest, the first two years are a grind, with classes loaded with technical data and detail. There were two saving graces of those early years. The first was starting as a Spiritual Counselor at Beit T’Shuvah and entering the BTS community. Part of that was having the best Rabbinic Internship ever, that of being Spiritual Counselor to the Surf Therapy program. Not that anyone will mistake what I do on the waves for surfing. The other thing to look forward to is that my Israel Year was fast coming up. We conduct a year of study in Jerusalem. What a dream to study Torah and learn and live as a resident in Jerusalem. For me, there were a number challenges involved in this year of study. The biggest one was that while I would be in Jerusalem, my wife would be back in Los Angeles. Our original plan was for both of us to go and my wife, an Israeli citizen, could work as a Nurse there, where she did her original nursing training. But reality set in and we would be apart for the year. We knew it was coming, but it was still hard to deal with.


“PART OF SACRED LIVING IS FACING YOUR FEARS”

My Jerusalem year was alot of things but never dull. I acquired a roommate, learned where the buses ran and got an Israeli Bus-Pass, discovered how to do grocery shopping in Hebrew and how to wash the floor with a “gummie.” My year-long research project of where to find the best kubbeh soup in Jerusalem and who made the best shwarma sandwiches did not come to a defined conclusion, further research is required and I look forward to it. I came to love the bustling Machane Yehuda market and the crush of the crowds. I could sample many different shuls to pray in. From some shuls that offered what I called “American lite” to enjoying Kabbalistic chanting in the Naclaot neighborhood, there was always something new to discover. With a few buddies, I explored one Shabbos night the ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Mea-Sharim and the Chassidic communities there. Not a totally positive experience, but one I will not forget anytime soon.


About the biggest highlight for me was in December and the visit of Sober Birthright and some of the community from Beit T’Shuvah. I got a chance to be their ‘guest rabbi’ on a Friday night in Jerusalem. I lead the guys down to the men’s section of the Kotel (the Western Wall) and we sang and danced and prayed. Remembering some of the folks from when they entered the house, it was a wonder beyond words to be locking arms with them and dancing and singing our joy at the Kotel, welcoming Shabbath and for me, seeing the miracles that had taken place. If someone had told me 8 months before, I’d be dancing with some of those men at the Kotel, with that group, I would not have believed. But, Beit T’Shuvah is where miracles happen. At dinner that evening, I had the privilege to share some words of Torah with them and then walk with them through the streets of the old city and up Jaffa Road to their hotel. I cried saying goodbye and shabbat shalom to the group. But in my 45 minute walk home alone in the Jerusalem darkness, so spiritually energized by them and our shared experience, I don’t believe my feet touched the ground.

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R

In something somewhat related to abbi Mark always reminds me that my work at Beit T’Shuvah, I took on being a Rabbi is about sharing text and volunteer work in south Jerusalem, Torah. When I interviewed with him, working with ‘at risk’ youth from a he commanded me, “Teach me a text, local school and a Battered Women’s any one you want.” So I taught him Shelter. These were mostly students from Pirkei Avot “Make for yourself a in middle school age. I tutored them Rabbi, acquire a friend.” But in Israel, in English and Math. A challenge I learned the third part of that teaching, since they were only Hebrew “Be generous in judgement of others.” speaking, but I surprised myself at I like to pretend I’m younger, but the how well I could express myself in reality is, I do remember the Nixon the language of the land. What was administration. I refuse to say I was the so very similar to my Beit T’Shuvah “old man” of the class, but...It was hard experience is these students felt for me the first few weeks in Jerusalem, I abandoned and uncared for and like felt very alone and isolated from family, no-one heard them. I found they friends and community. But as I learned learned more if I merely sat and to ‘be generous in judgement’ and accept my classmates as they were and not be listened to them talk for the first part judgmental, life began to become easier and better. I was able to meet them where of our lesson time. Just by listening they were and love them for who they were. And I discovered they loved me in to them and hearing their words and the same way. On my birthday, in Jerusalem far from my wife and feeling lonely, showing I cared what they had to say, my classmates surprised me with homemade brownies and a surprise party. All conveyed to them the message at the because I chose to live the third part of the text I shared with Rabbi, “be generous heart of Beit T’Shuvah, “You Matter.” in judgement of others.” These young students had been made Part of scared living and of daily Beit T’Shuvah living is the idea of gratitude, of to feel like they had no value. A being grateful for what you have and what others have done for you. I mentioned simple act of listening to their words, at the beginning here that I was living a dream in Jerusalem. A dream I waited made a difference in their learning my entire life to realize. It was so very much worth the wait. But I will always and lives. be grateful to my wife Judy, because of her agreeing to live a nightmare of being Part of scared living is facing your separated for a year, I got to live a dream. fears. By facing our fears we become We read in the Birkat HaMazon, the grace after meals, part of Psalm 126, “when stronger and live better. One of we returned to Zion we were as in a dream.” I understand that now, for when I my biggest fears is of heights. Did think about Jerusalem, it was as being in a dream. I say I was afraid of heights? That vastly understates it. I am terrified of them. Yet on a tiyul (hike) in the Galilee, they took us down a cliff. We were told if anyone had issues with heights, to skip this hike. But I figured I didn’t travel all that way not to attempt the descent. I watched the bus pull away and I was left with no way off the mountain, except down the trail. Which was fine, until I ran out of trail. Being in the front of the line, I didn’t see where the trail went. Turning to my partner, I asked, “What now?” He pointed and at the edge of the cliff, I saw the descent was about 200 feet and they had put footholds into the cliff face and stapled a cable to hold onto as you went down. I was locked up and not sure I could go on, until in my head, I heard the voices of all my BTS residents who I advised to ‘face your fears,”all of them yelling at me the same thing, “Ron, are you going to be a pussy all of your life? Get down the cliff!” I took the cable and somehow, I faced my fear and made it down the cliff.


THANK YOU

T H E P R E V E N T I O N P R O G R AM THANKS ITS VERY GENEROUS DONORS...

Enid, Gary, Roger and Brandon Goodman Richard and Lauren King Charitable Foundation

Judy and Mike Sapir and Bucky Hazan

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation The Alan B. Slifka Foundation The Schulman Family Foundation

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Cantor’s Corner sacred living

I recently took over leading a Sacred Actions group with the new female residents at Beit T’Shuvah. In our first group together, we spent almost an hour simply discussing the word “sacred,” which was quite a profound experience for me and one that I’d far prefer to share than simply my own thoughts. This is what the collective wisdom of that women’s group came up with one day, and I would like to have the honor of sharing it with you now. The group agreed that one could not even begin to discuss “sacred” without using the word “holy,” so I will start there. “Holy” is something elevated from that which is “normal” or “mundane.” Depending on (or regardless of) your concept of G-d, “holy” is something that is recognized to be so based on a group of people acknowledging it to be holy (for instance: according to the group, Shabbat is holy not just because G-d says so, but also because we as a community and as Jews altogether keep it holy). More importantly, in our group’s definition, an individual does not have the ability to make something holy. “Sacred” is a little different, and involves the power and choice of an individual. An individual can choose to make a space, day, etc. sacred to them. An individual can even choose to make an action sacred to them, like making their bed (as Harriet so wisely has taught us for years) Just like all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares, everything that is holy is also sacred but not necessarily everything sacred is holy. Sacred is the gateway to holiness: we start with the individual, and then we eventually can move into a place where we are in agreement as a group, as a community. I hope that the High Holidays for all of us have both elements of Sacred and Holiness, individuality and community.

Shanah Tovah, Cantor Rachel


E V ENT news

events

{ a collection of unforgettable moments } spirituality, unity, and sacred living sweep the pages. we’ve captured some of the special moments from our dinner & learning series, passover & shavuot, that make beit t’shuvah the uniq ue pl ace t hat i t is.

Speaker, Cami Gordon with Rabbi Mark.

Harriet Rossetto, author & speaker, David Sheff & Rabbi Mark.


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sisterhood concert

A night of eclectic sound

The BTS Sisterhood hosted A Night of Eclectic Sound with all proceeds going to the programs of Beit T’Shuvah. Over 100 people enjoyed the outstanding talents of residents and guests as well as our own James Fuchs, Rachel Goldman and Laura Bagish. It was an amazing evening that showcased the eclectic talents of all involved.

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regent street clean up

Sometimes staying clean means getting dirty. In an effort to help beautify the streets around our building, community members of Beit T’Shuvah joined forces with our fellow neighbors in an all-day clean up. This past May was only the first of what we hope will become an ongoing project for future residents to take part in.


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

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Partners in Prevention is one of the best programs

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Nona S. Solowitz

CPA

73241 Highway 111, Suite 2C, Palm Desert, CA 92260

nona@solowitzcpa.com 760.423.0133

Stay

Connected.

Alumni Association

To preserve a lasting connection between alumni and the community.

facebook.com/btsalumni S E P T E M B E R 2 013

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HE HAS THE DRIVE. YOU HAVE THE CAR.

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 aditlove@beittshuvah.org for your FREE Pickup and Tax Deduction.

Beit T’Shuvah Recover Your Passion Discover Your Purpose

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

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

•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: www.DrRandyMartin.com Email: drrandymartin@gmail.com Providing warm, gentle care since 1983

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36 %P reCo nst ruc Announcing tion Sa Hillside Memorial Park’s Newest Development vin gs

Valley of the Prophets

Including Gan Eden, the First and Only Green Burial Area in Los Angeles

Reform, Conservative, Orthodox or Reconstructionist; observant or not; blended families, intercultural families, partners, soul mates - Hillside is here to help you celebrate and honor the life and legacy of your family in the way you feel it should best be expressed. Call Rebeca Smoller, Liaison to Beit T’Shuvah, for 36% pre-construction savings, best selection and more information on the Hillside/Beit T’Shuvah Pre-need Partnership Program at (800) 576-1994 x108.

Paul H. Goldstein, General Manager

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6001 W. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90045 facebook.com/hillsidememorialpark A Community Service of Temple Israel of Hollywood FD 1358

Beit T’Shuvah will also receive a $500 per space donation through the Hillside Pre-need Partnership Program.

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Beit T’Shuvah 8831 Venice Boulevard Los Angeles, California 90034-3223 www.beittshuvah.org

R e c o v er Your Pa s s i on D i s c o v e r Your Purpos e t o g e t i n v o lv e d , c o n ta c t b a r b a r a f r i e d m a n at b f r i e d m a n @ b e i t t s h u va h . o r g o r c a l l 310.204.5200 e x . 204

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage

PAID

Los Angeles, CA Permit No. 672


Beit T'Shuvah Magazine Vol. 4 Num. 1  

The Sacred Living Issue of Beit T'Shuvah Magazine

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