Beit T'Shuvah Blog » Incarceration

David in Krakow

By David Gole Having just arrived back from my trip to Poland, I have several experiences I am still reflecting on. While Warsaw was a very exiting city, Krakow is a different story. When I picture Poland I envision a lot of old buildings and snow. Krakow fulfills that exact stereotype in a way that it glorifies the past. During World War II, Krakow was virtually untouched by the Nazis with only a few of the monuments being rebuilt. In retrospective, my experience in Krakow was both joyous and emotional. Part of my trip was to learn about Forum for Dialogue Among Nations, which runs a program to educate high school students about Jewish culture in their town. The first day in Krakow, we traveled to the near by town of Wadowice, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Community, Education, Gratitude, Incarceration, International, Judaism, Spirituality

Morality and Redemption: A Dialogue on the Death Penalty Inspired by Troy Davis

By Jaron Zanerhaft and M. Alexander After years of appeals, Troy Davis was put to death last night for the 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail.  This blog is not meant to speculate whether he was guilty or innocent, but to discuss the morality of capital punishment.  As two competent and intelligent young men, we began a dialogue from the perspective of getting a second chance at life.  We started with a single question: Is execution a moral punishment? Jaron: What’s the difference between life in prison and the death penalty?  The law regards the latter as more extreme, and any code of morals will tell you that above all else, life is what we should preserve.  But I believe that in some ways, the death penalty does more to preserve life … Read entire article »

Filed under: Beit T'Shuvah, Current Events, Incarceration, Judaism, Spirituality

Doing T’Shuvah in the California Institution for Women

By Jessica Fishel   In August I decided to step out of my comfort zone and attend Shabbos services at the California Institution for Women in Corona, California. I knew that I would get a great deal out of the experience, even though I was unsure of what to expect, as I have never been to a prison. I was also unsure of how the women would accept me. I knew there would be many experiences I would be unable to relate to, but I am an open minded person and I wanted to help brighten the women’s days in any way possible. Once I entered the chapel I realized that, though I have never been to prison or been in the same situations as these women, we are all humans … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Incarceration

Talkin’ About My Education: My High Fiver Project and Our Chai Five Project

By M. Alexander I want to take this time to talk about my education.  I graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Calabasas High School in 2006 and went to my first choice university.  At NYU, I designed my own major, “Global Ethics and Conflict Studies,” achieving honors and graduating after 3 years at the age of 20.  I spent one of those semesters studying aboard The Scholar Ship, a 100-day cruise holding undergraduate and post-graduate students from 35 countries. I studied “global culture” in China, Thailand, India, The Seychelles, South Africa, Cape Verde, Spain, Turkey, Portugal, and The Netherlands.  I spent another semester studying European Politics on a villa in Italy.  The day I graduated, I presented a thesis and an oral presentation to three faculty members about my major, using … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Education, Gratitude, Incarceration, Sobriety, Spirituality, Temple, Torah

Meaning Above Logic

By Rabbi Mark Borovitz Recovery is the experience where we hear the word of God/Truth in order to regain our passion and purpose of life. I take this idea from the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in his description of the Sabbath in his book God in Search of Man. Rabbi Heschel was talking about the Israelites leaving a great civilization, Egypt, to wander in the wilderness so they could hear the word of God. This brought up many thoughts for me. The first and strongest was what stops me from doing more of the things that God/Truth has already taught me! I find that I keep returning to the “Great Civilization” (I call the rational mind) that we are living in and following those teachings rather than the Truth that … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Gratitude, Incarceration, Judaism, Mark Borovitz, Sobriety, Spirituality, Temple, Torah

On The Coast of Chaos

The following is an account of the riots and austerity protests that took place in Greece in late May 2011, presented in parallel with the experience of a struggling addict.  One of our interns, on vacation at the time, found herself in the middle of the protests.  Her story inspired another here at BTS Communicationsto retell his own conflict through a new lens… KF: It felt surreal, suspended in the midst of a civil crisis more foreign to me than the land I was visiting. From the balcony of my hotel, I could only watch on as the crowd gathered, their demand for answers falling on deaf ears.  They too had been helplessly watching for years as the government they relied on continued to perpetuate its failures.  A great deal of … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Current Events, Incarceration, Sobriety, Uncategorized

T’Shuvah Means Redemption

By Jaron Zanerhaft At some point in the midst of life’s successes, everyone must eventually fall. When you do, what’s the thing to do next?  With what method do you move forward? Sometimes, in order to keep moving forward, you need to move forward in a different direction.  By recognizing that the path you are on does not lead to where you want to go, you commit the first step of T’Shuvah.  Sometimes it’s difficult, however, to know in which direction to turn and how to proceed. T’Shuvah is a complex concept and quite pervasive ‘round these parts. It’s what we are supposed to do, who we are supposed to represent to the outside world, and what we venture towards within ourselves.  But what does it mean? Traditionally thought of as “return” or “repentance,” T’Shuvah is what … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Family Wellness, Incarceration, Mark Borovitz, Sobriety, Temple, Torah, Uncategorized

Passover–What Is This?

By M. Alexander Passover was never a holiday that I looked forward to celebrating.  Old people reading out of a book?  I might as well watch CSPAN.  Magical disappearance of a glass of wine? Give me a box of Franzia and I’ll make it disappear even faster, then reappear, then disappear. Why is this night different from all other nights?  On all other nights, I eat leavened bread on the table—on this night I must be inconspicuous, stashing my meatball sub incognito. I ask questions, many questions.  Why do I have to be here? How much money will I get if I find the Afikoman? Will my family trip if I drink another glass of wine? How much longer before I get to eat? Over the past nine months, I have heard many people … Read entire article »

Filed under: Current Events, Family Wellness, Gratitude, Incarceration, Judaism, Sobriety, Temple, Torah

My Rabbi: The Ex-Convict

By Ben Spielberg I hate my rabbi. He makes me clean my room. He yells at me when I’m being disrespectful, and he always calls me out when I’m lying! I hate that my Rabbi makes me a better person—I mean, after all, who does he think he is? Some sort of religious authority? The first time I had ever heard of Rabbi Mark Borovitz was a couple years ago when I read his autobiography, The Holy Thief. It was a quick read, a good story, and well written. After coming to Beit T’Shuvah for about four months for therapy once a week, I eventually set up a meeting with him. I complimented his book; we chatted a little bit, and set up another … Read entire article »

Filed under: 12-Steps, addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Gratitude, Incarceration, Judaism, Mark Borovitz, Sobriety, Torah

Ohh, That Gala!

By Ben Spielberg Six months ago, if I’d have pictured myself half a year later, the last image to come to my mind would be myself, wearing a full tuxedo inside of the Beverly Hilton, thanking strangers and board members for undoubtedly saving both my life and the lives of others. And yet, that is exactly how things ended up happening. Beit T’Shuvah’s annual gala helps pay for a lot of our program here. Not only does it pay for about 50 beds, but also programs like surf therapy, art therapy, and Freedom Song. Over 900 people attended, and they were all supporting this one cause. I have never seen anything like it before. I really felt a part of what was going on—this … Read entire article »

Filed under: 12-Steps, addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Current Events, Gala, Gratitude, Incarceration, Judaism, Knock Out Addiction, LA Marathon, Run To Save A Soul, Sobriety, Temple, Uncategorized

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RT @RabbiMarkAsherG: My Rosh Hashanah sermon on what this rabbi learned in a week at @BeitTShuvah drug and alcohol treatment center. https…

It's okay to ask for help #OverdoseAwarenessDay

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