Monthly Archives: June 2010

Beit T’Shuvah offers Residential Treatment for Problem Gambling


Beit T’Shuvah has become the pilot program for the Residential Treatment for Problem Gambling from the State Department of Problem Gambling in California. We are also beginning an Intensive Outpatient Program for Problem Gamblers.

Problem Gambling is finally being recognized as a serious problem. Many people think “if I can afford it, it is not a problem”. This is not true. There are many people who may be using Gambling as their escape and because it is legal, it is okay. Please contact Kathy Marks and/or Michael Konheim for more information.

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Do you feel the need to always be right?


Rabbi Mark Borovitz

This week’s Torah Portion, Balak, brings a lot of questions regarding human behavior. Balak keeps trying to get Balaam, the Prophet, to go against God’s orders. Many of us keep doing the same thing, some 3000+ years later. We have become like Balak, cursing people rather than finding ways to live together.

A look at the political discourse in our country shows this. Yet, we, the people, are responsible for what is happening. We talk bad about others to make ourselves feel better/superior to others. We go after the dignity of others rather than engage in meaningful dialogue. We need to be right and we need to be right rather than work together to solve problems.

Judaism teaches us to engage in lively and spirited debate to figure out what the next right thing to do is. Judaism calls on us to respect the ideas and dignity of others. We are so wrapped up in our own Ego’s and power trips that we have forgotten to see the Divine in others.

Rabbi Heschel on the left

I am calling on all of us to change our ways. We have to say NO to the negativity others are spewing. We have to say NO to the negativity that grows inside of ourselves. We have to be like the Prophets, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel says. We have to deliver a painful rebuke to people who are sowing seeds of polemics and hatred. We have to accept the painful rebuke of others when we are doing the same thing. Then we will be living with the unwavering hope God has in us and the same deep love God and others show us! I welcome your comments and your ideas and rebukes to me when I forget this, as I will:) Doing this demonstrates your deep love and unwavering hope for me and the world.

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Knock Out Addiction Fight Tonight


Rabbi Mark Borovitz

The Fight is tonight. Tom Arnold and I are fighting for and with all of the people who want to Recover from their addictions and live well. A lot of people have commented on the barbaric nature of this event and I want to address these comments.

Tom and I fight each day against our own addictions and for the recovery of others. We continue to give hope and strength to people who are still desperate and hopeless. Tom and I know the feelings of hopeless desperation. We have both been there and done that. Our match tonight is to let everyone know that there is a way back to life and to wellness.

Beit T’Shuvah has been helping people fight the battle against their addictions and hopelessness for over 24 years. Beit T’Shuvah integrates mind, body and spirit in a holistic and organic approach to recovery and life. While this is a fundraiser, it is also an Awareness Raiser for people.

Tom and I want people who are hopelessly mired in despair and self-doubt that anything is possible when you have community, God and your own Soul fighting together to overcome life’s obstacles.

I want to thank Tom Arnold. He is in a lose/lose situation. He is also a MENSCH!! Tom has never said, “I’m too busy to help”, he has never said “NO, this is not my problem”. Tom is a man who cares so deeply about the humanity of others that he goes to any lengths to help people in need.

I also want to thank Stanley Black for spearheading this event, from the idea to getting the people to come and support what Beit T’Shuvah does. The other Co-Chairs, Jona Goldrich, Warren Breslow and Donald Sterling have helped so much. The committee, Jill Black, Jackie Kallen, Stella DiBibi, Ilana Angel, Drusha Darvish and Roger Simon, our Event Chair,  have done so much to make this evening possible. Our staff here, Barbara Friedman, Ali Ditlove, Rachel Lurie and Nina Haller have done an amazing job putting everything together. I am so grateful to all of them. I am also grateful to Harriet Rossetto, my wife and CEO/Founder of Beit T’Shuvah for guiding all of us to our rightful places in the world.

I also want to thank Sam DeLug for saying Hineni, here I am, when asked to be the Major Sponsor of this event. FlavH2O, Interscope Records, Russell Kern, Stanley Black, Iris and Michael Smith, Max Webb and Steve Hitter and Haim and Cheryl Saban for being our Co-Sponsors. Michael King and his All-American Boxing organization have so graciously provided the Real Boxers for tonight are just an amazing group of people.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for caring about Recovery. You are all helping Beit T’Shuvah continue to help people “Recover their Passion and Discover their Purpose”. God Bless you all, Rabbi Mark Borovitz

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Filed under addiction, Family Wellness, Incarceration, Knock Out Addiction

Knocking Out Addiction


Knock Out Addiction

By: Jeff Hewitt

I was alone in a harsh world of addiction. It didn’t matter how many people I was around, my addiction put me in a painful limbo. The drug addict limbo is unlike any other. It consists of robbing, lying, cheating and manipulating. You do anything you can to get what you want and destroy anything that gets in your way. That’s  the kicker about drug addiction that many can’t grasp; it’s so powerful that nothing but an act of providence can stop it, or at least that’s my experience.

Before crossing the threshold of the door into Beit T’Shuvah, I had tried many other rehabilitation centers. What was going to be different about this stay in rehab? I would like to say I knew the answer, but really I had no idea. Then after I spent a couple of days in the caring arms of Beit T’Shuvah I found my answer. BTS isn’t like any other rehab.

One morning after Torah study I waited by Rabbi Mark’s office door. When I got my chance, I slipped in to introduce myself. My brother had just graduated the program after spending 16 months there, so the Rabbi already knew my entire family. My whole life I had made broken commitments to other people. I would promise the heaven and stars, but never deliver. When I was meeting with the Rabbi he said to me, “Jeff I’m going to commit to you that I will do everything I can to help you find your passion and purpose in life.” This meant the world to me. I felt like for once in my life, a person really cared about a junkie like me. That night I prayed for the first time in years and I have been sober ever since.

Rabbi Mark’s purpose and passion in life is to help as many souls lost in that limbo of addiction, find the hidden passion and purpose they have and bring it out of them so they can recover, and Beit T’Shuvah is his medium.

When I heard that he would be fighting Tom Arnold I was surprised to say the least, but the more I thought about it, it made perfect sense. The Rabbi’s love for this community and his commitment to it’s survival really became apparent when I met him at Wildcard Boxing gym to take a couple of photos. Not only was he going to do this celebrity boxing event, but he was training at 7 in the morning; sparing, hitting the heavy bag and doing crunches one after another. All this was for charity, his purpose and purpose.

On Wednesday June 16, 2010 the Rabbi will step into the ring to knock out addiction. It doesn’t really matter who wins the match because in reality, we all win. The money raised through the event will go to help the lives of people just like me, who will walk through the same door I did, clueless to their real potential, stuck in the addiction limbo. The help that the event will create could be the life-preserver that a helpless soul needs to get back into the boat of recovery.

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Who’s to Blame?


By: Jeff Hewitt

Jeff Hewitt

I recently watched a documentary on a group of young adults who traveled across North America. The film was shot thirty years ago, and documented a punk-rock band in the early years of their 30-year timeline in history. It was very refreshing to see the innocence demonstrated and the passion these young men had for the love of their music. They purchased an old-school bus and set out for Canada, and across the US. They were the first band of their kind to go on a North American tour. What struck me as interesting is these “kids,” didn’t have any help in planning, paying or executing this adventure. This is what inspires me; these young men had an idea and turned it into a reality, there weren’t any cell phones, credit cards or computers to aid their journey, just passion and a dream. The purpose was to go through North America and let themselves and their ideas be heard to show people they weren’t a bunch of mindless punks,  that the stereotype that people had been fooled by wasn’t true. I think that’s what really gets to people is when they expect a person or group of people to act and behave a certain way and then the reality of what they really are and what they represent is the exact opposite.

Shortly after the film I went outside to fire up my barbeque. I observed a group of teenagers that were crowded around a very expensive car. I noticed that they were drinking and smoking. One was talking about how his parents were going to get him a fully furnished apartment in Beverly Hills because he just couldn’t bare to live with them anymore. He said to his friend, “They just won’t get off my case, I don’t know why they just wont let me smoke pot in the house! It’s so unfair!” Wow I thought to myself. To see a film about how these young men in this documentary had a dream and made it happen through hard work and intelligent thought to witnessing these spoiled teenagers talking about how they just wanted to smoke pot and drive their parents crazy. To top it off their parents answer was to get them an apartment in Beverly Hills to solve the problem.

Who’s to blame for this tragic comedy? Some might say it is the parent’s fault, or perhaps it’s the schools, or maybe its society because these kids live in an age of technology where everything is done for you. I think it pointless to blame anyone, for maybe the parents weren’t taught the skills to be good parents. Who’s to blame for that? Or maybe the schools are overcrowded and doing the best they can with what they have,  maybe society has to develop the technology it needs to advance the human race to new places.

In moments like this I think it’s important to remember the things in ourselves we are grateful for. I’m grateful for my mother’s morals that told me to find my own way when I was 18,  that she wasn’t going to support a pot smoking freeloader. Though I was working and already learning to be self-sufficient, it gave me the motivation to become a man in every sense of the word. If she hadn’t cut me loose, I might be 26 still living at mom’s or even worse she could have enabled me till I died of an overdose or murder. I am grateful for the passion and purpose I have found in sobriety. Like the punk rockers in the movie showed people they had a voice; that they weren’t mindless punks running around committing crimes and beating people up, I have shown my parents, my friends, the world, that people in the depths of addiction can recover from what has been called a hopeless state of mind and body and can go on to do great things, all it takes is a little gratitude, passion and purpose.

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Filed under addiction, Family Wellness, Gratitude