By M. Alexander
Last week, Harriet and Rabbi received The Community Service Award from The California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM). Since 1985, the award has been given to assemblymen, doctors, philanthropists, and clergymen. Now, the doctors and health professionals at CSAM, a chapter of The American Society of Addiction Medicine, have honored the leaders of Beit T’Shuvah for their contribution to the advancement of addiction treatment.
At Beit T’Shuvah, we have always operated against the grain of traditional treatment centers. We are not a behavior modification model—making residents sweep the floor with a toothbrush. And we are not a plush for-profit recovery model—offering butler service and lobster dinners. Rabbi and Harriet run Beit T’Shuvah on the principle that every addict, alcoholic, and criminal entering the program is an individual and the program should be tailored to their unique needs. The doctors and researchers at The Society of Addiction Medicine have officially recognized our program, bestowing a new shade of medical legitimacy to the work we have been doing for 25 years.
The society honored Harriet for “embracing the challenge of an unpopular cause, fighting the widespread denial that ‘nice Jewish men and women’ could be addicts and criminals and whose passion, creativity, vision, and love have built and sustained a unique program.” CSAM said of Rabbi that his “personal journey from con man and prisoner to Rabbi and community leader has given him insight and makes his message uniquely accessible to those with disordered lives and a desire to return to spiritual values.”
Both Rabbi and Harriet “have built Beit T’Shuvah into a unique resource, a home for Jewish ex-cons and addicts utilizing a recovery model blending Jewish spirituality, cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step philosophy and the creative arts, restoring lost souls, and returning them to themselves.”