Jewish Journal


December 2, 2012

The Myth of Jewish Addiction



By Harriet Rossetto

When you think of a drug addict you probably picture that dirty, bearded man who harasses you for change outside of 7-Eleven.  Addicts are usually portrayed as the bottom level of society, people who steal, lie, and who should never be trusted.  Although many people often try to help addicts there is still an overwhelming belief in the Jewish community that, “It won’t happen to my kid.”  Jewish children are raised in an atmosphere where success is revered and most Jews continue to think that addiction is something that happens to other people.

The fact is that addiction is a problem that is affecting more and more Jews every day.  When Harriet Rossetto started Beit T’Shuvah she conceptualized it as a place for Jewish convicts to live as they transitioned back into society.   Now 25 years later, the facility has grown into a full scale addiction treatment center that houses over 150 residents.  Beit T’Shuvah is the only treatment center that combines psychotherapy, 12-step recovery, and Jewish spirituality to try and help Jewish addicts live a better life.

Harriet’s new memoir, Sacred Housekeeping, will be published next month.  In it, she chronicles not just her own struggles in life but also what led her into this line of work.  The book will also describe Harriet’s thoughts on how to address addiction in the Jewish community.

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