“This is not just another freaking fashion show,” said Arlene S. Ford, donations administrator at Beit T’Shuvah, the Los Angeles-based Jewish drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.
Ford, who went through the Beit T’Shuvah program herself and helped organize the May 17 benefit fashion show at the organization’s main treatment facility, said it was not about selling the clothes, although the high-fashion styles would be on sale after the event at Beit T’Shuvah’s House of Return Thrift Boutique. Rather, the focus was on the 20 Beit T’Shuvah residents who modeled the donated couture.
“The fashion complemented the internal work of recovery ... matching the outsides to the new insides,” Ford said.
The afternoon tea and fashion show was organized by the newly created Beit T’Shuvah Sisterhood. The main goal of the 10-month-old group, comprised of alumni, friends and their families as well as other supporters, is to raise money to allow the organization to hold next fall’s Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah services in a larger venue. After raising $5,000 at this event alone, services now will be held at The Mark in West Los Angeles.
The event featured an invocation by Beit T’Shuvah’s Rabbi Jay Siegel, with a keynote address by Harriet Rossetto, the organization’s CEO. Siegel, Rossetto and Ford were the only three non-residents to model fashions.
Danielle Rozbruch, a Beit T’Shuvah resident and model, said that she enjoyed preparing for the event because she got to bond with the diverse group of residents. “We all have problems that we’re open to working on. So that’s where we connect,” she said.
Three of the male residents added a dose of humor when they took to the catwalk, dancing to the song “I’m Too Sexy.” In response, Ford laughed and said, “I think we just figured out a whole new way to raise funds for Beit T’Shuvah.”