A sold-out audience of approximately 500 people, either by invite or by coughing up dough for a pricey $250 ticket, attended “Knock out Addiction,” a fundraiser featuring live celebrity boxing between actor Tom Arnold and Rabbi Mark Borovitz of Beit T’Shuvah.
The event, held on June 16, 2010 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA, raised funds for Beit T’Shuvah, an L.A.-based residential treatment center for various addictions and a full-service synagogue.
Beit T’Shuvah treats its residents for addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling and more. 125 people currently live there, between the ages of 18 all the way up to 70.
Nina Haller, major gifts director at Beit T’Shuvah, joked that there were people in the audience – Beit T’Shuvah residents mostly – who “wouldn’t mind seeing a punch thrown at Rabbi Mark” due to his confrontational methods of speaking with residents of the rehab center. “He’s controversial in his approach, sometimes too real for people to handle and it makes people uncomfortable,” Haller said. “But it’s very effective. Many people will you tell that Rabbi Mark saved their lives.”
Other celebrities at the fundraiser included prolific boxing figures Sugar Shane Mosley and Jackie Kallen and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” star Kristen Bell.
Late in the evening, the main event featured “overweight” class fighters Tom “The Hebrew Hammer” Arnold and Rabbi Mark “The Holy Thief” Borovitz (Borovitz’s memoir of late in life rabbinical redemption after years of a life of crime is called “The Holy Thief”) squaring off in the ring for three rounds—gloves and proper boxing attire and all.
Borovitz, though, wasn’t allowed to punch his friend Arnold in the face since Arnold is currently filming a pilot. Maybe that’s why Arnold, who was coached by comedian buddy Dax Shepard, won the sloppy but nevertheless entertaining match, which had its share of bear hug-like grabbing and panting and, some might say, a sucker punch from Arnold.
Arnold and Borovitz in the ring:
Arnold’s pre-fight interview:
Pre-fight interview with Borovitz: