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Jewish Journal

Healing Has a New Home

by Michael Aushenker

November 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

When Gateways Beit T'Shuvah dedicates its brand new Mar Vista-area facility on Nov. 14, it will be celebrating a colossal move upward for its residential therapeutic community. The much-lauded recovery center will architecturally expand from 3,500 to 40,000 square feet. And it will be better equipped than ever before to cater to its clientele of Jewish criminal-offenders and addicts.

The brand new Goldrich, Kest and Breslow Gateways Beit T'Shuvah Campus consists of two adjacent buildings -- male and female housing -- as well as more office space, bathrooms, and a larger dining area.

Executive Director Harriet Rossetto thinks that the new campus -- named after lead donors Jona Goldrich, Sol Kest and Warren Breslow -- will make a dramatic difference in the way Beit T'Shuvah will offer assistance.

"I'm hoping now that with this attractive, comfortable facility to become the model for recovery locally and nationally," she says.

The actual capital campaign to raise money to establish the new and improved House of Return took about a year and a half.

"But the idea for a Westside building was 10 years in the making," says Rossetto, who told the Journal that the downtown Los Angeles environment surrounding the original Beit T'Shuvah locations was "not conducive to recovery." The original male facility, a two-story Victorian structure near downtown Los Angeles, was established 13 years ago; its nearby sister counterpart about 4 years ago. The director points out that the new campus, across from the landmark former Helms bakery on Venice Boulevard, will triple the present treatment population of 25 men and 12 women. She also says that the size of staff will gradually increase as well, once they have settled in.

In addition, the Beit T'Shuvah grounds boasts the Bess and Ben Maltz Memorial Sanctuary, which will provide program recipients with an onsite place of worship. The Sanctuary (which will also be dedicated next Sunday) will be presided over by Rabbi Mark Borovitz, who is Rossetto's husband. After all, T'Shuvah -- which roughly translates as "repentance, return and response" -- is the key component of the institution's name. And spiritual healing is a large part of overcoming vice and personal demons.

"Our challenge now is in the future will be to continue to raise the operating funds to keep the place going," says Rossetto.

For more information on Gateways Beit T'Shuvah, call (310) 204-5200.

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