Not long ago, I showed up for a Friday night Shabbat service at Beit T’Shuvah in Culver City. Over the years, I have counseled a number of congregants whose adult children were saved by this addiction recovery program, and I wanted to experience Beit T’Shuvah’s spiritual Shabbat service, which I had heard so much about.
It’s rare that an Orthodox rabbi chooses to omit an important Jewish ritual in his holiday celebrations.
Beit T’Shuvah, the Jewish addiction treatment center and synagogue, held its second annual “Knock Out Addiction” fundraiser on Sept. 15, drawing a crowd of more than 400 to the Petersen Automotive Museum for a gala that included six boxing matches.
Over the next 13 years, Mensh snorted cocaine (sometimes off the turntables at his disc jockey gigs), added acid and Quaaludes to the mix, and imbibed to the point that he blacked out, only to awaken in a ditch or a stranger's car or bed.
"Thank you for reminding those who sometimes forget that "never forget" means just that..."
letters to the jewish journal
Rita Lowenthal raised her family in a nice Jewish home, lived in a nice Jewish neighborhood and belonged to a nice Jewish temple. So how did her son become a heroin addict at age 13?
The need for an answer to that question, as well as a desire for closure, is what inspired Lowenthal to pen "One-Way Ticket: Our Son's Addiction to Heroin" (Beaufort Books, $14), a memoir that compiles her experiences and correspondence with her son and his journal entries while in and out of San Quentin State Prison.
Over the years, people have often asked me whether I've ever thought about working at a "real newspaper." The idea, I guess, is if I'm good enough why wouldn't I want to move up to the mainstream press? But for me that would be more of a move out than a move up.
When Amy Kaplan heard about Betty (not her real name), a Jewish Family Service client in her early 70s who said she couldn't afford all of her medications, Kaplan suspected there was more to the story.
OK, I'll be absolutely honest -- I spent this past New Year's Eve alone. Sure, I could have salvaged the situation with a round of frantic last-minute calling, but I never got around to it because I had to go and get into a fight. Fortunately, I was the only one who got hurt. You see, I picked a fight with myself. And on New Year's Eve day, no less. Almost out of nowhere and with virtually no warning, I started in on myself.
I am an involved member of the Temple Beth Am Library Minyan, graduate of Pressman Academy, senior at Shalhevet High and chair of the Israel Action Committee at my school.
In a narrow Jerusalem alley a few blocks away from the souvenir shops of Ben Yehuda Street, a former drug addict who wants to
be called Shimon is telling me the story of his horrific childhood.
"I got hooked peering into the lives of strangers," said Jed Weintrob, a self-described Jewish "techno geek." "It was both calming and mind-blowing to log on and see Jenni on Jennicam.org who was also awake at 4:30 a.m., but in the end it was also kind of alienating.... You're watching this person do the most intimate things, yet you're never going to know them or touch them."
One Friday night 33 years ago, when Yisroel Richtberg was 12 years old, an older boy sneaked into his dorm room at his Chasidic yeshiva in Israel, pulled off Richtberg's pajama pants and raped him. The same thing happened the next Shabbat.
In his 35-year career, Rabbi Juda Mintz established a Jewish youth group in Montreal, founded a traditional congregation and a campus Hillel in Atlanta and led more than 50 missions to Israel -- all without the aid of a computer.
I've been spending so much time and energy dating that it sometimes feels like an addiction.
These are the Ten Plagues of Prison Life, and we take a drop of grape juice out of our cups for each: Damage left in the wake of destructive addiction. Abusive relationships. Low self-esteem. The embittered spirit. Wrong attitude. Weakening mind and body. Daily degradation. Deprivation. Captivity. Separation from loved ones.
John Ostland spent 11 years, off and on in prison because of his drug addiction. He would steal anything of value to get money for his habit.
It would be hard to exaggerate the significance of The Jewish Federation's Addiction Conference held Monday at the Skirball Cultural Center. But to compare, think back to the Shechinah Conference held 20 years ago at Hebrew Union College, which helped consolidate and shape Jewish feminism. In its willingness to creatively address perhaps the biggest social issue of our time, the Skirball program is that big a deal.
"I am a recovering alcoholic."
It's a stark way to open a conversation -- surprising, really, coming from Cheri Morgan, the vice chair of the United Jewish Fund Campaign (UJF) and wife of Todd Morgan, chairman of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.