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.
Los Angeles City Hall held its first-ever Passover celebration, which was organized by the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
Sporting a blond wig and slinky dress, Beit T’Shuvah’s whippet-thin Cantor Rachel Goldman Neubauer sat on Harriet Rossetto’s knee and parodied Marilyn Monroe’s famous, breathy “Happy Birthday” crooning to JFK.
Room 9500 is the bottom rung at Beit T’Shuvah, the first stop for male addicts newly arrived from prison, the hospital or the streets. Six rookies at a time inhabit this snug dormitory as they adjust to life in rehab.
Last week, I started writing a column about John Sullivan, a former drug and alcohol addict who restarted his life, thanks to Beit T’Shuvah. But then I got interrupted by another great story, in a documentary called “Paul Williams: Still Alive,” directed by my friend Steve Kessler. I wasn’t planning to write about the film — until I saw a packed house at the Nuart on Saturday night give it a standing ovation.
Last Sunday, I took my first trip to Beit T’Shuvah. I’ve been hearing about this highly successful addiction treatment center for years and had met some of its staff, but I’d never visited its campus on Venice Boulevard, with its sanctuary adorned with stained-glass windows, as well as some 80 to 90 bedrooms housing double that number of residents in various stages of recovery.
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.
Runners in the 26th annual Los Angeles Marathon on March 20 will include residents of Beit T’Shuvah, a residential treatment center for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. Beit T’Shuvah is the only official Jewish charity participating in the L.A. marathon and hopes to raise $125,000 for their Run to Save a Soul campaign.