The Beit T’Shuvah synagogue community plays an important role in the rehab, but there is no rule that one must be Jewish or interested in converting.
Introduction and Basic Services
Beit T’Shuvah is a well reputed residential treatment center in Los Angeles, California in the bustling Culver City neighborhood. It was founded by social worker Harriett Rosetto, who made it her mission to help Jewish men re-enter society. In a partnership with the Gateway Hospital, the Beit T’Shuvah halfway house opened its doors in 1987. As the role of addiction became very apparent in the vast majority of these men’s lives, Beit T’Shuvah went from being a halfway house to a thriving coed recovery center and one of the leading nonprofit rehab facilities in the country.
In 1990, Harriett Rossetto married Mark Borovitz, an ex-convict and now a rabbi. Together, the two of oversee Beit T’Shuvah along with a team of over 100 treatment and administrative specialists. Beit T’Shuvah treats people for alcoholism, drug addiction, and gambling addiction. It’s worth noting, the center can also treat addictions to food or sex but does not specialize in the treatment of these specific addictions.
Facility and Meals
Above all, Beit T’Shuvah is part of a spiritual community. There is a thriving synagogue on the premises, and some of the congregants volunteer with the recovery center. Despite Beit T’Shuvah’s original mission as a halfway house for men, today it is a coed rehab facility and the halfway house element has been phased out. Unlike luxury rehabs, Beit T’Shuvah is decidedly no-frills, with a dormitory-like appearance.
The treatment center has 140 beds and a maximum capacity of 140 people. There are two extra long twin beds per room and each room has its own bathroom.
The center offers three meals daily. While the food served isn’t extravagant and is best described as cafeteria-style, it is all Kosher. As such, no shellfish or pork is served. Within that framework, the chefs still strive to offer the most nutritious and tasty food possible. They even have theme nights, in which Chinese and Mexican food are served. There are no dietary restrictions with respect to sugar or caffeine.
Treatment and Protocol Team
Beit T’Shuvah is a state-licensed nonprofit that offers an integrative treatment approach. Residents attend mandatory 12-step meetings, Torah study and other spiritually-informed meetings, and undergo a psychiatric evaluation. While there is not an on-staff doctor, residents do have access to treatment under the supervision of a board certified psychiatrist and faculty members from the David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine.As previously mentioned, there are a combined total of over 100 addiction and administrative professionals on staff.
Much of the emphasis at Beit T’Shuvah is on addiction as a spiritual malady. While Beit T’Shuvah is open to patients of all faiths, the facility does require attendance at Torah study every morning, Shabbat services every Friday night and Saturday morning, and observance of all Jewish holidays.
Beit T’Shuvah offers 12-step treatment, one-on-one spiritual counseling, and one-one-one meetings with a doctor as needed for clients with dual diagnoses. Each resident is assigned their own spiritual adviser, therapist, and counselor. For clients struggling with chemical dependency, Beit T’Shuvah does not offer detox, but can make referrals to facilities that do.
The program at Beit T’Shuvah requires a minimum four-month commitment, with most residents staying for six to nine months. Residents undergo what is referred to as a “three-level recovery system.” In the first four to six months, patients experience inpatient primary care, which consists of individual counseling, group counseling, spiritual counseling, therapy, psychiatric care (if necessary), attendance at Shabbat and holiday services, and introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps. Clients are forbidden from using their cell phones for the first 60 days, although they are allowed to make outgoing calls during that time on a landline during restricted hours.
The next period is “Extended Care,” in which residents begin their transition to life outside of the treatment center while still residing there. The third level is aftercare, in which the residents have moved out of Beit T’Shuvah. The type of care in this phase is specific to each former resident’s needs.
A typical resident’s day begins at 8 am with Torah study, which is described as more spiritual than religious. At 9 am there is a group meeting, followed by chores at 10 am. There’s another group meeting at 11 am, lunch at noon, then another group at 1 pm. The afternoon consists of yoga and meditation and an outside peer support meeting, usually AA or NA. Lights out is at 11pm, when all common areas must be clear of residents.
In addition to treating the addict, Beit T’Shuvah offers programs for the addict’s family, which include Al-Anon meetings. There is also an on-staff addiction counselor/interventionist with over five years of experience who can assist families and loved ones of the addict stage an intervention.
There is a TV room residents can use up until 11 pm, when all common areas must be vacated. For residents who want to exercise, there is a gym and a separate room for yoga, but no swimming pool.
In addition to the TV room, residents can also use the music studio. There is also a theatre group that meets once per week. Many of the residents can get involved in performance opportunities, and there is a surprising emphasis on secular/modern music. (Visitors to Beit’s YouTube page can see a band of congregants and residents performing Rolling Stones songs.) The center also offers acupuncture.
Beit T’Shuvah is a solid option for long-term care with a Jewish spiritual focus. The Beit T’Shuvah synagogue community plays an important role in the rehab, but there is no rule that one must be Jewish or interested in converting. As the website professes, it is a vibrant spiritual community whose focus isn’t just on sobriety, but transformation.
Beit T’Shuvah Location
8831 Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Beit T’Shuvah Cost
$15,000 per month at the outset for the highest level of care. Accepts most insurance and has sliding scale fees and scholarships available.