Episode 15: Celebrating Life and Purim; on Drug and Alcohol Abuse w/Rabbi Mark Borovitz
The Jewish holiday of Purim has a long tradition of drinking a lot and getting wild. So I thought it fitting to bring on the show Rabbi Mark Borovitz for this special holiday episode.
A little bit about our Purim Episode guest this week: Rabbi Mark Borovitz..
Officially ordained in 2000 at the University of Judaism with a Master’s in Rabbinic Literature, Rabbi Mark Borovitz combined his knowledge of Torah and street smarts to shape his calling: helping recovering addicts find their way in the world. Spiritual Leader, Author, Senior Rabbi, CEO, ex-con, recovering alcoholic, and overall anomaly, he is able to reach both the addict and the congregant, and de-stigmatize this life threatening disease.
As the CEO and Senior Rabbi of Beit T’Shuvah, a nonprofit, non-sectarian, Jewish addiction treatment center and synagogue community in Los Angeles, Rabbi Mark’s leadership is unparalleled. Community members, addicts, educators, dignitaries, and executives all seek his wisdom; a blend of street savvy, and wise rabbinic teachings. When working with people, he is living proof that change is possible; when speaking to the congregant, he stands for the hope that every man has a higher purpose. After being released from prison in 1988 he began his work at Beit T’Shuvah. Over the past twenty-eight years, he has helped co-create one of the most exceptional approaches to addiction treatment and criminal rehabilitation and reintegration in the world.
As his organization has grown, Rabbi Mark’s unique take on addiction treatment
“Addiction is a hole in the soul. It is a spiritual malady that says there is something inherently wrong with you. Recovery is about understanding that You Matter and you are a holy soul.”
has solidified him as an expert and visionary in the field. He co-authored his biography, The Holy Thief: A Conman’s Journey from Darkness to Light.
The story of Mark Borovitz and his work is also featured in a chapter of the book, Stalking Elijah by Roger Kamenetz, and he and his wife Harriet Rossetto, Founder and Executive Vice President of Beit T’Shuvah, are the subject of the exclusive art book, Two Broken People created by acclaimed Director and Producer, Jack Bender.
Rabbi Mark has been featured in articles in the Los Angeles Times, Moment Magazine, The Jewish Journal, The Wall Street Journal and newspapers across the world, including Israel’s largest publication, Haaretz Daily Newspaper. Rabbi Mark Borovitz’s tireless efforts have been the driving force behind the robust and growing movement that is Beit T’Shuvah. His newest book is Finding Recovery and Yourself in Torah: A Daily Spiritual Path to Wholeness.
To some extent we are all on the spectrum of addiction (running from our fears into the arms of a quick and easy solution) and recovery (taking the time to seriously grapple with our problems and to sit in the discomfort of not knowing what to do about them… to do the hard thing of acknowledging that they exist). For Rabbi Mark, recovery is not about finding the “right” answers but rather it’s about allowing ourselves to feel the authentic questions that our souls are crying out for at any given moment.
So when you think about it, so many people just ask the wrong question. “How do I become successful?” Is usually about money or career. It’s not about how do I live well. And success comes from living well. And most people don’t think about it in those terms. They think about “the right” car, “the right” house, “the right” spouse, the right, the right, the right, the right, the right, the right, the right, right, right. And there’s never going to be “the right”. And yet people keep searching for these elusive answers. And as you said, they want to live in black and white. And life is not black and white. And that bothers people. “Just give me the answer!” Well, the answer depends. I mean I can’t give you the answer because most of the time the question even changes. Hopefully the question changes. If you’re alive and if you’re really involved in life then the question constantly and consistently changes.
We also addressed the current story happening in the news cycle of March 2019 about the college admissions fraud being investigated among America’s elite and apparently also very helicoptery parents.
But that’s what these people who cheated, that’s this whole scandal with the colleges and everything. That’s what they’re telling their children. On your own. You’re not good enough. I have to lie and cheat and steal for you to be okay.
For some books recommended by Rabbi Mark be sure to check out:
“The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning” by Ernest Kurtz
“God in” Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism” by Abraham Joshua Heschel
Thanks for stopping by and please be sure to share this podcast with your friends and family!