Dear Beit T’Shuvah,
This time of year is ripe for new beginnings and exoduses. Not only our peoples’ ongoing liberation from slavery and addiction to freedom and recovery, but also individual journeys to new frontiers and possibilities.
As some of you may already know, I will be making my own exodus from Beit T’Shuvah.
No, my time here was nothing in the form of slavery. Despite its difficulties and the losses we’ve endured, it has been an uplifting and inspiring privilege to be the spiritual leader of this incredible community and organization. I have witnessed true miracles of transformation that I never imagined, both within myself and among residents, alumni, staff and families.
According to our Torah, the Israelites made 42 stops before they entered the promised land. Similarly, it is time for me to stay true to my spiritual journey and take another step forward on my long walk toward freedom.
My last Shabbat service as Interim Community Rabbi will be Friday, May 19th and my last day in the office will be May 31st. And yes, I’ll be up all night with the residents for our Shavuot programming on May 25th from 8pm-6am! So please come to that too!
Beit T’Shuvah prides itself on being an educational institute. Everyone who comes here, whether resident or staff, hopefully leaves stronger, prouder and a more dignified version of themself. This is absolutely the case for me! I have learned so much. I have healed so many wounds. I am more aware of who I am and accepting of my broken and holy soul!
For that, I will always be grateful for this magical, sacred place and everyone I have encountered during my time here.
So, you might be wondering…What will happen to Beit T’Shuvah? Where is he going? What will happen next?
Here is what I know, what I can share, and what I believe…
First, Beit T’Shuvah will continue to thrive and save lives and be true to its sacred mission. This institution is bigger than any one individual and I am completely confident in the amazing team, staff, and board we have to endure and succeed!
Where am I going? Nowhere far. I will remain in Los Angeles and will be teaching Judaic Studies at Milken High School and hopefully return to BTS to lead an occasional shabbat service and serve as a consultant for the Elaine Breslow Institute.
What will happen next? Love never dies, it only morphs. Change is one of the only constants we all experience. My hope and belief is that we all learn from the past and present in order to forge a better future for all of us. With that, I know that the relationships and love that I have
experienced here will continue in a new form. For that, I am truly grateful and excited for the next adventure!
Rabbi Joseph Shamash