Jewish tradition tells us that “whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” This line from The Talmud, which has been studied by rabbis and their students long before you or I were born, is rooted in the idea that one man, or woman, can make a difference. That as long as one good person still exists in the world, there is still good in the world.
So then, what does it mean to save 150 lives? That is what Harriet Rossetto was intent on finding out when she first opened Beit T’Shuvah 35 years ago, and along with her husband Rabbi Mark Borovitz, worked to create a treatment model that does just that.
This past year has been challenging for everyone, to say the least, and Beit T’Shuvah was not immune to the devastation that COVID-19 brought about worldwide. Our Executive Director, Sergio Rizzo-Fontanesi, tells me that “every one of our revenue streams has been impacted by COVID. Nonetheless, we have kept our doors open, provided care, and have never once asked anyone to leave during the pandemic because of their inability to pay.”
So when it came time to plan this year’s gala, which accounts for a substantial percentage of Beit T’Shuvah’s annual operating budget, there was a lot of disquiet. One thing was for sure; we weren’t going to be able to invite 1,000 of our most generous supporters to the Beverly Hilton as we’ve done in years past. But, as we’d done with the programming this year for the residents, we worked tirelessly to bring the Gala to you.
When I asked Board Chair Janice Kamenir-Reznik what message she would like attendees to walk away with, she answered, “Addiction is an insidious disease which carries with it a huge burden of shame, embarrassment, self-loathing, and isolation. The worst thing for addiction recovery is to reinforce that shame-factor by hiding, pretending, and avoiding. Our gala helps to de-stigmatize addiction so as to inspire and celebrate recovery. That is our message. That is our success!”
This year’s gala, Sunday at 6pm, is being held virtually for the first time, but the message remains the same. As it is being broadcast this year, rather than hosted on Zoom, you’ll see us, but we won’t see you. Your presence, however, as always, will undoubtedly be felt. Please join us from the safety of your homes, in your tuxes and ball gowns, or in your pajamas, or even in PJs that look like tuxedos, as we need you more than ever. In fact, we need each other, we always did.
We continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude and awe at the support our community has and continues to have for Beit T’Shuvah. If as long as one good person still exists in the world, there is still good in the world, then a 1,000 person gala, benefitting the life-saving work that continues at Beit T’Shuvah, virtual or otherwise, adds a whole lot of good in this world.
Registration is free and available at www.beittshuvah.org/gala. This same link will take you to the event on Sunday at 6pm. Join us at 5:45pm for an exciting pre-show featuring many of our programs.