By: Jesse Solomon
As the tie-dyed tapestries and colorful band posters of his childhood bedroom started to cave in on him, Gavin looked up and begged any deity that would listen to spare him for just one more day. When he woke up the next morning, covered in sweat, he had no idea how he managed to stay alive… he was just grateful that he did.
If you have been around this community recently, you have undoubtedly come in contact with Gavin B. Not only is his jovial energy wildly infectious, but he has his fingers in every possible creative endeavor he possibly can. From rapping during Shabbat to making films for the film department, there seems to be no limit to how Gavin can find ways to express himself. Sadly, it wasn’t always like this for him. For most of his life, this level of creativity was nothing more than a pipedream.
Let’s rewind. The year is 2010. Instagram has just launched, a disastrous earthquake hits Haiti, and Rebecca Black is still singing about days of the week. In a suburb outside Los Angeles called West Covina, Gavin B. has just found a new direction in life. He had recently been granted a full scholarship to one of the most acclaimed performing arts high schools in the country (which is probably the most LA sentence ever written). When Gavin was a young boy, he knew he loved acting. Although, he never expected anything to become of that love. After spending a handful of time in his school’s acting program, he was tapped by the music department there to join them. They saw something in him that he couldn’t see himself.
Gavin did well in high school for a while, until his usage of pot became worse and worse and transitioned into harder and harder substances. He quickly became an outcast amongst the students he once considered friends. This only led Gavin deeper into the arms of despair. After years and of this abuse, and a few near-death experiences, Gavin knew he needed help. He promised God and himself that if he managed to make it one more day, he would seek treatment. A few weeks after the walls were closing in on him and his heart was skipping beats, he found himself taking the first deep breath of many he would take inside of Beit T’Shuvah.
Today, Gavin is a new man…or maybe an old man with a new outlook. He credits the creative resources at Beit T’Shuvah as well as the community for his success. No one knows as much as he does how long the road ahead of him is, but he is more than willing to find creative ways to overcome any obstacle.
To see Gavin’s heartfelt raps and glowing smile, tune into Shabbat Services every Friday night and Saturday morning.