Recovering Judaism for Clergy & Jewish Educators
As a Jewish addiction treatment center, Beit T’Shuvah has been immersed in a 30-year study of what we call human brokenness – the inherent inner human dilemma wherein we live in an uncertain world with uncertain meaning and an uncertain future. Our teachers have been those in our community who are most acutely broken: the junkies, criminals, alcoholics, gamblers and thieves, who are no longer able to deny their inner scission. What we have found is that the destructive behavior of addiction and crime are truly the most severe symptoms of a deeper brokenness, the inability to integrate our contradictory selves. We have found at Beit T’Shuvah that the antidote to this human dilemma is contained in a deeply personal and relevant Judaism. It is a Judaism that understands the Torah as a guide to living as complete human beings – as both holy souls and imperfect beings that make mistakes. The Elaine Breslow Institute at Beit T’Shuvah has been created to transmit and share these Torah lessons of redemption and how they can lead each one of us on a path toward wholeness.
The EBI currently offers several workshop and training options for for present and future Jewish leaders, educators, and clergy:
intensive, 4-day immersion programs at Beit T’Shuvah
full-day training programs hosted at Beit T’Shuvah
half-day training programs
2 hr workshop presentations
Common topics for these educational opportunities include (the 4-day immersion covers them all):
You Don’t Have to be an Addict to be in Recovery
A presentation of the Beit T’Shuvah philosophy of the human condition and how addiction – in its various manifestations – is a symptom of an internal spiritual and mental split. Also, addresses Beit T’Shuvah’s philosophy of spiritual redemption and restoring wholeness.
The Rabbinic/Jewish Educator’s Role in Addressing Brokenness
A candid presentation and dialogue on how to apply the lessons of relating to our communities with our own challenges of brokenness. How do we share how we are held with our own personal challenges? How can we both have our own wounds and simultaneously lead? Can we really be honest and vulnerable as Jewish communal leaders?
The World of Broken Kids
A presentation and discussion on the realities of youth in today’s society and how to be aware of risky, addictive behavior and prevent/minimize them. Includes matters pertaining to teen stress, over-parenting, the role of technology, and the downside of growing up in privilege.
Navigating the Broken Family
Understanding the role of family roles and intergenerational dynamics as they pertain to brokenness and addiction.
Prayer, Meditation, and the Role of Spiritual Practice
A study of spiritual practices in Judaism and how they align with the 12 Steps of the anonymous programs.
T’Shuvah as a Way of Life
An in-depth look at the spiritual tenet of t’shuvah in the role of returning to wholeness, recovery, and redemption.
Seeing Your Own Brokenness Through Torah
Studying Jewish texts (Torah, liturgy, Jewish philosophy), identifying how they can be personalized and applied to brokenness and addiction.
Spiritual counseling requires a diverse and interconnected series of skills: careful listening, self-awareness, mastery of the tradition, ease in translating personal relevance of the tradition, a willingness to hold others accountable and the ability to ask for help. At its best, spiritual counseling reconnects people with their souls, grounds us and others in our tradition in a personally relevant way, and holds out a path of hope and meaning as we each work to heal our brokenness.
Each of the workshops/trainings may vary in format. Generally speaking, they include a member of Beit T’Shuvah leadership providing a presentation, Beit T’Shuvah residents or alumni sharing personal stories, and breakout sessions for discussion and dialogue. The Institute also works with groups in order to meet whatever particular needs they may identify.
The Immersion Week
- Engage and learn about the broad spectrum of existential brokenness and the challenges of living well in body, mind, and spirit.
- Enhance their own knowledge, skills, and confidence as they pertain to educating on brokenness, responding and counseling about it, and minimizing its consequences for individuals and families.
- Understand the role the Jewish tradition can play for individuals and families as a wise approach to living well.
- Personalize relevant Jewish texts and spiritual practices, relating it to their professional practice and context, as well as their own lives.
- Immerse in the culture, language, and vision of a uniquely Jewish addiction residential treatment center and synagogue community.
- Collaborate and learn from one another and the facilitators in a safe, open environment of trust.
Ongoing Support and Learning
- Engage with an expert mentor to explore the impact of the Institute professionally and personally.
- Continue the learning through webinars with Beit T’shuvah staff and clergy.
- Design and implement an action research project in your own community.