Rabbi Mark Borovitz describes his transition to recovery from drug and alcohol abuse as though he was "struck sober". Nowadays Rabbi Mark as the CEO of Beit T'Shuva, a Jewish addiction treatment center, helps to facilitate similar healing for others.
“If you want to create a space where people can talk about things that are harder to share and harder to hear - celebrating that at the end of the day with a little bit of fun just seems natural. You just need a space to release. That’s why sometimes I talk about just the need for a party at the end of the day, or some kind of fun evening program. It’s not that innovative. Anybody that has been leading Jewish shabbatons has figured that out. It’s even in the Jewish tradition. That’s why Friday night we have an Oneg or Saturday night you have some kind of celebration.”
As a deep and serious thinker, Andrew Lustig opined about his ideological role models: “the people who I admire and I considered teachers are people who are always complicating issues, who are always answering with ‘well, you know, it's complicated’ or you know, ‘on one hand, but on the other hand.’ Taking those serious questions as his foundation, he uses that as fodder for creating real and imaginative works of poetry.
Not only does the long-view, slow and steady marathon-style perspective serve the process of creativity in general and for writing poetry more specifically, but even more so, it aids in the ability to stay committed to a 7.5 year long text study where you don’t let perfectionism get in the way. Out with the old expression of “practice makes perfect” and in with the new of “practice makes better.”
We began our conversation with a bit of myth-busting. When some imagine communities in Africa it is easy to envision a dusty village by the side of the road. Rabbi Elie talked about the diversity in the many global Jewish communities. Some are, indeed, subsistence farmers while others work in the medical field and are very much connected to the broader world through more traditional avenues.
Bluth is currently studying for rabbinic ordination at Yeshivat Har El, a co-ed Orthodox Rabbinical program in Jerusalem. She is the Founder and Educational Director of Achvat Amim Ruchani, a program for Israeli-Palestinian peace and justice volunteer work, focused on Jewish learning. Born in Toronto to two amateur Klezmorim, Bluth lives in a plant-filled home in Yafo.
Working in the school system, and conducting suicide risk assessments almost once every other week, Dr Natalya Bogopolskaya was interested in better understanding what protective factors communities can help build in its members to better cope with stressors, mental health illnesses, and traumatic events as well as what kind of negative life events people are truly wired to handle.