Founder of Beit T’Shuvah, Harriet Rossetto, is recognized as a national leader for her work treating addiction
A ceremony on May 20, 2015 at the White House honored Harriet Rossetto, founder of Beit T’Shuvah (Bate-t’shoo-vah), as an “Advocate for Action.” Rossetto was selected as a national role model for the unique approach to addiction prevention, rehabilitation and educational programs offered through her residential treatment center. She graciously accepted the award from National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli.
“I am pleased to honor the work Harriet Rossetto is doing to make our communities healthier and safer,” said Botticelli. “By promoting evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery efforts, Advocates for Action are helping to reduce drug use and its consequences across the country.” Rossetto is also discussing policy initiatives and a plan for future collaboration to reform drug policy in America.
“Harriet is not only a pioneer in addiction treatment nationally, but she is a hero to me personally,” said Rossetto’s husband and CEO of Beit T’Shuvah, Rabbi Mark Borovitz. “She believed in me when I was a convict, and completely changed the direction of my life which is now focused on helping others. Today I’m beaming with pride as my beautiful wife receives this overdue recognition for her tireless efforts to change lives over the past 30 years.”
Thirty years ago, Harriet Rossetto responded to a small classified ad in the Los Angeles Times: “… person of Jewish background and culture to work with Jewish criminal offenders … M.S.W. required.” Rossetto landed the job, and as a self-titled “Jewish Jail Lady,” she helped offenders with substance use disorders re-enter the community. She quickly became frustrated, however, by the lack of resources and the revolving door of recidivism.
With a one-time grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), she bought an old house and called it Beit T’Shuvah — the House of Return and Redemption. Since then, it has grown from the original halfway house model to a nationally recognized faith-based recovery community serving people with substance use disorders and their families. Today, Beit T’Shuvah houses 140 residents and 100 employees (80 percent of whom are former residents) and continues to provide treatment to people who have limited or no financial resources.
“To be selected to work with the White House to reform drug policy is such an honor, and an incredible opportunity to help more people,” said Rossetto.
“Through work therapy, creative expression and social enterprise, we watch with great pride as each person breaks the bonds of addiction by recovering their passion and discovering their purpose.”
Visit www.BeitTShuvah.org for more information.
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