Beit T’Shuvah Names Senior Rabbi, “Guns & Moses” Kicks off Film Fest, Birthright Israel Excel

Notable people and events in the Jewish LA community.
July 11, 2024
Beit T’Shuvah Senior Rabbi Michael Perice (Left) Executive Director Zac Jones (Right) Photos courtesy of Beit T’Shuvah

Jewish addiction recovery community Beit T’Shuvah has appointed Rabbi Michael Perice as its senior rabbi.

His appointment was announced on June 24. 

Perice, according to a statement from the organization, will “lead Beit T’Shuvah’s congregation, which has a unique approach to faith, community and spirituality that offers individuals and families a deeply personal, meaningful healing experience.”

“As a person in long-term recovery, I have been inspired by the mission and lifesaving work of Beit T’Shuvah for many years,” Perice said. “Being its next rabbi is not only an honor, but the culmination of a spiritual, personal and professional journey.”

Perice is nationally known for his advocacy work on addiction and mental health. He currently serves as senior rabbi at Temple Sinai in Cinnaminson, New Jersey and previously served as a hospital chaplain during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s been public about his journey from struggling with opioid addiction, which prompted him to find his calling as a rabbi. He was ordained in the Reconstructionist movement.

Leadership at Beit T’Shuvah — which is a treatment center, synagogue and educational institute — welcomed Perice to the organization. 

“Rabbi Perice’s compelling story of recovery, coupled with his charisma and deep spirituality, will be a key element to help Beit T’Shuvah residents connect with their core beliefs and achieve lasting sobriety,” Beit T’Shuvah Board Chair Keith Elkins said. “Through Rabbi Perice’s leadership, Beit T’Shuvah will inspire a renewed commitment to providing soul-enriching programs and services that nurture the mind, body and spirit.” The organization also recently named Zac Jones as its executive director. Jones previously served as director of clinical services.

Sal Litvak, Mark Feuerstein, Hilary Helstein open the 19th annual Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival with the world premiere of “Guns & Moses,” a film co-written, directed and produced by Litvak, at the Saban Theater on June 19.

The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival honored several films that screened as part of its program this year.

“Guns & Moses,” a high-octane mystery thriller, was recognized with the “Festival Choice Award;” “Nina is an Athlete,” following an Israeli Paralympics athlete, received the “Audience Award for Best Documentary Film;” and “Unspoken,” about a closeted man living in a religious community,” won “Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature Film.”

The L.A. Jewish Film Festival was held from June 19-24 at locations across the city.

Yasmeen Ohebsion, Eden Hadar, Lauren Zaidel, Zoe Pessin—four Birthright Israel Excel participants from Los Angeles—gathered recently in Tel Aviv. Photo by Or Doga, courtesy of Birthright Israel Excel.

Four Los Angeles participants—Eden Hadar, Lauren Zaidel, Yasmeen Ohebsion and Zoe Pessin—were among the latest cohort of Birthright Israel Excel participants. 

Hadar is studying at Stanford University. She is majoring in Symbolic Systems and Designs. She currently has an internship at Voom and is working in software engineering. 

Zaidel is studying at Princeton University. She is majoring in Operations Research and Financial Engineering and minoring in Judaic Studies. Currently she is interning at Porsche Digital and is working in Scouting and Venturing. 

Ohebsion is studying at Tulane University. She is majoring in Finance, minoring in Marketing and Real Estate, and currently interning at F2 working as a Venture Capital Analyst.

Pessin is studying at Washington University in St. Luis. She is majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Marketing and Business of the Arts. She is interning currently at Deloitte and is working as a Digital Consultant.

Birthright Israel Excel recently welcomed to Israel 64 extraordinary college students from around the world to spend 10 weeks in Israel. Excel fellows have gone on to positions at top-tier companies. More than 1,000 Jewish young adults have participated in the highly selective Excel Fellowship and are now part of the global Birthright Israel Excel Fellows community.

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