Abraham Twerski, Who Merged 12 Steps and the Torah, Dies at 90


What distinguished Rabbi Twerski from many different Orthodox therapists was his willingness to look outdoors his group. In considered one of his works, “The Shame Borne in Silence: Spouse Abuse within the Jewish Community” (1996), he referred to as consideration to an issue that many Hasidic leaders argued ought to be dealt with discreetly throughout the insular group, with out informing the police or outdoors authorities.

Abraham Joshua Heschel Twerski was born on Oct. 6, 1930, in Milwaukee, the place his mother and father had immigrated in 1927 after leaving Russia. His father, Jacob, the sixth-generation descendant of the grand rabbi of Chernobyl, was the rabbi of Beth Jehudah Synagogue in Milwaukee. His mom, Devorah Leah (Halberstam) Twerski, was the daughter of a grand rabbi of Bobov, one of many largest Hasidic sects.

Abraham was the third of 5 brothers, every of whom grew to become a rabbi however was given a sophisticated secular training as nicely, incomes school and graduate levels, one thing only a few Hasidim attempt for. He attended public faculties in Milwaukee, and in second grade acted in a Christmas play. When his mom visited the varsity, the principal thought she was there to complain; as a substitute, she instructed the principal that if her son’s Jewish upbringing was not robust sufficient to climate a second-grade play, it was his household that had failed him.

He obtained his rabbinical ordination in 1951 by the Hebrew Theological College in Chicago (now in Skokie, Ill.). While working along with his father’s synagogue as an assistant rabbi, he relished counseling others however realized that the members of the congregation would at all times flip to his father for recommendation about their most intimate private issues. He determined, he defined in a 1988 interview with the National Council of Jewish Women, that by finding out psychiatry he may improve his personal expertise.

“So I went to medical faculty to change into a psychiatrist to do what I needed to do as a rabbi,” he stated.

He obtained his medical diploma at Marquette University in Milwaukee, a Jesuit establishment. When the actor Danny Thomas, a working towards Catholic who had been raised within the Midwest, realized throughout a lunch with Marquette officers {that a} scholar who was an Orthodox rabbi wanted as much as $4,000 to finish his medical research, he instructed the officers, “He’s acquired it,” and made good on his pledge.

Rabbi Twerski educated as a psychiatrist on the University of Pittsburgh. He was imagined to take up a educating place on the college, however after Sister Adele at St. Francis Hospital let him know of the hospital’s wants for a stronger psychological well being program, he grew to become its director of psychiatry. He stayed there for 20 years.



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