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

What Rabbi Twersky distinguished from many other orthodox practitioners was his desire to see outside his community. In one of his works, “The Shame Born in Silence: Spouse’s Abuse in the Jewish Community” (1996), he pointed to a problem, with many Hasid leaders arguing that they would not be able to, without giving police or outside information, to the island community Within must be carefully dealt with. Officials.

Abraham Joshua Heschel Twersky was born in Milwaukee on October 6, 1930, where his parents emigrated after leaving Russia in 1927. His father, Jacob, a sixth-generation descendant of the grand rabbi of Chernobyl, was a rabbi of the Beth Jehudah Synagogue in Milwaukee. His mother, Deoraha Leah (Halberstam) Twersky, was the daughter of a grand rabbi of Bobov, one of the largest Hasidic sects.

Abraham was the third of five brothers, each of whom became rabbis but was given an advanced secular education, as well as a college and bachelor’s degree, some very tried for Hasid. She attended public schools in Milwaukee, and starred in the Christmas drama in second grade. When her mother went to school, the principal thought she had gone there to complain; Instead, he told the principal that if his son’s Jewish upbringing was not strong enough to allow him to play the second grade game, it was his family that failed him.

He received his rabbinical ordination in 1951 through the Hebrew Theological College in Chicago (now in Skokie, Il +). While working with his father’s synagogue as an assistant rabbi, he counseled others, but realized that members of the congregation always turned to their father for advice about their intimate personal problems. He made the decision, explaining in an interview with the National Council of Jewish Women in 1988 that he could enhance his talent by studying psychiatry.

“So I went to medical school to become a psychiatrist, which is what I wanted to do as a rabbi,” he said.

He received his medical degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee, a Jesuit institution. When actor Danny Thomas, a Catholic raised in the Midwest, learned during lunch with Marquette officials that a student who was an Orthodox rabbi needed up to $ 4,000 to complete his medical studies, He told the officers, “They’ve got it,” and made good on his pledge.

Rabbi Twerski trained as a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh. He was to hold a teaching position at the university, but after Sister Adele at St. Francis Hospital should tell him about the hospital’s needs for a strong mental health program, he became director of psychiatry. He lived there for 20 years.

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