On Monday, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski passed away at the age of 90 in Israel. He was a well-known and respected psychologist and Torah scholar.
Rabbi Twerski spent the vast majority of his professional life in Pittsburgh, where he sought to dispel stigmas associated with mental illness, addiction, and violence, particularly within the Orthodox Jewish community spheres.
In 1972, Rabbi Twerski helped found the Gateway Recovery Center in Pittsburgh, providing a place for thousands of people to battle their addictions with proper support systems.
“Dr. Twerski is our founder, inspirational leader and the person we think of everyday as we execute our mission and vision,” said Gateway Rehabilitation Center CEO James Troup.
“Every time he spoke, people listened. He just had this aura about him. He had this real calming effect.”
In spite of its roots in Christian thought, Rabbi Twerski also was a vocal promoter of Alcoholics Anonymous, whose 12 steps he considered completely consonant with Jewish teachings. He also defended the idea of holding AA meetings in church basements, something that many strictly orthodox Jews are hesitant to do.
He also authored some 90 books that mixed the spiritual with the secular, writing about the Torah, psychology, addiction, and self-he