Gail (“There but for the Grace of God go I…”)

When I first met Gail, her twenty-three year old daughter, Dana,was incarcerated, one month away from giving birth to her second child, her other daughter, Michele, was one week out of rehab, and her son, Max, was soon to graduate from 8th grade at his Jewish day school. Talk about stress! Dana had also attended Jewish day school. My own daughter went to Jewish day school and Gail and her children could be any “typical” middle class Jewish family. I look at Dana and hope and pray that what happened to her never happens to my daughter. I look at Gail, and think “There but for the grace of God go I.” This scares the hell out of me.  


Dana’s Oxycontin addiction shattered her life and her family’s, and our film is documenting their struggles.  I’m deeply touched and extremely grateful that Gail and her wonderful family have opened up their lives to us as filmmakers. Gail could not have been more warm and welcoming to us from the moment we met her and she continues to be this way.


The birth of Dana’s baby was a mixed blessing. On one hand, a brand new beautiful baby granddaughter came into this world.  On the other hand, she was born in a prison hospital. We’re all one step away from our lives falling apart. Addiction can happen to anyone.


I love Gail, Michele, Max and Dana. Their struggles could be any of our struggles. I hope our film, TESHUVA (RETURN) will take away the shame and stigma of addiction and also of incarcerated Jews. “There but for the grace of God go I.”

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2 Responses to “Gail (“There but for the Grace of God go I…”)”

  1. gail Says:

    Rhonda, Thank you so much for all the work you do. You have touched the lives of my family with your work and your open-ness to teach us. You have opened your arms to let us share with you so many personal things about our every day lives. Thank you for helping me share my experiences more openly. You touch us all with your kindness.

    • teshuvafilm Says:

      Gail, thanks for your kind words. You’ve all been through a great deal, and as I’ve written before, you have great hearts, souls and spirits. Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for opening your lives to me and Sean. You’re amazing.

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