A number of years ago, we had Rabbi Yakov Horowitz as a scholar-in-residence at our Shul. He told me at the time that he had an article coming up in the Jewish Observer which should have a positive impact on the Baalei Teshuva constituency. Here is a link to the article called Lifecycle Support for the Ba’al Teshuva Family.
In the article, Rabbi Horowitz writes:
The vast majority of ba’al teshuva programs and ba’al teshuva-oriented institutions, however, focus on the beginning of the ba’al teshuva lifecycle: transforming the unaffiliated Jew into a ben or bas Torah. There is very little “lifecycle support” for the ba’al teshuva individual who has been Torah-observant for ten or more years, and is now raising a family – with adolescent or shidduch-age children.
Further down in the article Rabbi Horowitz continues:
After the chasuna, after the first several years of marriage, after the first few children start to grow up and attend yeshiva, however, the ba’al teshuva couple, now – to external eyes – settled community members, are often still dealing with unique lifestyle issues, issues that the “frum from birth” (FFB) may never have dreamed of.
He then goes on to highlight some of the issues including Family relations, Chinuch and Yeshivos, Yamim Tovim and Adolescence and Shidduchim. He then issued a Call to Action. One wonderful fruit of that call was the 2001 “Life after Teshuva Conference” in Passaic organized by Melech and Basya Beningson of Passaic, who we are proud to have as contributors to this blog. We will be presenting some material from that conference in the weeks ahead and we hope you will participate in the ongoing discussion of the topic presented on this blog. If you want to leave a comment on which topics seem of most interest, that would be helpful.
One of the goals of the Beyond Teshuva project is to encourage Baalei Teshuva themselves to participate in building the critical support mechanisms and infrastructure necessary for of the Teshuva process.
Here are some easy ways to participate at this time:
— Send the address of this blog to a friend or relative
— Read this blog and talk about some of the ideas presented with your friends and relatives
— Leave a comment and share your thoughts and experiences
— Write a short (100-400 words) guest contributor piece sharing your story, struggles and victories. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Rabbi Horowitz and thanks in advance to our fellow Jews for helping to make the world a smaller, more loving and more caring place.