Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Rosh Chodesh, Blogging and the New and Improved Jew

Today is Rosh Chodesh the start of the new month and I’m thinking about starting a new program: “Daven Rosh Chodesh Mussaf Like a Mensch”. All that it entails is giving an extra 30 seconds so we can take off our tefillin and all start Shomeneh Esrai together, a little less rushed. The Yetzer Hara […]

The Value of Learning

American Jewish Spirit magazine recently interviewed Mortimer Zuckerman, the well- known Jewish activist and Chairman of U.S. News & World Report and the New York Daily News. The focus of the interview was Jewish learning and Jewish Unity. Mr. Zuckerman clearly recognizes the importance of Jewish learning as evidenced by the following rhetorical question he […]

Why I want to go to Yeshiva – Part 1, The Question

My name is Mike. I am 19 years old, currently living in a small Jewish community, but soon to be making Aliyah. And my initial plans for when I arrive in Israel are to study in Yeshiva. My family thinks that I’m crazy and that I’m wasting a year of my life. I beg to […]

Ten Commandments of Parenting

Rabbi Lam recently gave a shiur on the Ten Commandments of Parenting in Toronto. Click on this link to listen to Rabbi Lam on Ten Commandments of Parenting. (To download the file to your computer, click with the right mouse button on the link and select Save Target As)

New Google Mashup Enables Davening On the Web

Well if you’re looking to catch a Minyan on the Web, you’re out of luck. But the Shulchan Aruch (90:9) does say “However, if one is faced by compelling circumstances and cannot come to the Synogogue, he should see that the time when he prays coincides the the time when the congregation prays”. I wonder […]

Observations on Administering Beyond Teshuva

As this blog has grown in leaps and bounds over the past three months, I think it’s a good time to step back and get some focus. A lot of what I have to say here arises, to a great extent, out of the numerous private e-mails we have received and, to a lesser extent, […]

Materialism and Hiddur Mitzvah

Someone recently commented here that she was shocked by the level of materialism that exists in the frum world. I have also often felt that way, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that it was an unfair judgment on my part, so I thought I’d share a bit about what caused me to change […]

Keeping in Touch with Before Teshuva Friends

Make new friends, But keep the old, One is silver, And the other gold. This was always one of my favorite songs throughout childhood. My family moved around a lot when I was younger, so it was difficult to sustain friendships while changing locations every few years. My friendships, even today, are mostly ones that […]

You Make the Call: Well Meaning Parents Give Problematic Jewish History Book

Phil emailed us the following request for comments: Suppose you’re a BT with FFB children. Your parents give a pretty Jewish history book to your 12-year-old for his birthday. You manage to look through it before your child sees it and you see that some ideas go against the 13 Principles, and the general tone […]

The Spirit of Shabbat and My Car Alarm

In the community I was involved with in St. Louis in my pre-marriage days, a particular family hosted about 25 people each week for Shabbat dinner and I had the privilege to be their guest several times. It seemed to me that this family represented the epitome of the baal teshuvah experience: beautiful home filled […]

Getting Closer to Hashem Through SOY

Although the Web does provide some excellent D’vrei Torah and such, when you really want to learn – Seforim still rule. And every Jew needs regular Torah learning as a part of their spiritual diet. So may we suggest moseying down to the SOY Seforim Sale and picking up some new material. According to their […]

On Marrying Off a Daughter

Three weeks ago my wife and I reached a new milestone. Our eldest child was married. I had always pictured that I’d be like Steve Martin in “Father of the Bride” when this time arrived; nervous, sad about “losing” my daughter, and suspicious of this new person taking her away. In reality I felt none […]

Project Inspire and One People, One Purim

I had the pleasure of going to an Aish Kiruv Seminar at the White Shul in the Five Towns last night. The first lecturer presented a very short excerpt from the Discovery Seminars. I have heard the material in much more depth many times and I think it needs an update to take into account […]

You Used to Be So Much Fun – Part 3 – Audio Post

Today we are posting the audio file for the third and final part of Rabbi Shlomo Goldberg’s lecture at the Life After Teshuva conference, titled “You Used to be So Much Fun – Relating to Non-Religious Family and Friends”. Click on the link to listen to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. (To download […]

Who Put the Baal in Baal Teshuva?

A commentor recently asked how do we define a Baal Teshuva? In the Talmud it means someone who was observant, but went off of the path and returned. Today it usually means someone whose parents where not observant, but the child became observant. But why Baal? Is anybody truly a master of Teshuva? This year […]

The Beyond BT Week in Review

As many of us shook off a record breaking snowstorm, there was warmth, inspiration and spirited debate here at Beyond Teshuva. On the heels of David Shub’s inspiring “A Baal Teshuva’s Father’s Perspectives”, we heard from Mr. Shub’s daughter, Yael with “A Baal Teshuva’s Father’s Daughter’s Perspectives”. Rabbi Lam “Tree”ted us to some Tu B’Shevat […]

The Courage for Kiruv

I am still not sure if it was a ruach shtus (foolish impulse) that motivated me to take the afternoon off from my Kollel yesterday or if it truly was a proper and appropriate decision. Whichever it was, I told my chevrusa what I planned to do (he told me I was absolutely meshuga) and […]

In Memory of My Mother-In-Law

My mother-in-law passed away the week after Rosh HaShonah. Her kevurah (burial) fell on the afternoon before Yom Kippur, effectively eliminating any period of shiva (mourning). Approaching the three-month anniversary of her petirah (passing), I hope that a short reflection on the life of the mother of a baalas tshuva might provide some closure to […]

Living A Moral Life in an Immoral World

From a Torah viewpoint, contemporary secular society often adheres to immoral values and mores. Some common scenarios for today’s BT’s are the following: A BT’s sibling gets engaged to a non-Jew. The entire family expects the BT to be happy for their sibling. The BT can either go along while their family members are rejoicing […]

Remedies for Spiritual Freeze

Dear Rabbi Brody, I don’t feel any kind of emotion when I go to synagogue. Praying seems to be a drag, and I feel nothing. I want to be a proper BT, but I just can’t seem to pray. What should I do? Thanks, FR from New Jersey Dear FR, The old Novardok Yeshiva remedy […]

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