I have to give my “hats off” to the people who decided to start this website. I wish that the Baalei Tsheuva world would have just melted and mixed with the FFB world to the point where you wouldn’t know the difference between any Yid. However, we all realize that that isn’t true.
I see the number one problem of BTs is that they don’t have a Rav, thereby having no guide through the process of life. Many BTs studied somewhat in Yeshiva or seminary but then once they moved on they never kept in “real” touch with their Rebbaim or Rebbetzins (I am not dealing with who’s to blame, that’s not the purpose of the article). Then there are those who never learned in Yeshiva. What’s a Yid supposed to do? Many times the local shul where you daven doesn’t have a Rav who can handle the issues of the FFBs, let alone the BT whom he doesn’t really understand.
What can we do? This website can only be a beginning and not an end. I realize that the Motzei Shabbos programs are a wonderful 1st step, but it is just that. We all need a way to vent our concerns and issues however what we really need to do is to solve the issue of the “wandering” BT. We need some form of infrastructure that can deal with BTs whereever they live and what ever stage in life they are. Am I looking for a miracle? Perhaps. But if we don’t try, we are guilty of watching some of our brethren drown in this world.
One of the ideas I have thought of is the following: a world wide organization with an 800 number (hotline) that would be an address for the BT to turn to in case of need. Basically similar to the wonderful medical referral organizations that exist. We could have qualified Rabbis in most major cities that we could refer people to. I know it sounds like a dream but if we had a central organization to manage and oversee the process then maybe it would work. The organization could charge a reasonable membership fee as well as raise money. We could have a once a year seminar/shabbaton in a central location where we would have forums dealing with the issues that are most important to us, our own “Aguda” convention. We could even publish a quarterly magazine devoted to these issues.
The only cost would be to administrate it and for counselors. Ideally we could pay the Rabbis that are involved so they could dedicate some serious time to this in their local communities but I realize that requires an enormous amount of funding.
I want to hear from you. What ideas do you have? How can we solve this challenge? We need to realize that since most of the Jewish world isn’t frum yet, this problem is only going to grow as more and more people become frum or worse, prevent people from becoming frum. This needs to be addressed now. Go for it.
For anyone who wishes to respond privately, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.