Posted on | June 5, 2006 | By Belle | 18 Comments
One thing I have learned from reading Beyond BT for approximately five months now is that it is impossible to box all BTs into one group or category and make generalizations about them. Some of our bloggers and readers have been frum 1 year or less, some are not yet completely Shomer Shabbos but are interested, some are past their 20-year point; some have settled into a modern-Orthodox community, some are black-hat yeshivish, some chassidish, some dati leumi, some in-between; some are rabbonim or in klei kodesh, some are struggling in the world of commerce, some are busy wives and mothers, and some are working at jobs paying a high-level parnassa.
To answer the question, therefore, should BTs be Doing Kiruv, and how much, would of course depend on which group of individuals one is addressing. However, there is one advantage to doing some amount of kiruv that everyone (BT or FFB) can benefit from, and that is that it reinforces in oneself, and teaches one’s children, the answers to the larger questions of Yiddishkeit which newcomers inevitably ask, such as “Why be Jewish (or Orthodox),” “How do I know it’s true,” and so on.
When a family and guests are sitting around a Shabbos table and children hear their parents confidently explaining the reasons why we know Torah is true during regular table conversation, they hear two things: 1) the answer, to the extent they can understand it, which will reinforce their emunah and their hashkafos ha Torah; and 2) that there is permission to ask such a question.
It is unlikely for a child exposed to such conversations on a regular basis to be frustrated intellectually and emotionally with their way of life (assuming the parents are sincere and do not act hypocritically). The child knows there are answers to his or her questions, and most importantly, knows that the home is an open place to address all kinds of questions, about G-d, Torah, Jewish practice and personal issues. This becomes invaluable in the teenage years, where the child is forming his own personality and is in the process of making the Torah his own. As a side benefit, the children learn ahavas yisroel by seeing their parents welcome Jews who look and practice differently than they do.