Posted on | September 13, 2006 | By Rabbi Alter Klein | 18 Comments
I am sitting at my desk thinking, “what do I write about?” I could write about my feelings about the war since I live in Israel. I could also write about Elul. I then realized that I am not supposed to be writing a regular torah column. It is supposed to be for Baalei Teshuva and their issues. I ask myself have we burned out in our mission?
The website started off with a bang and has continued over the last year. It has evolved into something, but what? Is it fulfilling its goal? Have we come up with workable solutions to the Baalei Teshuvah issues? Does anyone really care anymore? Have we become just another torah blog on the web? I leave that for you to think about.
What about the solutions for all the issues that have been brought up here on BeyondBT? Here is one more go at it. After careful thinking of the issues at stake, I would think to identify that one of the biggest issues facing BTs today is the lack of access to Rabbanim and mentors to help them transition and grow throughout their frum lives, ie: from “the cradle to the grave”.
I originally thought the answer was to focus on the macro and bring it to the micro. However I am convinced that it needs to be done in the micro and that will then spread to lots of little micros across the world and that will then make up the macro. Let me explain what I mean. Every community/synagogue needs to establish a mentor system, various members of the community who have the ability and time to mentor BT families. They wouldn’t be their halachic poskim however they would be there to model Torah Judaism and show them how to deal with the issues that BTs didn’t grow up with. They would be their “surrogate” parents. The Rabbi of the community would try to identify who the mentors should be and they would undergo so called “Sunday” training sessions. The community itself would pay their Rav extra $$$ so he doesn’t need to have a second job so he can be more involved in the daily life experiences of the community. Being that the mentors are local, shabbos could be a shared experience by all on a regular basis.
I think by approaching it from the micro level, there is no need to wait for some fundraisers to raise “big” money to establish another organization, which probably won’t happen and might not be the solution either. Being that many of the issues that BTs face are ones that need regular personal attention, the local community is nearest and hopefully dearest. There are a lot of nice communities out there that I am sure have qualified mentors and Ravs and also the ability to do what I am saying.
The biggest question to be asked is then what about the people that don’t live near one of these communities. It is a question that I don’t have an answer to other than move. I don’t mean that sarcastically. The Talmud tells us in various places the importance of living in a torah community. I realize it isn’t always so simple to pick up and move but I’ll leave that for a different article.
We need the 1st community to stand up and say that they’ll do it. There are various Rabbis that can help get it started. Then, once going this would be the model for all other communities. Do we have any takers out there…………