Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Born Anew or Born a Jew?

Rabbi Dovid Schwartz Over the past several years a number of special “dedicated” Shabosos have emerged on the frum Jewish scene. We have AJOP and Torah U’Mesorah conventions, various Kiruv Outfits running Seminar weekends, a Hatzolah appeal Shabbos, a consciousness-raising Shabbos Machsom L’fee for Shmiras Halashon awareness and, on the west coast, a Shabbos Chizuk. […]

The Real Solution to Broad Communal Harmony

I am writing this for myself as well as anyone else that could benefit from it. Several years ago, someone approached Rav Mordechai Schwab, zecher tzadik livracha, and asked him to comment on a statement of Rav Shach regarding the Chabad movement. (This was before the Rebbe’s petira.) Rav Schwab’s response was a complete refusal […]

Using Our Talents For Achdus (Auction)

In Rabbi Brody’s recent post “Jewgrass, or don’t throw away your past“, he points out that Hashem doesn’t want Baalei Teshuva to throw away our past – He wants us to bring it into holiness, to sanctify it. It’s the same with out skills and knowledge, Hashem wants us to use them to serve Him […]

Pre Shabbos Links

Rabbi David Schallheim on Parshat Noach – From Generation to Generation The true use of technology is to complete the Creation, as partners with the Creator. We mention this idea in the verse recited in Kiddush on Friday night: “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it He abstained from all His […]

My Name is Not Neil

I was recently having a discussion with close friend of mine about who we really are and what’s at the core of our personality. As we talked about what mitzvos we strongly identify with and how Hashem identifies with us, we got onto the topic of pasukim (verses) that are associated with our Hebrew names. […]

A Touchy Subject

Sexuality is a very touchy subject within the religious world, and understandably so. As I’ve tried to explain to my teenagers, this drive, right after the basic need for food and water (and those needs are met for most people most of the time) sexuality is the strongest natural (aka animal oriented) desire that humans […]

Four Top Misconceptions People Have About Judaism

A number of weeks ago I attended an excellent seminar in Kew Garden Hills, NY from Project Inspire, a joint initiative of Aish HaTorah and the OU aimed at creating a grass-roots outreach movement. One of the highlights of the evening was a presentation by Rabbi Chaim Samson from Aish about the four main misconceptions […]

Pre Shabbos Links and Stuff

A Simple Jew has a good post with some good comments on what to do when they order in “kosher” food at work. Here’s a comment from Akiva: Here’s what I usually say…. “I’m sorry, I really appreciate you trying but I’m somewhat of a fanatic about these things. Because of that my religious position […]

Sheep and Thinkers

A conversation I overheard during Simchas Torah. “I can’t believe how much chesed there is in your community. I’ve been to a number of different communities and I’ve never seen anything like it.” “That’s because there are kiruv rabbis here who have devoted themselves to bringing Jews back to the fold. There is a lot […]

Don’t Wait for Tragedy

Like any other community, the St. Louis Torah community is not unfamiliar with tragedy. One of our most beloved rebbes died a few years back, barely 40 years old. One of our rebbeim has a child diagnosed with cancer. Too many divorces in such a close community. But in ten years here I can’t remember […]

Driving from Teshuvah to Simcha

How many years did it take you to realize what was happening in the nusach hatefillah [the prayer liturgy] over the course of Elul and Tishrei? I’ve been at this for more than 20 years now but it was only in the last few years — when my Hebrew got good enough that I was […]

“Please Take a Child to Shul” this Simchas Torah

This week’s dvar Torah is dedicated to the heroic single mothers and fathers who are rising above their challenges and doing their very best to raise their children under trying circumstances. Countless times in the past ten years since Project Y.E.S. was founded, I have been approached by single parents, usually mothers, asking me to […]

Going Home?

As I planned my holidays this year, I decided that my travels should include the exotic locales of Providence, Rhode Island; Baltimore, Maryland; and Lakewood, New Jersey. Well known, respectively, for quaint villages, being a third of the Triple Crown and world-renowned institutions of higher learning, I was quite looking forward to seeing such a […]

Happy 100,000!

While we here on the admin side of the blog are generally not numbers watchers when it comes to blog stats, we do monitor the site to determine if we are adequately serving our readers. That being said, we are happy to note that this week, the blog surpassed 100,000 visitors (and over 293,000 hits) […]

Yom Kippur Takeaway – Forgiving Others When We’re Slighted

I was Googling for a web-based description of the origins of Avinu Malkeinu when I came across Rabbi Micha Berger’s great discussion of the trait of ma’avir al midosav – forgiving others when we are slighted: Rabbi Eliezer once went before the ark [as chazan on a fast day enacted because of a drought] and […]

Back to Yeshiva

Before we go back to Yeshiva I need to give you a little background. Though my parents were not frum, for various reasons they sent me to a Yeshiva day school for first through eighth grades. After eighth grade it was left up to me whether I would travel by train for an hour each […]

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