Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

WordPress Is Good To BTs

Last week we upgraded to a new version of our WordPress software. Our hosting provider Dreamhost has this great feature called one click installs which enabled us to do the upgrade by pressing a button and waiting about a minute. It worked like a charm, B’ezras Hashem. One of the major advantage of the new […]

Every Today is Another Chance to Get Things Right

I saw this slogan on a bus while walking to work. Often, you don’t find interesting slogans like this on a bus. Where did the quote come from? You might be surprised if I tell you it’s from a TV show. The TV show is called ‘Daybreak’ and recently premiered on. The premise of the […]

Judaism in a Blogshell

This past Rosh Hoshana, I wanted to be able to give over the general framework of Judaism in a short time. So, I wrote this piece. Thanks to David and my brother-in-law Bruce for their editing efforts. Please help me further enhance this piece with your questions and comments below. Thanks. The Plan (Derech Hashem) […]

The Three Seforim That Have Had the most Impact on Me

I know I’m probably stretching the meaning of ‘seforim’ just a little bit, but I’m taking it to mean any book with Jewish / religious content. It’s a matter of necessity, as the number of ‘traditional’ seforim I’ve read can probably be counted on a couple of hands. While I love books about Judaism, and […]

Looking for Yeshiva Suggestions for a Mature BT With a Passionate Approach to Yiddishkeit

We recently received the followed request for suggestions for an American Yeshiva for a mature BT. I’ve been shomer mitzvos for about 5 years, and am still struggling to get a foundation in learning. I’m exploring opportunities to step back from full time work and learn in yeshiva. Israel is a possibility that I’m exploring. […]

Steve Brizel’s Eretz Yisroel Travel-blog

Steve Brizel is in Eretz Yisroel and he has been blogging his trip in the comments to this post. We’ve collected some of the comments here, but read the whole thread for the commenting back and forth. For many of us in Chuz L’aretz, one of the best ways of cultivating and maintaining a love […]

Al Hanisim – Chanukah Scenes From Israel

Gil Ronen has made a new short film, showing Chanukah scenes in Israel. http://films.izfone.com/chanukah

Of Wisdom… Secular and Sacred

Rabbi Dovid Schwartz Chanukah celebrates more than a miraculous victory; it celebrates the triumph of the miraculous over the natural, and the sacred over the mundane and desecrated. We identify this triumph of the miraculous with establishing the preeminence of Torah vis a vis generic wisdom. (Mosarta…zaidim b’yad oskei torahsecha =[and] you delivered… the malicious […]

You’ve Got To Give A Little

By Sarah Rochel Hewitt Originally published in the National Jewish Outreach Program’s Bereshith Newsletter. When I was five or six years old, my parents gave me a scarf for the eighth night of Chanukah. I can picture all of the candles alight on the kitchen table as my dad and brother went to the basement […]

First Orthodox Jew to be Elected in New Hampshire

A Simple Jew emailed us the following article: Jason Bedrick is the first Orthodox Jew (a Lubavitcher) to be elected in New Hampshire. Windham – A young man who does not shake hands with women was recently elected to the state Legislature, and the support of several members of the Salem Women’s Club was instrumental […]

Lessons from T-Shirts

Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv (the Alter of Kelm) is quoted as saying that the whole world is a house of Mussar (ethical instruction) and that each person is a mussar sefer (book). If we look around there are lessons everywhere. Here are two T-Shirt slogans that contain mussar vorts. Shirt #1 I once was on […]

My Sister’s Wedding

Baruch Hashem, on Sunday, December 3 in a sunny loft in midtown Manhattan, I was zoche to take part in something very precious – a kosher chuppah between two irreligious Jews, my sister Nora and her new husband Jeff. As has been discussed here many times before, family simchas come with shailos. Had Nora and […]

Chanukah Insight – Two Sides of the Same Coin? or The Miracle of the Chocolate Coins

Last year I was asked to speak at a small Chanukah gathering for a kiruv organization. The crowd was a mixed one ranging from not- yet-shomer shabbos to fully frum for 15 years. As always, I didn’t know what to speak about until the night before. This is what I said: Last night my family […]

Looking for Our Brothers

A few years back I found out something about myself that surprised and amazed me. It was Erev Yom Kippur and a colleague of mine, we’ll call him Zalman, and I were on our way to Williams College (a small liberal arts school in western Massachusetts). We were going to meet with some college students […]

Embarrassment and Truth

A few nights ago, I visited the local Whole Foods grocery store with my 9 year old son. The store is new in our neighborhood, it’s pretty, well organized, mostly oriented around organic products, a high percentage of which are kosher. The employees also make a point of being friendly. We browsed through the produce, […]

Chanukah: Celebrating the Liberation From American Hellenism

We are all familiar with the story of Chanukah – how the Greeks wanted to subvert Jewish life by injecting it with Greek values. Unlike Purim where Haman wanted to destroy the Jewish body as well as obliterate any remnant of Torah learning and mitzvah observance, the Greeks had a much more seemingly innocuous approach […]

Why Do Comment Spammers Hate BTs

As the blog has grown in popularity over the past six months or so, the comment spammers have taken notice. For those of you that are unaware, comments spammers flood blog comment sections in the hopes that you’ll click on their link and improve their Google page ranking. In order to keep the overwhelming majority […]

The Magic Pill for At Risk Behavior

The Magic Pill for At Risk Behavior By Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch I know how badly parents want to find a cure for their teenagers’ at-risk behavior and make their problems somehow go away. We live in a pill-oriented society where there are endless, over-the-counter brands of medicines for you name it, and we have begun […]

Pre Shabbos Links

Jewish Heritage Center Chinese Auction The Jewish Heritage Center is having its annual Chinese Auction at the Shaare Tova Ballroom, 82-33 Lefferts Blvd, Kew Gardens, on Saturday, December 9th at 8:30 PM. Admission is $18 (which includes a Free $20 Raffle Ticket) and $10 for children 3-13. It’s a great organization and there is a […]

The Ladder

I heard a beautiful thought this past Shabbas on Parshat Vayeitze which illuminates an important idea for ba’alei teshuva. The speaker didn’t know the original source for the idea, so I would love to know if anyone has heard this before and knows where it came from. Towards the beginning of the Parsha we read […]

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