Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Pre-Pesach Links and Have A Chag Kosher V’Someach

We want to take this opportunity to wish all our readers, commentors and contributors a Chag Kosher V’Someach. May we all continue to grow together and through our efforts help bring about the final redemption. Here is a special link to all of the Beyond BT Pesach Posts from this year as well as last […]

Making Room at Our Pesach Tables

(Note: This letter was posted yesterday as a comment on my Open Letter to Girls Who Lost a Parent, a column that I wrote several months ago for Links magazine. Disclaimers: My father passed away before my fourth birthday. I am a regular contributor to Links magazine and greatly admire the efforts of Mrs. Kohn […]

Mesillas Yesharim – Chapter 1 – Concerning Man’s Duty in the World

The foundation of Saintliness and the root of perfection in the service of God lies in a man’s coming to see clearly and to recognize as a truth the nature of his duty in the world and the end towards which he should direct his vision and his aspiration in all of his labors all […]

The BT, A Stranger In A Strange Land

I became a BT 24 years ago. Prior to that, I was strictly BLT. Making the transition from BLT to BT was an adventure, filled with memories that profoundly embarrass me to this very day. After all, I didn’t know ANYTHING! I was raised in an assimilated home which spoke very little about G-d, Judaism, […]

Who’s Cleaning for Pesach?

Special thanks to Rabbi Rosenblum for permitting us to publish this piece. In fact he recently became aware of Beyond BT after Yaakov Astor’s recent post on Divorce and BT. by Jonathan Rosenblum, Yated Ne’eman, March 21, 2007 My wife has decamped for Poland with a group of seminary students. And my only daughter is […]

FFB Children of BTs Part I

Last year, we were zocheh to host Rabbi Lazer Brody for our first Beyond BT melava malka. As my wife and I were discussing my plans for getting to Passaic motzei shabbos, our (now 14 year old) daughter asked to come along. My wife and I had previously decided that we wouldn’t be bringing any […]

Pesach Advice From Experienced Jewish Homemakers.

Rivka Slatin has a nice site called, which lots of tips and techniques to organize the Jewish home. She was kind enough to let us post anything from her site that would be useful for the Beyond BT community. Pesach advice as told to me by experienced Jewish homemakers. Pesach advice collected. Being the […]

Some Links

David Linn has a picture blog at Temunot. Ron Coleman has a politics and news oriented blog at Likelihood of Success. What do you think of the Passover write up at Wikipedia? Lots of Pesach stuff at Aish. G-d willing we’re moving on to the next chapter of Mesillas Yesharim next week, so it might […]

Pesach Seder Guide

Based on a lecture given by Rabbi Raphael Butler at Holliswood Jewish Center, Queens, NY Erev Pesach 1995 Expanded by Neil Harris You can download this guide here. “In every generation one is obligated to see himself as though he himself had actually come out from Egypt.” Major themes in the Seder and symbolism: The […]

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz on Making Aliya

Recommended reading for this column – “When American Families Move to Eretz Yisroel” by Rabbi Yair Spolter of Kiryat Sefer. Dear Rabbi Horowitz: My wife and I have always had a deep love for Eretz Yisroel since we both studied there in our post high school years. Over the years, we have been discussing the […]

Divorce & BTs

In actuality, this article was started about twenty-five years ago. I was a bachur in Ohr Somayach, Yerushalayim, at the time. Despite struggles with the realities of becoming observant, I still wore a nice pair of rose-colored glasses about the world I was entering. Yes, there were challenges and even real problems, but it was […]

What’s in a Name?

When I began my journey of return six years ago, one of the first things I was encouraged to do was start using my Hebrew/Yiddish given names, Leah Hudis Esther, or at least Leah. Not only was it meant to be a new form of self-identification, reflecting my journey of teshuvah, but it also would […]

Some Links

Jonathon Rosenblum on It’s the Effort That Counts Children who are praised from an early age for their native intelligence often become obsessed with protecting their image as “smart.” They tend to give up easily when they are intellectually challenged or do not grasp things immediately. They also come to devalue effort and to view […]

Orthodox Assimilation On Campus – Part 2

By Yaakov Weinstein – Part 1 is here. Strategies for a rebbi, teacher or pulpit rabbi: 1) Never give up on a student! Let us say a rebbi tries to convince a student to skip college totally or attend Touro/YU. What happens when the student goes against the rebbi’s suggestions (due to his own thinking […]

Thoughts for Those With Non Observant Spouses

My marriage since becoming observant has been a very painful reality for me. Don’t get me wrong, I am married to a wonderful man. The painful part is that we don’t share a commitment to living a Torah life. In the Jewish community, people often talk about the “intermarriage problem.” But marrying a Jew isn’t […]

Work Situations – A Colleague’s Son’s Bar Mitzvah

A colleague’s son is having a Bar Mitzvah in a non-Orthodox setting. The son went to Hebrew school, and the father has shown some interest in Yiddishkeit. You’re invited and can’t make it to the party, but would like to purchase a gift. Do you give: 1) A non-religious gift 2) A religious article such […]

Hard Time in a Hard Holy Land

One of the most troubling threads of discussion to emerge from this blog is the firm, virtually unanimous line of warning from Americans, particularly BT’s, who have chosen to make Israel their home — or those who, having made that decision once, concluded it was the wrong one for them, and have returned to their […]

Some Links

A Simple Jew has Questions & Answers With Bob Miller – Midwestern Derech Eretz. An Excerpt: I found some remarkable articles on the Web by Professor Deborah Tannen that clarify some misunderstood aspects of New York City (and Jewish) interpersonal behavior (see here and here). The gist of this is that some aspects of NYC […]

Approaching Mesillas Yesharim

Approaching Mesillas Yesharim can be a daunting task. The Ramchal is talking about reaching very high levels and most of us are still in the starting gate. The Ramchal was a master of systemization and in Mesillas Yesharim he presents a path to reach the highest levels a person can reach in this world. It’s […]

Book Review: Shidduch Secrets

I was browsing the Aish website one day when I came across an article called “The Pickiness Factor”, the article was a shorter version of the first half of the book “Shidduch Secrets” written by Leah Jacobs and Shaindy Marks. I found certain aspects of this article to ring true to me and I decided […]

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