Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Vayeshev Yakov: Achieving True Jewish Unity Through a Divine Division of Labor

An elaboration of the teachings of Rav Hirsch on the first two psukim of the parsha By Yakov Lowinger Rav Hirsch says of this week’s parsha that the overlooked feature of the original sinah and kinah — between Yosef and his brothers — was that they could have just simply focused on their connection to […]

The Teshuva Journey: A Very Unlikely Messenger

Many ba’alei teshuva can point to a particular person or event which started them on their journey towards becoming Orthodox. Whether it’s a Rabbi, a Shabbas invitation or a co-worker, there is often a fixed point of disembarkation. A Buddhist priest in the farming village of Yobito, Hokkaido in northern Japan was the inspiration that […]

Minhag BT

A BT goes to his Rabbi and says “Rabbi, I’m a Baal Teshuvah and since my father wasn’t religious, I don’t have any minhagim.” The Rabbi, with a hint of a grin, slowly shakes his head from side to side and says “That’s not true.” The BT doesn’t understand. The Rabbi continues: “Your father didn’t […]

Safety Amidst the Ice Floes

By Yaakov My brother, living half the year in Hungary and half the year in California, writes me, living in Israel, a detailed analysis of the political situation vis a vis Iran, Israel, the U.S., etc., and at the end of his cogent points, adds, AND THE ONE PLACE I WOULD NOT WANT TO BE […]

What the Ba’alei Teshuva Do for Us

By Jonathan Rosenblum Jewish Media Resources The theme of this year’s annual convention of Agudath Israel of America is the necessity to “Wake the Sleeping Giant” by involving all members of the Torah community in efforts to reach out to non-Orthodox and unaffiliated Jews. We are fast approaching the point where intermarriage and assimilation will […]

Thanksgiving – Sanctifying Hashem By Being a Mentsch

This article was originally posted on November 19th, 2006. For many BTs, Thanksgiving can be an easy or tortuous day to negotiate. R Gil Student posted a link to an article by R’ Michael Broyde that set forth the various views of Gdolim on the issue of partcicipating in the celebration and related issues such […]

Thanksgiving – The Holiday where Turnabout is Fair Play

Today I got an email from Mark and David, with a call for more posts. Among the suggested headings was: Thanksgiving – the official holiday of BTs. Hmmm, I didn’t realize it was “The” official holiday! But then again, I get it. For me, it’s more a matter of it being: “Thanksgiving – The Holiday […]

What Do You Find Precious About Judaism?

Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein gave a great shiur recently titled “Ahmedinejad, the Jews, and You: What We Can Do to Protect the Jews From Their Worst Enemies?” You can download it here. Rabbi Milstein points out that we are facing real danger from Iran and Ahmedinejad. He illustrates that Achdus is the key to our protection […]

The Books in the Dumpster

Anxious Ima Last Wednesday morning , sometime between sunrise and the arrival of the school bus, I took a few dozen of my secular books off the shelf and deposited them in the green plastic dumpster outside of my house. This wasn’t easy for me; there is something deep in my soul that resists the […]

Some MP3 Sites

Torah Anytime Simple To Remember Torah Media YU Torah Online Teach it To Me Classic Sinai Aish Audio

In Defense of Art Scroll

I am no fan of ArtScroll’s historical and hashkafic perspective, but in my opinion, their Machzorim and Siddurim have enabled more Jews to fulfill the mitzvah of Tefilah properly and with some hashkafic perspectives than at any time in Jewish history.No other Sidddur or Machzor contained a halachically proper text, halachic instructions ( i.e. HaMelech […]

The Nachas of a BT Parent

By Esti As a BT, and a BT woman who always liked to sing, I’m a bit frustrated. Of course the outlets for women singers (not that I was ever a professional but I’ve been told I have a perfectly trainable voice) are few and far between. So I’ve resigned myself to singing in my […]

How Can We Overcome the Barriers that Keep People from Accepting Torah?

A recent article in Hamodia presented a quote from Rabbi Tzvi Inbal, the Baalei Teshuva co-founder of Arachim. Arachim pioneered the seminars which present the Evidence of the Truth of Torah. Rabbi Inbal stated: “Arachim has spent years compiling research on what motivates people to grow. For a person to change his life, he needs […]

Report from The Aish Conference

My wife and I spent this past Thursday through Sunday at the Aish Partner’s Conference. The term partner in this context is anybody involved with in Aish in any way. The organization aims to be inclusive and if you want to: help bring Jews back to Judaism; avocate for Israel; or just learn Torah, then […]

Some Links

David Linn invites everybody to the Achdus Action this Moetzae Shabbos 11/10, 8 p.m. at the New York Hall of Science. Steve Brizel has his Parsha Roundup for Toldos. Dixie Yid has an Introduction to Kabballah shiur in English by Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern. A Simple Jew has some thoughts by Rabbi Ozer Bergman on […]

Orthodox Individualism: Is There a Model?

By Reb Yaacov Yisroel Bar-Chaim There’s much confusion about the role of the individual within Orthodox Judaism. This is especially true among spiritually sensitive newcomers. Well after accepting the theological and emotional rewards involved in performing the “big Mitzvahs” like holidays, kashrus and daily prayers, these often very intelligent, critically thinking neophytes find themselves questioning […]

Mazal Tov to Ilanit Meckley on the Birth of a Baby Girl

Mazal Tov to Ilanit Meckley and her husband, of Houston, on the recent birth of a baby girl. The baby was named Yael Devora this past Shabbos. In addtion to the Mazal Tov, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Ilanit for her contributions detailing the Meckleys’ growth as Torah observant Jews. Yael […]


I once again have the privilege of co-chairing the Achdus Chinese Auction which will be held this year at the New York Hall of Science on Motzei Shabbos, November 10th. Now, most of us that live in Jewish neighborhoods on the east coast are aware that this time of the year is “chinese auction season”. […]

Avigdor’s Helping Hand

A friend of mine tragically lost his son in September 2005 and started an organization in his memory. Here is the mission statement for Avigdor’s Helping Hand: Avigdor’s Helping Hand seeks to provide (i) immediate, emergency and short term relief, both financial and non-financial, to families in our communities who have sustained the recent loss […]

A Fainthearted Salesperson

My mother, of blessed memory, sold cosmetics for over 50 years. She was the proverbial saleswoman who could sell anyone the Brooklyn Bridge. She could convince anyone to do just about anything. Our family still jokes about the household item she put up for sale, that wasn’t the kind of thing anyone would buy, and […]

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