Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

A Deeper Understanding of Rabbinic Authority

Several years ago, my wife and I had a very intelligent Baal Teshuva at our home many times, who had become observant through one of the Baalei Teshuva yeshivos in Israel. Over time, as he learned that things in Yiddishkeit are a little bit more complex than he had originally believed, he started to get […]

Recharging our BT Batteries

Twice a year, I go to Israel to see my children and grandchildren who live there. This post was written in Israel. One thing about being a BT is that you never have to let yourself get jaded. You can always recall what brought you on the BT journey, and being in Israel can supercharge […]

Bridging the Gemora Gap

It seems that many BTs never bridge the Gemora Gap. That is they never develop the skills to really be able to sit and learn Gemora. What would you suggest for such people who can’t go to learn in Yeshiva for a few years: 1) Thank G-d for Artscroll and learn Daf Yomi 2) Put […]

Rabbi Daniel Feldman on Organ Donations in Halacha

Rabbi Daniel Feldman masterfully spoke this morning on one of the important topics of our time ‘Organ Donations in Halacha’ Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the key issues in this topic. The mp3 of the shiur can be be downloaded here.

Doing the Right Thing in a Tough Situation

Rabbi Lazer Brody originally posted this good advice here: Josh from New England sent me the following question via my dear friend A Simple Jew: I wanted to get your 2 cents on something. It’s my rabbi and my trouble seeing him as “my rabbi”. I am used to warm and caring rabbis, however he […]

How Becoming More Observant Helped Me Beat the Xmas blahs.

By Jewish Deaf Motorcycle Dad Every year I used to start getting depressed after Thanksgiving. The kids in school would be excitedly talking about Xmas, the teachers would put up Xmas decorations, and we’d always have assemblies to watch various Xmas movies. Sure, they would toss a dreidle or menorah in with the decorations, or […]

Flipping Out? Myth or Fact? The Impact of the “Year in Israel” – A Review

One of the most talked about issues within the Modern Orthodox world, whether in its publications such as Tradition 1, the Yeshiva University student media 2, a fairly popular , if stereotypic novel 3 and many a Shabbos table, is the effect of a year of study in an Israeli yeshiva for post high school […]

Tenth of Teves Reading and Listening

Rebbetzin Heller on Lost in Translation: The Month of Tevet What’s the difference between the Septuagint (the 70-man translation) and ArtScroll? Ptolemy wanted to Hellenize the Torah. He wanted it in his library along with the other classics of his time. To him it was inconceivable that a God-given document and one written by man […]

Dealing with Being Childless

By “Shifra” As an (as-of-yet) childless BT, who married much later than most, I’m finding myself at the periphery of not only the FFB community, but also the BT community. It’s hard to find a safe place; it is the primary topic throughout the frum velt. The discussion at the tables at simchas inevitably comes […]

When the Faucet is Turned Off Too Soon

By, Charnie Virtually everyone who visits this website has had to deal with the subject of intermarriage, be it among family or friends. In my family, intermarriage is rampant on my mother’s side. Within the next generation, nebich, there will be no Jews remaining within some families. So why is one particular case affecting me […]

Divrei Torah To Warm The Jewish Soul

Rabbi Moshe Zionce Vayigash means to approach. Yehuda approaches Yosef. The deeper wisdom explains that each of the 7 shepperds (Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Moshe, Aaron, Yosef and Dovid) have their own persona. Yosef¹s distinct characteristic is to bring close and to join. This week¹s parsha begins with Yehuda coming close to Yosef. There are many […]

The Success of the Teshuva Movement

On the National Jewish Population Survey (2000-2001) presentation regarding Orthodox Jews, slide 9 presents the following statistics: Of the 587,000 Jews who were raised Orthodox and currently consider themselves Jewish – 240,000 are currently Orthodox – 347,000 are currently non-Orthodox Of the 297,000 Jews who were raised Jewish and currently consider themselves Orthodox – 240,000 […]

Teives of the Lonely Heart

What are we left with when that last of the nine lights on our dining room window ledge flickers out? My life was transformed when I was offered admission to what seemed to be the greatest college in the world, well before U.S. News & World Report started saying year after year that, indeed, it […]

Grampa’s Menorah

In my family, there are precious few “religious heirlooms”. In fact, other than this menorah, I can really only think of my Grandmother’s small, white, swan-shaped porcelain honey dishes used by my mother each Rosh Hashanah. This menorah is not much to look at. Although it is pure silver, it is small, a bit slanted […]

My Two Cents on BT-Ness

By Bob Miller By now, it should be clear that anything a BT writes about BT-ness strongly reflects his/her own life experiences and personality. This has led to confusion and even acrimony in Beyond BT discussions, as each commenter knows deep in his/her heart what the teshuva process “really” is, while each reader or later […]

An Innocent Mistake?

By Reb Yaacov Yisroel Bar-Chaim One of the most symbolic mistakes I’ve ever made as a newly religious Jew was the way I had been pronouncing – for YEARS! – a verse in the Hallel HaGadol. You see, I had always enjoyed flowing with this series of ki l’oilam chasdo praises for all those fabulous […]

A Privileged Trip

Because I have four children in Israel, I travel there often to see them, and I belong to a frequent-flyer club. As a result, when I purchased my ticket for the trip from which I am coming back as I write this, I was able to get a one-way upgrade to a premium class. I […]

Is Chanukah A Good Time for Family Kiruv?

Scenario 1 Aunt Marcia, who lives in a town with a dwindling Jewish population informs you that she has proudly placed her electric Chanukah menorah in the front window. She has also made it clear that a friend of her said that you can use the electric menorah instead of candles. Do you: 1) Politely […]

The Chanukah Drama

By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz Suppose you read two reviews in competing newspapers about the same Broadway play. One went something like this: “This drama tells the coming of age story of a young Knight. Set in medieval Scotland, the hero’s dilemmas still speak to modern audiences. The dialogue was crisp but even after a thorough […]

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