Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Bad Religious Experiences

Reposted with Permission From A Meaningful Life by Rabbi Simon Jacobson. Ths article was first posted here. Dear Rabbi J., You are perhaps the only Rabbi that I feel I can write to about the following painful subject. I grew up in a very secular home, with no faith and no G-d. My parents were […]

OU Initiates Literary Kosher Certification

June 27, 2008 NY, NY In response to growing consumer demand for kosher literature, the OU announced today that they have launched a new literary division and hechsher, and that the first set of 30 approved classic novels has been released today in special OU editions. Staffed entirely by Baalei Teshuva with Master’s Degrees, the […]

Mazal Tov to Steve and Linda Brizel

Mazal Tov to Steve and Linda Brizel on the birth of their first grandchild, a baby girl, to their children Shani and Ari Sendic.

Becoming Close and Attached to Hashem

From Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh I – Paragraphs 39-42 39 We will try to inspire the reader to want to become close and attached to Hashem. Each of us knows that the day will come when he will take leave of this world, as it says, “Every man dies eventually.” (Berachos 17a). Everyone wants to be […]

Getting My Learning Back on Track

When I was originally becoming observant I used to learn a few hours a day. I spent 6 months in Eretz Yisroel in Yeshiva, but even when I came back I was still learning at least 2 hours a day. Five years later, I have a pretty good knowledge in halacha and I’m down to […]

What My Rabbi Told Me About Different Levels of Observance

(Disclaimer: This is what my Rabbi told me for my particular situation. It does not necessarily apply to others even in similar situations.) When my husband and I got married, neither of us was observant. Since I was the one who grew in Judaism and he wasn’t, I changed but should not expect him to […]

Torah is Cool on You Tube

If you haven’t see the Blueprint Video take a look and send the link to your family and friends. If enough people view it, perhaps it will make the most viewed pages, spreading the joy of learning Torah to even more Jews.

Authentic Kiruv – Part 1

By Dan Illouz This article first appeared on Thank God, in the last few decades, the Jewish World has experienced a movement of return (Teshuva) to it’s tradition. This movement has been lead by “Kiruv” movements. I want to explore, through very short thoughtful posts, what authentic Kiruv should be like according to Torah. […]

Choked to Life

”Thank Hashem for His kindness, and His wonders you should tell over to people” (Tehillim 107, 21). The Shelah notes that this passuk starts in the singular (kindness) and concludes in the plural (wonders). Furthermore while we thank Hashem for kindness, when we speak to other people we are told to mention His wonders. What […]

Writing an Inspirational Story

By William Kolbrener – First Published at I re-connected with an old friend last week. We had been in high school together (though not in the same class), and when a mutual friend let me know that Justin (not his real name) was going to be in town, the two of us set up […]

Considerations When Taking on New Chumras

Let’s say someone is considering whether or not to accept a given chumra (stringency). Let us use cholov yisroel as an example. He speaks to his rov, or rebbe, or mentor, and that person lays out the issues for him but ultimately says, as many rabbonim will in such a situation, “Those are the issues. […]

Accepting Rabbinic Authority – Is The Individualistic American Outlook a Deterrent?

When we think of America, one of the core principles is freedom. The Bill of Rights enshrined and gave freedom a legal foundation. Much of American history, whether in the debates against slavery and its expansion, the protection of one’s right to think, speak and worship or not to worship and even an asserted right […]

Pirkei Avos from the Top

It’s week one again for Pirkei Avos and you can download an English translation here (Translation by Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld from his commentary at For those who don’t like to download PDFs, here is Chapter One: Chapter 1 1. “Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it Joshua. Joshua transmitted it to the […]

Groups Within Orthodoxy

A while ago, Steg, a Beyond BT commentor defined some principles of Left Wing Modern Orthodoxy in a comment. We thought it might be useful to define some principles of the other wings of Orthodoxy. This is a work in progress and your comments and corrections are appreciated. Left Wing MO Right Wing MO Left […]

A Call to Normalcy

Whenever I bring my family to the East Coast, they pick up little nuances from the observant Jews of the New York area. “The counselor said I should take two dollars and pick myself up a nawmal swim cap,” my six-year-old daughter told me. Somehow in a NY accent, the word “normal” contains subtleties we […]

The Heart Really Matters

Why do we read the Book of Ruth on Shevuos? One answer is that Ruth was the great-grandmother of King David who was born on Shevuos and 70 years later died on Shevuos. Still, what does King David have to do with Shevuos in particular? Our sages tell us that “the king is the heart […]


As I was making pizza the other night, I was listening to A CLASSIC CASE: The London Symphony Orchestra Plays The Music Of Jethro Tull. My son (7 years old) runs into the kitchen as Ian Anderson is going crazy on the flute and says, “Whoa! Abba, is that a new Piamenta album?” “No, I […]

The Teshuva Journey: A Bumpy Road

Joel Kessler’s path towards becoming Shabbat observant was filled with potholes, but he was guided by G-d’s hand and in the end received an unbelievable salvation. Joel’s journey began in April of 2005. His father had just passed away and he made a commitment to go to synagogue every day to recite the Kaddish prayer […]

Are We Goal-less in Golus?

I’ve been in the frum community for over 12 years and I don’t see the goals of Torah articulated in a clear and consistent way. Do we accept the premise that the goal of Torah and mitzvos is to come as close to G-d as possible and to help the entire world come close to […]

The Pesach Hotel Controversy

It started with this article by Rabbi Jonathon Rosenblum titled Five Star Pesach: I will never forget an address by Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman at an Agudath Israel of America convention on the topic “Living a Life of Ruchnios amidst Gashmius.” I had never before heard Rabbi Wachsman, and I practically jumped out of my seat […]

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