Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

The Teshuva Journey: Hashem Has a Sense of Humor

By Michael Gros Throughout Adele and Jack Kaufman’s life, they have repeatedly felt Hashem’s hand guiding them towards Jewish growth and observance. However the ways He has chosen to do so have been comical: their teshuva journey began at a Christian Marriage Encounter weekend, and a major turning point in their life was influenced by […]

Dealing with a Rebbe’s Comments about Dinosaurs

My son, a normal, dinosaur-loving six year old, just came home from Yeshiva to inform me that “dinosaurs never lived – the earth wasn’t created back then – what, did they float around in nothing?” And “no one’s seen a dinosaur, their bones were just put into the ground”. I do not want to contradict […]

Get An Early Start on Parsha Lech Lecha

What sets us apart as Torah Observant Jews is our honor, respect and love of Torah and to continue this relationship we must consistently learn and delve deeper into the Chumash itself. However, many of us leave the Parsha review for Shabbos itself leaving a huge amount of material to adequately cover. So why not […]

Kibud Av Vaem and Hakaras HaTov

I try to speak to my mother, may she have a long life, at least once a week.When a Yarhtzeit and any day that includes the saying of Yizkor approaches, we speak and there is a perceptible sigh in our voices as we remind each other about either the Yahrtzeit of my father ZL and […]

The Challenges of Raising a Daughter in Public School

Hi everyone, I’m a fairly new Baalat Teshuva and raising a daughter who is in elementary school. My daughter, who seems committed to Judaism, goes to public school at this time. Here are several challenges that we have had in the short time since school started. For those of you who sent your kids or […]

Vaccinating Our Children Against Prayer

I am writing this column on the train – the one AFTER the one I was supposed to catch, as I experienced that forlorn feeling when I rushed as fast as my legs would carry me, my briefcase, coat, umbrella, and take-home kosher pizza for the kids from my business meeting in Manhattan to the […]

Question of the Week Will Now Appear On Wednesdays

The question of the Week will now appear on Wednesdays.

My “Berdichever Moments” – The Legacy of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev

By Rabbi Shmuel Simenowitz Two hundred years after his passing in 1809, the influence of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev on chassidim and non-chassidim alike shines stronger than ever. His magnum opus “Kedushat Levi” is now available in English translation and continues to grip the hearts and imaginations of those who drink from it. Study […]

Bereshis Outline

The new Parsha cycle is upon us and with it is a great opportunity to increase our commitment to learn. A great tool I have found is the Chumash Outline and Parsha Summaries created by Rabbi Jonathan Rietti. When you review the outline before hand, it makes it much easier to learn the parsha. Rabbi […]

Getting Deeper Into Torah Without Going Off the Deep End – Part 1

This classic BT guide was written by Friedman the Tutor and was originally targeted at BTs learning in Yeshiva’s but the advice is appropriate for any BT, so we’ll be excerpting it from time to time here. Go Slow If you take on too much, too quickly, you can cause an inner backlash. You could […]

Advice on Bar Mitzvah Lessons?

A non religious friend asked me for advice on how to get her son interested in his Bar Mitzvah lessons. What would you tell her?

Get Your Post Yom Tov Off to a Good Start

To help get your post Yom Tov season off to a good start here are some simple questions to ask yourself each day. Questions to ask yourself at the beginning of each day: 1) What are your goals for today? 2) What are your plans for preventing wasted time? 3) What acts of kindness can […]

Succah: A Temporary Structure

One of the interesting laws about a succah is that it isn’t allowed to be too high. How high is too high? The Mishnah tells us: 20 Amos, which is about 35 feet tall. The Talmud explains that a succah has to be a temporary structure. It is meant to represent the travels of the […]

Bringing the Sukkah Inside

By Marsha Smagley I have trouble leaving the Jewish holidays. It is especially hard for me to leave the sukkah; this year was no exception. This past Sukkos, as Hoshana Rabbah was approaching, I felt a sadness that soon I would have to leave the sukkah, aware that the darkness of winter was near with […]

The Joy of Building Our First Sukkah

As I’ve become more observant and more familiar with mitzvot and halacha and various minhagim, I’ve been struck by the almost absurdity of the Yom Kippur-Sukkot transition. It seems odd to me that, hours after experiencing the most Awesome day of the Jewish calendar, after going through a grueling and soul-wrenching fast accompanied by walks […]

Happy Days are Here Again

Rav Nachman Breslover coined the phrase “It is a great Mitzvah to be joyous constantly”. We know that, in particular, there is a Mitzvah of Simchas HaChag (being cheerful during a Holiday). Still Sukkos is known as THE Time of Our Joy. I’d like to share two thoughts that lend insight into why Sukkos is […]

Sukkos Thoughts

Protected by… Every Shabbos Chol Hamoed Succos we read the Haftorah (Yechezkel, Chapter 38) about the final confrontation at the end of days between Gog and the nation of Israel. How does Succos connect with Gog, Magog and the end of days? It is ironic to note that after the exodus from Egypt, while travelling […]

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