Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

The Teshuva Journey: A Message From The Past

The Teshuva Journey: A Message From The Past Becoming observant often requires a person to make radical changes in his life as he takes on new observances and practices. For David Wachtfungel*, an encounter with the memory of a deceased great-grandfather helped him overcome these hurdles. David grew up non-observant in Michigan. During college he […]

What are the Challenges that FFB Children of BTs Face

Dear Beyond BT I’m an FFB born to BT parents and although I love and I am inspired by my parents, there are challenges to FFBs born to BTs. Do the people here understand the challenges that their FFB children face? Can you articulate some of those challenges? Can you think of ways to help […]

The Difficulties of Reconciling Feminism with Orthodoxy

I was raised in an egalitarian culture and graduated from Barnard College, a women’s liberal arts college. I am now integrated into the Orthodox world where the synagogue, an important center of Jewish life, has a strict separation of roles and the yeshiva offers the boys a significantly different curriculum than the girls. .Do you […]

Making Exceptions

Getting from the house to cheder — or rather the two separate chedarim that my sons attend — always takes time. Shmuel is like a seven-year old Wordsworth — constantly stopping to marvel at the wonders of nature (and the neighborhood); while Pinchos, five, comports himself like a young Newton, always pausing to ask how […]

Tzadik-Baal Teshuva Symbiosis

By Chaim Grossferstant Maimonides (Laws of Repentance 2:1) teaches us that : = What is considered a complete/absolute Teshuva? If the penitent is confronted with the sin (again), has the opportunity to transgress but abstains not because of diminished capacities or fear (of human repercussions) but because of his repentance. E.G. if someone had an […]

Tensions in Dealing With Non Observant Friends and Relatives

In every mitzvah, there are inherent tensions that make the mitzvah difficult. Slogans like “Just Don’t Speak Loshon Hora” , “Just Have Emunah”, “Always Treat Your Spouse with Honor and Respect” don’t work because there are factions that make Loshon Hora, Emunah and Shalom Bayis difficult. The key is to identify the tensions so that […]

Navigating Religious Divides

In the Motherlode parenting section in the NY Times, Lisa Belkin writes Navigating Religious Divides Within Families about “parents out there who are befuddled by children who are more religious than they were raised.” The article focuses on Laurie Dinerstein-Kurs, of East Windsor, N.J., a mother of an Orthodox daughter and son-in-law and 7 Orthodox […]

Living with Tension

Yaakov Avinu represents the highest level of perfection among the Avos. Avraham Avinu produced a Yishmael; Yitzchak Avinu produced an Esav. But Yaakov’s progeny became the Twelve Tribes; each one of them entered into Klal Yisrael. Avraham’s defining middah (characteristic) was chesed (loving-kindness); Yitzchak’s was the opposite, gevurah (strict judgment). Yaakov’s characteristic of emes (truth) […]

Why We Needed an Open Miracle on Chanukah

I’ve been working on understanding the necessity of a miracle on Chanukah and I achieved a little clarity that I wanted to share. I want to thank my friend and teacher Moshe for spending some time to help me with this topic. Chanukah Brings Forth the Light of Man’s Connection to G-d through Torah In […]

The Eight Neshamas Of Chanukah

There are countless Torah volumes dedicated to Chanukah, its deep meaning and ramifications. One question I have never seen addressed is the following: We know that Hashem runs the world through Midah Kneged Midah, (the way one acts is the way Hashem reacts). Why, then, was the consequence of the Yidden going out to battle […]

Some Questions about Chanukah?

A few questions about Chanukah: Do most of your non-frum neighbors, friends and relatives light a Chanukah menorah? What does Chanukah mean to you? – Seeing the miracles in our lives. – The need to fight against persecution. – Understanding the limitations of a man centered society. What actions has Chanukah inspired you to take?

A Hellenist Left Standing

It was the twenty-fifth of December, And when she closes her eyes she remembers, Just how it was. A Jewish girl from Queens, Had fulfilled her secret dreams, Decorating that bright, forbidden tree. A Jewish girl from Queens, Had fulfilled her secret dreams. She helped hang tinsel merrily. Her boyfriend’s family, Was friendly as could […]

Soul Movements

In the sefer Da Et Atzmecha (Getting to Know Yourself) the author describes something amazing, the movement of the soul: In physical movement, we are familiar with six directions: the four sides, and up and down. Our teachers have taught that the soul moves in only two directions: expansion and contraction. Every movement must either […]

Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, Chanukah: “Seeing Hashgacha in Times of Challenge” Monday, Dec 14 at 8:00 PM in KGH

Kollel Toras Chaim presents a special Chanukah Shiur by Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, Chanukah: Seeing Hashgacha in Times of Challenge. 27th of Kislev 14th of December, 2009 8 PM Monday Night Young Israel of Queens Valley 141-51 77th Ave. , Kew Gardens Hills Followed by refreshments with Rabbi Goldwasser and Rabbi Travis, Rosh Kollel Toras Chaim

R’ Moshe Schwerd, Fri., Dec. 11, 8 pm – CAY – Miracles, Mysteries & Moshiach

If you’re in Kew Garden Hills on the first night of Chanukah, come hear: R’ Moshe Schwerd Miracles, Mysteries& Moshiach Shabbos Chanukah Friday Night – December 11th, 2009 – 8:00 PM Congregation Ahavas Yisroel 147-02 73rd Avenue

Chanukah – G-d Fights Our Wars

By Rabbi B. Shafier Gemara Shabbos 21b: The miracle of the oil Why do we celebrate Chanukah? The Gemara tells us the reason that we celebrate Chanukah is that when the Yivanim entered the Bais HaMikdash, they defiled all the oil set aside for lighting the Menorah. When the Chashmonoim were victorious, they searched and […]

Should We Distance Chanukah From Xmas?

Many families celebrate Chanukah with gift giving. Some people are concerned that this makes Chanukah look a lot like Xmas. Should we refrain from giving gifts to distance Chanukah from Xmas? Should we ask our relatives to eliminate or tone down the gift giving? Should we consider our children’s disappointment in a reduced gift-giving scenario? […]

Adjusting to Alien Atmospheres

I spent my high school senior year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A first, all of my 20-year old roommates thought I was crazy, and for the first few weeks, I did too. Not only had I never traveled by myself before nor had I been on an Israel program, I still had yet […]

Kislev – Make a goal, (and we don’t mean the Guinness Book of World’s Record on eating latkes.)

Keshet – bow The Jewish astrological symbol for the month of Kislev, is the bow – from the bow and arrow. While this symbol has a number of implications, one of them is to focus on a goal. An archer must aim well for the bow to do its job. What are your goals? If […]

Great Children’s Books By BBT Contributor Bracha Goetz

Bracha Goetz has just released her latest book: What Do You See in Your Neighborhood? A wonderful everyday word-and-picture book for toddlers which teaches basic vocabulary – in a Jewish kind of way! This could be a great gift to give anyone with a little one! You can get it online from or at […]

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