Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Surviving the Seder – Guide to the [Very] Perplexed

Surviving the Seder – Guide to the [Very] Perplexed Years ago, Maxwell House Coffees used to give out free Haggadahs at all the grocery stores, a nice way of reminding people that Maxwell House Coffees are Kosher for Passover. Those Haggadahs were actually quite nice (with charming illustrations) and were really helpful, with clear translations, […]

A Potpourri of Pesach Resources

Here is the Beyond BT Guide to the Seder which goes through the basic halachos of each step of the seder. While getting ready for Pesach, you might want to give Rabbi Welcher’s Preparing for Pesach a listen. The Absolut Haggadah, a refreshing blend of humor and commentary trying to uncover the pshat (basic meaning) […]

The Empty Chairs

First published in Mishpacha Family First, Pesach, 2010 I remember my surprise, the first time, 17 years ago, that I learned that there were TWO Sederim for Pesach. And the seder isn’t twenty minutes long? And what’s this about eating no chometz for 8 days, and separate dishes, pots, and pans, and you can’t start […]

What Are the Basic Priorities at the Seder?

What are the basic priorities at the Seder? 1) Strengthing Emunah in Hashem. 2) Expressing thanks to Hashem for giving us freedom, nationhood and the Torah. 3) Carefully performing the mitzvos of the night. 4) Passing on the story of the Jewish People to children and others not familiar with our heritage. 5) An opportunity […]

Clueless in Chometz – Preparing for Pesach

This will be my 35th Pesach, having been married 34 years and making my first Pesach one month later. Yet every March I feel like a new bride who never made Pesach before. The thought of scrubbing down my refrigerator and moving the beds upstairs makes me queasy. At 53 I simply don’t have the […]

Of One Thing You Can Be Certain

You may have seen this story: In the mid-nineties, a Jewish advertising executive wondered: what if the New York Times – the “Paper of Record” – printed the Shabbos candle lighting time each week? Imagine the Jewish awareness and pride that might result from such a prominent mention of Shabbos each week. He contacted a […]

Advice for the Seder Guest

Pesach is around the corner and many people will be guests at other people’s sedarim, which raises a number of questions. 1) Since there is great variance in sedarim and some of them might include tens of Divrei Torah from grade-schoolers, is it proper to probe and get a sense of what the seder will […]

Just Another Link in the Chain: Genealogy Anyone?

“If we’re lost, then this is a strange place to be asking for directions,” remarked my date nervously, as we drove up the long entrance of Mt. Judah Memorial Park. “Well, no, we’re not lost. We’re actually here,” I slowly answered. Long pause. “Here? Here where?” she whispered. I just stared ahead. “You’re taking me […]

From Skinhead to Orthodox Jew

After the Iron Curtain was lifted in Europe twenty years ago, a surprising thing occurred – thousands of people who had been raised as gentiles came to the startling realization that they were actually Jews. Poland is home to thousands of such stories. During the Holocaust and under Communist rule, many Jews there hid their […]

How to Deal With a Rabbi with Issues?

How would you handle or react to your Rabbi who is often rude and has weak people interacting skills. He suggested that I need to give more to charity (the shul) after he asked you how much my wife and I make together and I told him we are giving what we can. When I […]

Building a Better Teacher

Issues in Schooling One of the challenges that parents face is the schooling of our children. Among the many issues in schooling, three stand out: 1) Lots of material to master in a full dual curriculum day. 2) Many schools have insufficient resources. 3) A lack of truly great teachers. Lack of Great Teachers is […]

Guess Whose Not Coming to Dinner?

Ever since making aliya decades ago, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve been visited by collateral relatives. So it was with great excitement that I learned that cousin Adele her daughter Jan and Jan’s two young daughters would be in the Holy Land and that they wanted […]

The Neshamah Project

The Neshamah Project is a wonderful and meaningful new organization. You may have seen the book we are distributing: The Neshamah Should Have an Aliyah – What you can do in memory of a departed loved one. This new book stands at the forefront of our mission, which is both simple and profound: To help […]

Dealing With Clashes Between Orthodox and American Sensibilities

What are the issues that you find most difficult personally? What issues do your non-observant friends and family seem to have? What are the issues that you have trouble explaining to others? Some issues: – Equal Rights vs Segregation of the sexes – Equal Rights vs Different roles for men and women – Pluralism vs […]

In Scandals, a Wake-Up Call for Orthodoxy

By David Klinghoffer For all its outward vigor, the Orthodox community, which is my own, appears to harbor a sickness. You don’t have to be an ideological critic of traditional Judaism to wonder if the cause should be sought in Orthodoxy itself. The past year has brought what seems like a never-ending stream of financial […]

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