Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

It’s Hard to Pray

I don’t remember whether anyone told me that it’s hard to pray when I first got involved in Torah. Over at there’s a new post called Judaism’s Little Secret – It’s Hard to Pray. Give it a read and leave a comment over there if you’re so inclined.

Safe Children, Safe Communities

Let’s not mince words. The future of our charedi community is quite literally in existential danger as the tension in Beit Shemesh plays itself out in the international media. On a purely pragmatic level, this disturbing publicity has already placed the charedi community in Eretz Yisroel at greater risk of losing its financial aid to […]

How Would You Make Good Kiruv Even Better?

We (David & Mark) will be speaking at this year’s AJOP Conference sharing what we’ve learned from and through the Beyond BT community over the past six years. Our sense is that most BTs are very thankful to the people who have taught them and helped in their Teshuva process, but there’s always room for […]

NCSY and the Sweet Sounds of Gratitude

It always happens to me during mussaf of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. On a good morning it will hit me during Hallel. On a recent Shabbos, I thought about it while an excellent baal tefillah was davening the kedusha of mussaf. What plagues my mind at these odd times? Basically that I am thankful […]

Continuing to Access the Power of Chanukah

We pasken like Beis Hillel and we increase the candles as Chanukah progresses indicating and increase in accessing the power of the holiday. R’ Yaakov Astor discusses this in Reality and Potential … Most people can experience the initial joy that comes along with lighting the menorah. By the second day, for many of us, […]

Chanukah: Overcoming Our Greekness

By Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Dear friends: Chanukah is here! When you think of the victory of light over the darkness that the ancient Greeks tried to spread, you can’t help but think of the world as it is today, sit by the light and know that there is light in the darkest times. Everything that […]

What Should We Put On A Beyond BT Handout Card?

We want to create cards (business card size, front and back text if necessary) to hand out to tell people about Beyond BT and encourage BTs, Kiruv professionals, Rebbeim and those interested in BT issues to give us a visit and a read. a) Title: Should the title of the site be referred to as […]

The Phases of the Newly Observant

By Aliza Bulow A general look at the developmental stages of the baal teshuva I have spent over 30 years in the world of baal teshuvas, as both an emerging baal teshuva myself, and as an educator and guide for hundreds of other baal teshuvas. Over the years, I have identified several stages and general […]

Sharing the Joy of Others

We’ve recently discussed some of the generalities of which Shuls are right for which people. Perhaps a sometimes overlooked benefit is sharing in the joy of others and the positive character development that brings in its wake. There’s a nice story about a “Shlishi to Remember”, on Shul Politics in which shul members experience spontaneous […]

What are the Major Issues Regarding “I’m Frum, My Family Isn’t”

As the Rabbi of a wonderfully diverse shul, Lincoln Square Synagogue, with a large number of people who have family members who aren’t observant, I am starting a new class entitled “I’m Frum, My Family Isn’t: Halachic solutions to religious differences between family members” This blog continues to be an excellent resource for Baalei Teshuvah, […]

Financial Independence and Success in the T’shuvah Process

By Michoel I have a feeling that some will read this and their reaction will be “mai k’mashma lan?” As in, “Why is he wasting perfectly good kilobytes on the patently obvious?” But to me, the thoughts contained here were not so self-apparent and I have found them very important. Se even if there are […]


Check out Steve Brizel’s Parsha Round Up. –The Ramban on Vayishlach (Translation From Parsha Parts) This Parsha was written to make known that HaKodosh Boruch Hu saved his servant Yaakov and redeemed him from a power mighter than he. Hashem sent an angel and saved him. We also learn from this Parsha that Yaakov did […]

Why Are Successful Mentor Programs Hard to Establish?

We mentioned 5 categories of support for BTs a few weeks ago: 1) Teachers of fundamental and advanced Torah topics 2) Rabbis who can rule on halachic questions 3) Mentors who act as surrogate parents and help with major topics like Shidduchim, Parenting and Shalom Bayis 4) Friends who act as spiritual coaches and tell […]

Mother’s Prayer

By Anonymous This story is just so perverse I thought it best to say in verse. I’ve got a daughter, aged 23 Already grown up, you say to me. I raised her right at least I tried. Sent her to Bais Yaacov to bring me pride. But the long blue skirt she threw away And […]

Understanding Your Shul President

He Needs Your Love – Understanding Your Shul President at

Bright Line

I think one of the fundamental challenges or complaints of baalei teshuva is that there is no bright line that defines what is “enough.” And there isn’t. When we stumble, or as the case may be when we stride purposefully, through the Teshuva Portal, we are encouraged every step of the way to the effect […]

Parshat Vayetze Torah Thoughts

#28 Yaakov’s Dream With the Ladder In Chapter 28 it says 20) And Yaakov made a vow, saying: ‘If G-d (Elokim) will be with me, and will guard me on this path that I am going, and will give me bread to eat, and clothing to wear, 21) and if I return in peace to […]

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