Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Shabbos Gets Better and Better Because…

Shabbos Gets Better and Better Because… …it starts earlier. I know that some of us think this, but I’m saying it. Hear me out, it’s the same 25+hours. While I am all for a long afternoon in the “Shabbos” park and playdates that seem to go on for hours, I like the winter months. I […]

Why BTs Should Not be Part of the “Chumra of the Month” Crowd

By David Feinder There is currently a phenomenon in the frum world to follow adopt Chumrot in a manner that almost resembles the “Keeping up with the Jonses” from the 1950s. While it is true that Pirkei Avot may say that a Torah Scholar should sleep on the floor, eat bread and salt, etc., that […]

Shushing or Talking – Which is Worse?

Is shushing worse than talking in Shul. Tell us what you think at

The Most Famous Ramban in Chumash – The End of Parshas Bo

The Ramban at the end of Bo is a classic work on Jewish philosophy and probably the most quoted Ramban in Chumash. It’s well worth seeing inside. Art Scroll has come out with the Ramban on Bereishis and Shemos, Bamidbar and Devarim, so if you won’t (or can’t) read it in Hebrew, consider picking up […]

What are the Keys to Being Happy in A Community?

Although no one is claiming their community is perfect, many BTs seem very happy in their communities. What are the keys to being happy in a community? a) Focusing on the strengths of the people and institutions b) Being involved in the community c) Understanding the communal norms d) Keeping under the radar e) Finding […]

Hallel’s Excellent Adventure

Reprinted from “Umm, well, you see Morah Achinoam…” “Hallel needs to take two weeks off from school in January in order to travel to Canada to ‘discover her roots’…” A “Masa Shorashim.” That was the embarrassingly lame white lie I invented in order to justify Hallel’s upcoming two-week absence from 6th grade. But “discovering […]

The Teshuva Journey: Blame the Amish!

If you want to know Beth Rubin’s role models to becoming religious, it was the Amish. Beth* grew up in a very Jewish neighborhood of Philadelphia. Everyone that she knew was Jewish, and they all went to afternoon Hebrew school and had lavish Bar and Bar Mitzvah parties. In such a uniform community people took […]

Beyond Prayer – A Fountain of Chesed

Beyond Prayer – A Fountain of Chesed, on Shul Politics.

A Knowing Heart

And Moshe said so to the children of Israel, and they did not listen to Moshe because of “shortness of breath” and the difficulty of the work. (Shemos 6:9) Because of shortness of breath and the difficulty of the work: not because they didn’t believe in HASHEM and his prophecy, but they just couldn’t pay […]

Has Torah Observant Lead You to a More Meaningful Life?

One of the leader’s of the positive psychology movement Dr. Martin Seligman states that there are three distinct kinds of happiness: the Pleasant Life (pleasures), the Good Life (engagement), and the Meaningful Life. The first two are subjective, but the third is at least partly objective and lodges in belonging to and serving what is […]

The Kindness of Seat Eviction

Just like Beyond BT moments happen, so do Shul Politics moments. Here’s a recent happening: The Kindness of Seat Eviction.

How Can We Bring Baalei Teshuva and Their Teachers Even Closer

We’re (Mark & David) speaking at the AJOP conference this Sunday, January 15, 2011, at two sessions. There’s also an “Inreach” inspirational conference going on for only $36 at the same location and time which you might want to attend. We’ve been doing a lot of thinking and discussion among ourselves and with Kiruv professionals […]

Denouncing Spiritual Terrorism

On March 16, 1968, soldiers of the 1st Battalion’s Charlie Company committed one of the most notorious war crimes in American history when they brutally massacred over 300 villagers in the Vietnamese hamlet of Mỹ Lai. Was every soldier in the American army complicit in the crime? Did the perpetrators of the massacre act in […]

My Brothers Do I Seek

My Brothers Do I Seek By Jonathan Rosenblum I came to full Jewish observance relatively late in life. I was nearly thirty and married when I first walked through the doors of Ohr Somayach. I don’t fully remember the entire process of becoming religious. But certainly the most important element of our decision was exposure […]

Ten for the Tenth of Teves

Ten points about the Tenth of Teves from an article by Rabbi Berel Wein. 1) The Tenth of Tevet marks the onset of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylonia, and the beginning of the battle that ultimately destroyed Jerusalem. 2) The date of the Tenth of Tevet is recorded for us […]

Just Six Words

My daughter’s English teacher assigned the class six word memoirs. The six word memoir has become a popular vehicle for breaking the ice and for stimulating creativity. Basically, you sum up your life (or a major aspect of it) in six words. Ernest Hemingway is said to have penned this somber six word memoir: “For […]

Finding Our Voice When We’ve Stretched Too Far

By Sara Taub The question of this post is directed at brave and inquiring minds which let go of attachments to material and professional accomplishments and replace them with goals more eternal. It is among people such as these that I think this question would most likely arise. It is not a particularly convenient question, […]

The Halachos of New Year

Over at Hirhurim, (R’ Gil Student’s blog), Rabbi Michael Broyde has a good analysis of the halachic issues regarding “celebrating” secular holidays. Here’s an excerpt: It is quite clear that on a historical level that Catholic Europe celebrated New Years day religiously for centuries. Indeed, consider the simple remarks of the Rama writing in the […]

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