Posted on | February 1, 2012 | By Guest Contributor | 25 Comments
On his website, Rabbi Dovid Gottleib describes his own “Coming Home” experience and gives the following advice regarding selecting a “style” of Jewish Observance:
Many baalei teshuvah become convinced that the Torah is true and try to observe as much of Jewish law as they can, but become bewildered by the wide variety of styles of traditional observance.
In addition to broad differences of philosophy and priorities (Modern Orthodox, Yeshivish, Chassidic, etc.) there are endless geographic variations. Having no personal tradition to fall back on, they must decide for themselves, without waiting for a comprehensive investigation of all options. In fact, at the beginning of his exploration, the baal teshuvah is usually introduced only to a very small sample of the alternatives – often only one.
Still, one cannot postpone having a single, consistent organizing style to his observance (I’ve seen the mixed up results of trying to form one’s own supposed “synthesis.”) The solution is to adopt a style temporarily, and to explore alternatives as time and circumstances allow. In the meantime, one remains committed and open to change. This requires clear communication with others who depend upon him, such as his spouse, children, etc., since any subsequent changes will affect them as well.
Does this approach to selecting a style of Judaism make sense to you?
What alternatives to this approach of selecting a style can you think of?
Do you know BTs who changed their styles? Did you change your style?
Do you feel that you have the opportunity to change your style?