On Monday, Shmuel recently posted an astute comment on the Integrating the Ba’alei Teshuva post.
There is a lot of emphasis on sociology/culture in the orthodox community today. I have no idea whether this is good or bad, or whether it is even possible to change should someone think changing it would be a good idea. But it is important for a BT to be aware of this, since it can affect one’s development and self-esteem.
One may desire to fit in culturally in his chosen community, but the cultural fitting in is NOT what makes him religious. In always has to be secondary. Say a person wants to be oved Hashem and he thinks such and such community is the place he can do it best. Say that community demands or prefers cultural conformity (hat tilt angles and such), or he’ll feel more comfortable if he conforms, or some other reason that makes a positive difference in his life. So he’ll conform and his hat tipped correctly, etc. But it is important to keep in mind that that stuff is NOT avodas Hashem.
How have you navigated Orthodox Culture in your progress of Serving Hashem?
Do you feel too much time was spent?
Do you feel that you had to ever compromise your Avodas Hashem to conform?
What advice would you give new BTs in this area?