Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Shabbos … the Great Unifying Principle

Vayakhel 5774-An installment in the series of adaptations From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood Moshe gathered the entire assemblage of the Bnei Yisrael , and said unto them: ‘These are the words which HaShem has […]

If you Really Want Unity, Stop Sleeping!

Yisro 5774-An installment in the series of adaptations From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood … and Israel camped there opposite the mountain -Shemos 19:2  וַיִחַן[the singular form, the pasuk does not say that the Israelites camped there. […]

Bittersweet – Rosh Chodesh Av

This morning it hit me. Rosh Chodesh Av is amongst the strangest of days. As we’re aware, Rosh Chodesh Av marks the commencement of the nine day mourning period culminating in the most tragic and mournful day of the year, Tisha B’Av. As the gemorah states “MiShenichnas Av MeMa’atin B’Simcha” when the month of Av […]

Understanding and Accepting Different Types of Jews

I grew up in a “conservative” home where we kept kosher in the house, and ate treif out. We went to temple on Saturday morning and to the beach or the mall on Saturday afternoon. Like many a reformed smoker, when I became Shomer Shabbat I quickly became intolerant of that which I left behind. […]

Rabbi Mayer Schiller on Orthodox Achdus – mp3

With his penetrating insight, Rabbi Schiller gets to the heart of the question of Orthodox Achdus. It’s worth a listen (or a repeat) in our troubling times. You can listen and download here. (To download the audio file to your computer, click with the right mouse button on the link and select Save Target As. […]

Learning to Get Along with People of Wildly Different Persuasions

By Zev Gotkin There is a lot of talk these days in the media about ‘polarization,’ especially within the context of politics. Often it seems as if being a ‘moderate’ is going out of style. Being labeled a centrist is to be seen as ‘wishy-washy’ or indecisive. Perhaps going to extremes makes people happy, because […]

Hating Difference, Hating the Torah

‘Why is difference always linked with hatred?’ – asks the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The sages of the Talmud say, ‘man was created in his singularity.’ Man was created as a unique being. But the Hebrew term for singularity – y’hedi – has two distinct meanings. For one, Man is a species – and the […]

Achdus in the Midst of Tragedy

Everyone’s minds and hearts are still with the Kletsky family. How can one absorb such a terrible, brutal and senseless crime commited by another member of our community? How could G-d let a thing like this happen to a young innocent child? That is a question that we cannot deign to answer but what be […]

21 Days of Ahavas Yisroel

There is a site called 21 days of Ahavas Yisroel which is a great idea for this time of year. Here is the description (with permission) from their home page: This time of year is traditionally one of mourning for the Jewish people. Starting on 17th of Tammuz (July 19) and culminating on the 9th […]

Unity in Diversity in Ramat Beit Shemesh

In the US, and I suspect in other Jewish areas such as England as well, the Jewish community in any given area tends to be rather monolithic. For example in New Jersey, Passaic is Litivish Ultra-Orthodox, so is Lakewood. Morristown is Chabad. Monsey (ok, NY but just outside of NJ) is majority chassidic, some parts […]

A Glimpse of Redemption

By Michael Freund This past Tuesday night, at the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem, I think I may have witnessed a foretaste of the Messianic era. It was the eve of Yom Yerushalayim, the day marking the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War, when young Jewish paratroopers armed as much […]

Recognizing the Greatness of a Small Act of Kindness

I’m not exactly sure why I was so struck by this act. There are many times when we play the equivalent of musical chairs at Mincha. We’re all listening to the Chazzan repeat the Shmoneh Esrai and then it’s time to put our heads down for Tachanun, the next part of the prayer service. And […]

Morning Machsom L’Fi – No Loshon Hora from 9:00 Am – to 10:00 Am Each Day

In the Tisha B’Av videos yesterday, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation (CCHF) announced the start of a World Wide Machsom L’Fi program where people would accept upon themselves not to speak Loshon Hara from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM each day. As the CCHF site explains over here: One of the prime benefits of participating […]

On Disabling the “Frumkeit-Checker” In My Brain

It’s Shushan Purim, a school vacation day here in the Holy Land and I’m out with my brood at an amusement park. The children are scattered; some on the bumper cars, others on trampolines and I’m at the plastic picnic tables along with the other bored adults, waiting for the kids to tire out or […]

E Unibus Plurum

The casual observer of the current presidential polling data requires little expertise to identify a trend stretching back over the last two presidential elections. The population of the United States has been, and continues to be, split almost 50-50 in their support for a national leader. At the same time, however, the division of country […]

Learn and Pray For A Specific Soldier

The following “open letter” was received from the Bostoner Rebbe and HaRav Simcha HaKohen Kook. It outlines a plan where soldiers are paired with people who will pray and learn for them. To participate, send an email to, saying you wish to pray and learn with a soldier and they will supposedly email you […]

Healing the Rift within Orthodoxy

By Michael Freund (Reprinted with Permission. First Published in the Jerusalem Post here.) It’s summer time, and Tisha Be’av, when Jews mourn the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, is less than three weeks away. Normally during this period, religious Jews tend to focus on themes relating to the need for greater Jewish unity, in […]

In Light Of Klal Yisroels Current Situation: Kol Koreh From The Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America

In Light Of Klal Yisroels Current Situation: Kol Koreh From The Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America We are in the wake of a terrible destruction, Jewish blood spilled like water in the Holy Land, of precious sons of Zion who fell in sanctification of Hashem’s name in their Beis Medrash – nations have entered the […]


I once again have the privilege of co-chairing the Achdus Chinese Auction which will be held this year at the New York Hall of Science on Motzei Shabbos, November 10th. Now, most of us that live in Jewish neighborhoods on the east coast are aware that this time of the year is “chinese auction season”. […]

Ahavas Chinam and the Beyond BT Shabbaton

Before the Beyond BT Shabbaton, at least 2 people asked us about the appropriateness of holding it during Shabbos Chazon. We had asked a shaila and were told there was no halachic problem at all. After having held the Shabbaton I think that this was in fact the perfect time to have it, here’s why. […]

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