Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Teaching an Older BT New Davening Tricks

It’s amazing what we remember from our youth. I went to Hebrew School at the Clearview Jewish Center in Whitestone, NY, which was recently sold to a Montessori School, with some rights retained to a small chapel. I still remember my second grade class close to 50 years ago. We were learning how to read […]

The Weekly Tefilah Focus Can Transform Your Tefilah in 5 Minutes Per Week

♦ Do you wish your Davening left you uplifted, inspired, and feeling closer to Hashem? ♦ Invest less than 5 minutes per WEEK to optimize the time you are already investing in Tefilah. ♦ Each week, read, listen, or view concisely but powerfully presented material on short segments of Tefilah. ♦ Internalize through daily review […]

Beauty may be Skin-Deep but Some Hideousness is to the Bone

Today, 29 Adar Sheini is the yuhrzeit-anniversarry of the death of the great Polish Chassidic Master Reb Shloimeleh Rabinowicz; zy”a, the first Radomsker Rebbe, as well as other tzadikim and talmidei chachamim-Torah sages. The following Devar Torah is adapted from his work on the Torah and Holidays, Tiferes Shlomo, and is dedicated l’iluy nishmas –for […]

On Davening as a BT

Davening is the place where the BT can feel vindicated. Park for a moment the speed factor: that is keeping up or better yet catching up with the Minyan. In the private sense, I think most BT’s tend to take the Avodah- the job of it seriously and are shocked and outraged when in the […]

Finding a Seat When You’re a Guest in a Shul

On a Shabbos a few years ago, I was davening out of my neighborhood. As we walked into the Shul on Friday night, my host told me that we can sit anywhere, except in the aisle seats, because the more involved members of the Shul sat in those seats. In the shul where I daven, […]

The Selichot Experience In The Eyes Of A Ba’al Teshuvah

By Cosmic X from Jerusalem I believe that the first time that I said selichot I was at 770 Eastern Parkway on a Saturday night with “the Rebbe”. Someone gave me the selichot booklet with old yellowed pages. I could not follow what was going on. At the end the Chasidim started singing something, I […]

Davening-The User’s Manual for the Siddur

Mordechai Kramer wrote a 16 page booklet which explains the basic structure and use of the siddur. It includes charts and simple explanations of how the prayer service (Shacharit, Mincha, Mariv, Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh ) is performed in shul. It is a virtual life savor for the BT. Rabbi Berel Wein has commented that […]

The 7 Minute Solution

In the moments that we aspire to take our davening seriously, we are often confronted with the fact that davening with a minyan requires compromises as to the speed of the davening. What is perplexing is that the davening seems to speed up in the wrong places. Brachos are said at a relatively slow pace, […]

You Have Reached the Voice Mail of Shloimie Sprintzer

Hello, you have reached the voice mail of Shloimie Sprintzer. I am currently davening. Please choose from one of the following options. To leave a message, press 1. To leave a message for me to call you back during kriyas haTorah, press 2. To text-message me, so I can respond during Shmoneh Esrei, press 3. […]

Trying to Pray

As everyone knows by now, Israel is in serious trouble right now. Three soldiers are being held hostage and many have been killed. Many civilians have been killed and injured in the constant rocket attacks. Over one million Israelis in the north are sleeping in bomb shelters. There’s nothing like watching the disaster unfold to […]

Judging Fast Daveners Favorably

By Todd Greenwald I would like to share this D-Day story. Growing up my family davened at an orthodox shul, although we were more traditional. Every Motzae Yom Kippur, the shul asked the same person to daven maariv. Why? Because he was fast!! Back then it was great. After I became frum it bothered me […]

New Google Mashup Enables Davening On the Web

Well if you’re looking to catch a Minyan on the Web, you’re out of luck. But the Shulchan Aruch (90:9) does say “However, if one is faced by compelling circumstances and cannot come to the Synogogue, he should see that the time when he prays coincides the the time when the congregation prays”. I wonder […]

Connecting to Others Through Davening

Growing up in a Reform Jewish congregation, I grew up with religious services conducted overwhelmingly in English, with great musical accompaniment. They lasted about an hour, included an organ and cantor with a wonderful voice, and some responsive readings, again mainly in English. On High Holidays, our synagogue employed a professional choir, featured a violin […]

Finding My Place in Davening

Finding oneself completely baffled by davening is an experience many on us probably share. I personally had no familiarity with the siddur whatsoever when I first started, so I very quickly became a noodgy davener, always looking over my neighbor’s shoulder to find the page, and that was in a shul where it was frequently […]

Davening in English or Hebrew

As a BT I find davening hard, I grew up in a very spiritual house where my mother always said G-d is with you always and you can talk to him in anyway you choose the same way you’d speak to one of your sisters or friends and that is exactly the kind of relationship […]

A Fresh Look at Davening

In the beginning, davening was all about singing and dancing and connecting to G-d. They were amazing times…..We would go to the old ivy covered Hillel House at G.W.U. (George Washington University in D.C) on Friday night, first daven the “service” and then make a communal Shabbat dinner (or maybe it was the other way […]

Davening in Shul or Yeshiva

For the past several years I have been davening Shabbos mornings in one of the local yeshivos. It is comfortable, quiet and my chavrusa sits across from me. Immediately after davening, we learn and I don’t have to involve myself with the inevitable politics that occurs in some shuls. My family and I are also […]

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