Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Time, Space and Soul at the Kotel

On my recent trip to Eretz Yisroel, I had the good fortune to rent an apartment in Kfar David in Mamilla, very close to the Jaffa Gate. I davened almost every Tefillah at the Kotel, except for Shabbos when we were in Ramat Beis Shemesh. (As an aside, the apartment was great and priced at […]

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. […]

Looking Good

Remember “Fernando,” Billy Crystal’s Saturday Night Live character whose mantra was, “I don’t feel mahvelous, but I look mahvelous, which is okey dokey with me ‘cause you know my credo, it is better to look good than to feel good?” Satirical? Sure. But a true word is often said in jest and in this case, […]

A Webinar Series on a BT’s Guide to Fitting In – Kicks off with Rabbi Horowitz this Thursday 1/10

How do I find a Rav? How do I relate to a Rav? What’s so important about finding the right community to settle into? After being frum twenty five years I still have no idea about how to marry off my FFB children. Should my kids be doing Skype with their secular grandparents, aunts, and […]

Integrating the Ba’alei Teshuva

By Jonathan Rosenblum From Mishpacha Magazine BT Symposium – September 13, 2012 The ba’al teshuva movement, which began to gather steam after the Six-Day War has profoundly changed the face of the Orthodox world in both Israel and the United States. Once one gets outside the New York metropolitan area, ba’alei teshuva and geirim constitute […]

Led Zeppelin & Frum Culture

As a BT, I’ve often felt the clash between the culture I grew up in and the “frum” culture I’ve been living in for so long. One of the areas the clash always made itself evident to me was music. I just never could get into “Jewish music.” This clash took on new meaning for […]

Where Do You Put Your Old Time Rock and Roll?

The death of Michael Jackson was a shocker to some of us, since we all grew up with his music. For me, I was very taken aback and felt compelled to follow some of it for awhile. I realized that integrating my cultural and societal priorities, then with now, was a continuing process, and that […]

Telling My Story

Mazal Tov to early Beyond BT contributor Shoshana on her recent wedding to Mordechai Goldberg. In honor of this wonderful simcha we’re reposting this piece from December 5, 2006. When people meet me, and find out a bit of my background – being from Alabama, not growing up in an Orthodox home – they often […]

Them and Us

By From Within BTs. FFBs. So much has been written about how different we are, and, at the same time, how similar. And that’s just it, right? If we were just either one – so similar or so different from one another – there would be no conflict, no comparison. All the attendant feelings, on […]

The Other Type of Assimilation

Several months ago I joined an online “social-networking site”. For a while it served as a great way to reconnect with old friends that I hadn’t contacted in years. In fact, may of them were involved in NCSY when I was becoming frum and many others were participants in NCSY when I was working for […]

What Do We Do with Our “Baggage”?

Blast from the past, first published on Dec 31, 2005 Rabbi Shmuel Simenowitz Firstly, I’d like to thank Beyond BT for inviting me to guest blog. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to share some of my own experiences with my peers. It is also an auspicious time to blog – I’m writing this […]

Second Class: Not Just BTs

By Ezzie Goldish (Originally published on Serandez) Ed. note: Part of why this post has taken three days (!) to write is that there’s both so much to say and so little to say at the same time. When it comes down to it, most people know how to act, are aware that they’re sometimes […]

Crafting a New Nomenclature

Rabbi Dovid Schwartz Jewish Heritage Center Dedication- I dedicate this post to the URL of this blogsite- BeyondBT. Most simply deconstructed as Beyond Ba’al T’shuva. The implied purpose being to transcend the societal constraints and the sometimes suffocating self-perceptions evoked by the term “Ba’al T’shuva”. In a word… let’s get past it. Caveat- This post […]

Conquering Bad Religious Experiences

By Yakov Lowinger There has been some discussion regarding the reversion of some from religious observance due to a “bad religious experience” (BRE), which seems to cause the sufferer to swear off involvement in organized religion much like a bad omelet will repel one from associating with eggs in a pan for a good while. […]

Bad Religious Experiences

Reposted with Permission From A Meaningful Life by Rabbi Simon Jacobson. Ths article was first posted here. Dear Rabbi J., You are perhaps the only Rabbi that I feel I can write to about the following painful subject. I grew up in a very secular home, with no faith and no G-d. My parents were […]

Perspective

As I was making pizza the other night, I was listening to A CLASSIC CASE: The London Symphony Orchestra Plays The Music Of Jethro Tull. My son (7 years old) runs into the kitchen as Ian Anderson is going crazy on the flute and says, “Whoa! Abba, is that a new Piamenta album?” “No, I […]

Teshuva – The Challenge of Recreating Oneself

By Rabbi Dovid Gottleib Teshuva is the greatest creative challenge a person will ever face: the challenge of recreating oneself. A person’s whole past – talents, training, experience, successes and failures – provides the materials from which his new identity will be forged. He does not turn his back on his past, but organizes it […]

Love, Awe & Rabbi Akiva’s Students

The time between Pesach and Shavuos is a mourning period partially for the reason given in Yevamos (62b): “It was said that Rabbi Akiva had 12,000 pairs of disciples from Gabbatha to Antipatris; and all of them died at the same time because they did not treat each other with respect.” One of the questions […]

Nullified by the Majority

Those who know me will not be surprised to learn that on my birthday, there is widespread celebration, no tachanun is recited, and a lot of normally level-headed people get seriously intoxicated with joy — because my birthday is on Shushan Purim. But this year’s Shushan Purim will be more significant for me, because it […]

Letting It All Hang Out

Nope, although the title might imply it, this post is not about tzitzis. It’s about how we respond when the question of one’s BT-ness is brought up. This issue can arise by way of a direct question but more likely it will come up as a result of an inquiry like: Where did you learn? […]

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