Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

The Holiness of “Going like a Sheep”

Vayechi 5774-An installment in the series 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 The Elokim before whom my fathers , Avraham and Yitzchak, walked is the Elokim who has led me like a Shepherd from my […]

The Value of Vignettes

Ron Coleman recently wrote about Gedolim biographies and their place within our “literature”. While some of the stories or vignettes that we read about a tzeddaikus (holy woman), an adam gadol (great person), or a baal mussar (ethical leader) might seem somewhat hard to believe and might even fall under the secular label of an […]

Healthy Self-Love

A friend of mine told me his daughter bought him a kipah that’s half velvet and half knit, that says “I love every Jew” in Hebrew. Cute idea that expresses an important point we all need to think about more. Many of my fellow baalei-teshuva have an easy time saying “We should love all different […]

A Call to Normalcy

Whenever I bring my family to the East Coast, they pick up little nuances from the observant Jews of the New York area. “The counselor said I should take two dollars and pick myself up a nawmal swim cap,” my six-year-old daughter told me. Somehow in a NY accent, the word “normal” contains subtleties we […]

A Role Model to Emulate

I work at a Jewish newspaper, the Texas Jewish Post, and although it has articles and ads from every stream of Jewish life, it runs a weekly column by the dean of DATA (Dallas Area Torah Association), the “black-hat” Kollel that brought me back to Yiddishkeit again. Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried is a model for me […]

Profiles in Courage

Rabbi Dovid Schwartz In their Yeshivas and Batei Ya’akov our FFB children benefit from the study and inspiration-by-osmosis of the classic Mussar literature. In the tables of contents of these works one will find a profusion of fine and noble middos = character traits. There’s alacrity, humility, love, mercy, magnanimity and fear of heaven, et […]

The BT “Problem” That Won’t Go Away

I sometimes hear back through the cracks the complaints, sometimes justified, sometimes not, of the disillusioned baalei teshuva and, sometimes, former baalei teshuva. Sometimes, it seems, they were promised rose gardens. Some were not, but believe they were. Others just changed their minds, or followed their passions, or had a mental hiccup of some kind. […]

Princes and Princesses We Were

I was not given many limits as a child and was raised to think that the world was coming to me. (I do not think that many FFBs are taught to think like that.) There are obviously many negatives to being raised in that regard, and many of them become crystal clear to me when […]

Iggeres HaRamban and Anger

The following entry is Zecher Nishmas (in memory of) Rochel Bas Aryeh. Although I did not personally know her, a friend of mine relates that she was a very caring, thoughtful, altruistic and modest person – and an awesome listener. Even when she was very sick she continued with the same level of altruism, caring […]

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