Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

A Mother’s Prayer

By the time this column posts, the drama will be over. My daughter, Elana, now a high school senior at Reenas Beis Yaakov in Edison, NJ, will know which seminaries have accepted her, and she will have made her choice. It’s a tumultuous experience, the seminary application, interview, and selection process. Elana has enjoyed being […]

O Daddy … Where Art Thou?

Tzav-Parshas Zachor 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 Remember what Amalek did to you on your way out of Egypt. When they encountered you [lit: cooled you off] […]

A Baal Teshuva’s Father’s Perspectives

By “David Shub” As the father of two BTs, the first words of advice to parents of other BTs is to say that you cannot make it a power struggle. Not only is it not a power struggle, but it is not a “fight” of who is right and who is wrong. If someone had […]

Lives My Father Told Me

I just said my last kaddish for my father A”H until his yortzeit. So this is as good a moment as ever finally to commit to writing the post I had meant for so long to write, and said last year I was not writing then, and that so many of us have in us. […]

Navigating Religious Divides

In the Motherlode parenting section in the NY Times, Lisa Belkin writes Navigating Religious Divides Within Families about “parents out there who are befuddled by children who are more religious than they were raised.” The article focuses on Laurie Dinerstein-Kurs, of East Windsor, N.J., a mother of an Orthodox daughter and son-in-law and 7 Orthodox […]

Kibud Av Vaem and Hakaras HaTov

I try to speak to my mother, may she have a long life, at least once a week.When a Yarhtzeit and any day that includes the saying of Yizkor approaches, we speak and there is a perceptible sigh in our voices as we remind each other about either the Yahrtzeit of my father ZL and […]

Without the Branch, There’s no Fruit

I became an observant Jewess about 3 years ago, when I was 17. Today, I have a wonderful schedule and I love my life and learning – I’m studying to be an optometrist in the morning, and in the late afternoon I attend classes at a Jewish Women’s Seminar. But, I have a fly in […]

How was your Relationship with Your Parents in the Beginning

A journalist is writing an article on relationships between fairly new observant individuals and their parents. The writer is looking to conduct fairly quick interviews with people who are going through, or have recently gone through, the initial phase of becoming observant. Please email us if you are willing to help with a short interview […]

Why was this Shabbos different from all Others?

By Bayla S. Brenner As we walk through each day, we carry the history of our lives in memory. We are, after all, living documents of our experiences. Every moment breathed in becomes us. The anticipation we felt at dusk when we heard the chime of the Good Humor truck — so long ago — […]

Family Affair

A few months ago, David the creator of the fantastic site, Simple to Remember sent us this post of his mother’s speech that she delivered at a function for the kiruv organization JAM. This is the sequel to his and his mother’s story, written by Rabbi Avi Shafran. The speaker was a bit reluctant, unaccustomed […]

What’s Up With the Hardcore Jewish People?

A friend sent us a link to a book called What’s Up With The Hard Core Jewish People? The excerpts help us understand a little better what some parents of Baalei Teshuva are going through: “When our son, Carter, decided to blow off law school and stay in Jerusalem studying to be an Orthodox Rabbi, […]

Jonathan Rosenblum on My Father My Hero

Jonathan Rosenblum, the noted author and journalist has a great post about his father titled My Father My Hero over at Cross-Currents. Here’s an excerpt: When I was a little boy, my father was my hero. When he was around, I knew nothing bad could befall me. Rarer, perhaps, my father remained my hero even […]

A Mother’s Story

My name is David and I became religious a number of years ago through JAM at UCLA. From my exposure to traditional Judaism I was inspired to share what I found and developed www.SimpleToRemember.com. My family reacted in a rather unusual way to all of their kids becoming religious and I wanted to share that […]

Challenges of Caring for Our Elderly Parents

By Chana Sanders I spent a very interesting Shabbos in a local hospital where my mother was admitted a few hours before candlelighting a few Fridays ago. Since my mother, who is elderly and very ill is not frum, this was a BT experience every step of the way. Yet, it was Shabbos, and the […]

You Make the Call: Well Meaning Parents Give Problematic Jewish History Book

Phil emailed us the following request for comments: Suppose you’re a BT with FFB children. Your parents give a pretty Jewish history book to your 12-year-old for his birthday. You manage to look through it before your child sees it and you see that some ideas go against the 13 Principles, and the general tone […]

You Used to Be So Much Fun – Part 3 – Audio Post

Today we are posting the audio file for the third and final part of Rabbi Shlomo Goldberg’s lecture at the Life After Teshuva conference, titled “You Used to be So Much Fun – Relating to Non-Religious Family and Friends”. Click on the link to listen to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. (To download […]

In Memory of My Mother-In-Law

My mother-in-law passed away the week after Rosh HaShonah. Her kevurah (burial) fell on the afternoon before Yom Kippur, effectively eliminating any period of shiva (mourning). Approaching the three-month anniversary of her petirah (passing), I hope that a short reflection on the life of the mother of a baalas tshuva might provide some closure to […]

A Baal Teshuva’s Father’s Daughter’s Perspectives

Last week we had a wonderful post by Mr. David Shub, in which he shared his perspectives as a Baal Teshuva’s father. We also had the benefit of Rabbi Yaakov Menken sharing some of his insights on this subject. Today we have the pleasure of hearing from Yael, the daughter of Mr. Shub as she […]

HaShem, This Wasn’t Part of the Deal!

Rabbi Yaakov Menken Cross Currents The post that appeared here several days ago from the father of two Baalei Teshuvah fits nicely with a concept that I have explored recently with a relatively-new BT. Indeed there should be no power struggle, no “right” or “wrong,” but parents may not see it that way. All parents […]

On Relating to Our Non-Religious Family

By Gail Pozner My family and I recently arrived back from a family “simcha” – the bas mitzvah in a reform temple of our niece. Being frum for 20 years and having made no dent at all in the religious interest of our respective families, I have come to the realization that the most my […]

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