Discrimination Against Baalei Teshuva

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  • #591904

    Aura
    Participant

    As a BT who attends a shul in which there are very few, if any, baalei teshuva, I am concerned by stories I have heard about BT’s who have been discriminated against by FFB’s especially when it comes to shidduchim or getting children in schools. I would like to know if this is really the case, or if it is just random incidents blown out of proportion by the internet? Also, to FFB’s: what do you really think about BT’s? Would you let your children marry them, go to school with them etc? To BT’s: Have you experienced any stigma / prejudice by FFB’s, please be honest.(obviously I do not wish anyone to speak Loshon Hora). Thanks.

  • #1035389

    Max Well
    Member

    For marriage people “discriminate” on all sorts of basis’s — i.e. hair color, nationality, wealth, etc. I don’t think it is necessarily unreasonable to discriminate based on religious background/history for purposes of marriage.

    My above point is specific to the issue of shidduchim.

  • #1035390

    philosopher
    Member

    Aura, I’m FFB and because I come from a dysfunctional family, I was “discriminated” against when it came to shidduchim.

    I don’t think discrimination is the right word. I understand those who didn’t want me based on my family.

    My kids are freinds with my baalie teshuva neighbors and these kids are in the same school as my kids. Would I let my kids play with just any kids from baalie teshuvas? No. But neither would I let my kids play with just any FFB kids either if I feel they have bad hashkafos.

    In some communities baalie teshuvas have a hard time getting their kids into frum mosdos. But so do FFB, too. In some communities it seems as if the mosdos do a more thorough background check on you than the FBI does on terrorists. BT’s might not be so well known or integrated and can have additional problems getting their kids into mosdos because of that.

    EDITED

  • #1035391

    Welcome to Galus where everyone is insecure and lacking clarity in their Avodas Hashem…where people must put other people down to make themselves feel good…where people are paranoid about shidduchim and go overboard…welcome to this long aweful galus…please judge the religion and NOT the religious…. and pray that it be over soon!

  • #1035392

    WIY
    Member

    Aura

    Without doing an official study it is hard to know hwat percentage of FFBs discriminate against BTs and what percentage of BTs get discriminated against. There is some discrimination by shidduchim, however if you will speak to Rabbis who know about the BT movements and Kiruv they will tell you that for shidduchim a BT should marry a BT because they will understand each other better. In this day and age there are enough BTs in either gender for them to find shidduchim.

    There are many BTs out there that people dont even know that they are BTs. My advice to any BT is try not to stick out. I know the FFB world is very different than the world that a BT is used to and when they try to mainstream themselves they have many challenges. Just try your best to experience as much as you can. Daven in different types of shuls and try to meet Jews from different communities and try to speak to as many FFBs as you can so you get a better idea about the different types of Jews and the various things that go on in the Jewish world. Dont allow yourself to be an outsider.

  • #1035393

    I might be a lone voice here, but I don’t think it really matters from a strictly SUBJECTIVE point of view whether there is discrimination between BTs, FFBs, Ashkenazim, Sephardim and any other form of dichotomy. The fact is that even perceived discrimination comes straight from Hashem and a person should have Emunah and Bitachon that whatever Hashem will do will be for the best.

    On the other hand from an objective viewpoint its important for klal Yisrael to be ish echad b’lev echad. But that’s not something to worry about, just something to work on on a personal level and on helping the klal overcome on a general level.

  • #1035394

    tostien
    Member

    I’m a BT married to an FFB, and there is halachic basis to not want to marry a BT having to do with your mother and going to a mikveh, and this effecting your middos. However, the Chazon Ish approved of his grandson (or great-grandson?) marrying a BT.

    In any case, if you don’t like that someone discriminates that way, don’t marry them! Marry someone who agrees with your perspectives on life. You only need one.

    I knew a former baptist preacher who converted to Judaism … his father made peace with his conversation to Judaism but said, whatever you do, don’t marry a black girl because he couldn’t accept that. You can guess who he ended up marrying… that ended up being the girl who was right for him.

  • #1035395

    baal kishron
    Participant

    I agree with max well when it comes to shidduchim parents try to set up a match that will fit with the family (and of course with the potential young couple) so when it comes to ruling out ppl, the ones with dissimilar backgrounds to their own are most likely to get bumped off the list.

    The same principle can be applied to schools parents are very concerned with what they expose their children to. So with Baalei Teshuva in general, the difficulty is that many are holding in different places in yiddishkeit (still becoming frum all the way to fully integrated). So it only stands to reason that parents should express concern about who attends their childs school.

  • #1035396

    charliehall
    Member

    In my community, which is mostly modern orthodox, you can’t tell the FFBs from the BTs from the gerim. And that is how it should be.

  • #1035397

    potsandpans
    Member

    In this world, there will always be discrimination! at one point it can be over race, ethnicity, religion, political stance etc

    Is there a BT discrimination?

    I am not a BT myself but I can tell ya that I live in an out of town community where BT are not only respected but are considered as truly part of the community. The community itself has chassidim, litvtish pp, sefardim etc and everyone shares mutual respect and even fondness to all groups. So, no, in my community i don’t see any discrimination: BT kids are accepted into schools based on their own merits, not based if their parents are BT or FFB.

    regarding shidduchim, i find that generally BT like to make shidduchim with fellow BT just because they have that mutual understanding of eachother. Hoever i have seen BT families whose children became very committed to yidishkiet and some became very yeshivish and married into yeshivish families.

    Can I say this applies to every community? NO. I cant speak for the rest of them.

    But if your asking these questions in order to feel out how your family will be incorporated into the FFB community, i would suggest you find a warm and accepting community,that is open

    and not closed minded!

    Don’t worry about shidduchim, its all in Hashems’ hands!

  • #1035398

    Be Happy
    Member

    There are some BTs who continuously remind us of their status. I am afraid they are asking to be discriminated against!

    There are some who blend in well with the crowd, and to those Kol Hakovod Well Done.

  • #1035400

    arc
    Participant

    I cringed at the headline but the OP made me shutter.

    A forum this public cant be the right place for this topic but

    Max Well is right that people “discriminate” against many things and very often look for yichus.

  • #1035402

    oomis
    Participant

    I am FFB married to a BT. He is the best person I know, and no one I have ever met has his middos, his personal tznius, his Ahavas Habriyos, and his desire to do chesed. I am humbled in his presence.

    That being said, it is not so glatt to say that no one should discriminate against a BT. When you marry someone, you marry that person’s family and background as well. Some in-laws, like mine (B”H a million times) were always supportive of my husband’s choices in frumkeit. Some, however, are really disgusted by the “fanatics” that their kids have turned into, and want to reform them at all costs.

    A potential shidduch has to be not only aware of the problems that may exist, but also be prepared to live with this problems. Not everyone is so inclined. And I do not blame them. I was one of the luckier ones. My in-laws were delighted their son became religious and married a religiouos girl. They boasted to all their friends about their yeshivah grandchildren. Other in-laws may harangue their kids for not coming over on a Saturday, or not attending Cousin Brooke’s wedding to Antony DeMarco. These are very real issues that arise, and the inyan of the non-Jewish wedding was one which caused the ONLY argument between my in-laws and us, that we ever had.

    Most girls don’t want or need more drama in their lives. It’s hard enough getting along with a frum mother-in-law, for some of them. Getting involved with an entire side of the family that is not religious, causes upsets regarding the wedding, raising the children, the kashrus problem (I cannot tell you how many family parties we were invited to, where I had to bring my own food, because we would be there a substantial amount of time, and rather late, too).

    There are many, many other issues, and you asked us to be honest. It is sometimes difficult to be around a new BT (or one of short duration), because for some reason, they tend to go overboard in observance of minutiae that are not halachos. They make the ikar tafeil and the tafeil the ikar. I am not saying this is true of Aura, only that it is a reason why people are leery of shidduchim with BT.

    IMHO, as was mentioned by someone – I believe that BT generally are best redt to other BT. They can grow together and make their own frum reality. They understand where each other is coming from, and I think they are better at being mechazeik each other if they are sensitive and loving.

  • #1035403

    philosopher
    Member

    Thanks Moderator.

  • #1035404

    Health
    Participant

    Oomis – I agree Bt’s should only marry Bt’s.

  • #1035405

    mdd
    Member

    Health,why?

  • #1035406

    speaktruth
    Member

    I am an FFB and am getting married to a BT and am very proud of it.

    I find BT (especially who became frum on their own) to be much more real and sincere and growing ppl than FFB who just went through the system and never had any real challenges.

    To each their own but I hope you (health) are being facetious when you said BT should only marry BT. Every person has their bashert . One of the causes of the shidduch crisis is exactly what you are doing- excluding whole groups of ppl you or being picky like that without knowing who is for you.

  • #1035407

    Aura
    Participant

    Thanks for all the replies so far. To add to my original question – how important in the frum world is the whole ben/bat nidda problem when it comes to shidduchim?

  • #1035408

    shlomozalman
    Member

    Tostien:”However, the Chazon Ish approved of his grandson (or great-grandson?) marrying a BT.”

    Sorry, can’t be. The Chazon Ish had no children.

  • #1035409

    haifagirl
    Member

    First of all, in regards to shidduchim, you have to be comfortable with the person you are marrying. If you aren’t going to be comfortable with a BT, don’t do it. Same thing if you are a BT and you aren’t going to be comfortable with an FFB.

    I had an FFB friend (she’s now happily married to another FFB) who told me when she was dating that she would never marry a BT. My response to her was, “Aren’t glad your father didn’t feel that way?”

  • #1035410

    haifagirl
    Member

    I cringed at the headline but the OP made me shutter.

    Did you really? Totally close down? Wow! Quite a reaction. At most, I would have expected a shudder.

  • #1035411

    mdd
    Member

    There are heteirim for the ben niddah shaila. The whole reason for not marrying bnei nidah is because a r e a l ben nidah has a blemish on his neshoma(soul), which is manifested by bad character traits, especially, brazeness. Well, it is known that there are a lot of BT who have sterling middos(character traits). And, generaly speaking, we don’t see that BTs have worse middos then FFBs. And there is a reason for it. I am not going to elaborate here.

  • #1035412

    tomim tihye
    Member

    Aura, Rav Moshe Feinstein, of blessed memory, told someone I know that when it comes to shidduchim, one can assume that Hashem took care of the mother’s tevillah, i.e. the mother of the BT somehow immersed without knowing it. I know it may sound strange, but I know at least two people who realized that it made sense that it happened to them, i.e. she swam in the sea nine months before birth (not the ideal scenario for immersion, but retroactively may be ok, considering she didn’t know better.)

  • #1035413

    tomim tihye
    Member

    Oomis, wow, that could have been me speaking, but you said it better than I would have.

    I am an FFB married to a BT and am blessed with the most amazing husband and in-laws, but many issues arise, especially as our children grow, that require tact, understanding, and flexibility. If an FFB does not possess these traits, s/he could compromise the relationship with in-laws, and possibly with spouse.

    Many FFBs married to BTs have strained relationships with their in-laws; then again, so do many FFBs who are married to FFBs. The traits of tact, understanding, and flexibility are required in any relationship, only more so when the religious and the secular blend into a family.

  • #1035414

    arc
    Participant

    Haifa, I did in fact close down ;).

    Aura R’ Moshe discusses your question speak to your local Rabbi as to how it applies.

  • #1035415

    anonymrs
    Participant

    what is ben/bat nidda?

  • #1035416

    bpt
    Participant

    Discrimination is a harsh word, and I don’t think that’s the message we FFBs mean to project. I have several BT friends (and one Ger)and the thing that strikes me most is the edginess they always seem to be on. Its almost as though they fear a sudden relaps if they loosen up a bit. I fear heaven too, but I don’t quake in my boots every day like its neelah by yom kippur (maybe I should, but that’s another story).

    Point is, relax. No one expects the BT to be in better behavoir than the older members. Trying to “out-frum” your teammates gives off nervous vibes, and our reaction to that may be what you’re sensing.

    At any rate, rest assured. Us FFBs are also “baale teshuva” on an ongoing basis, so we’re all in the same boat

  • #1035417

    laguy
    Member

    I’m an FFB who married a girl whose family (not frum) chose to send her to only frum schools. This was all fine and dandy until they realized that our “lifestyle” didn’t exactly mesh with theirs, ie, real kashrus not just kosher style, shabbos the whole day not just until the evening but it especially came out when we had our kids and sent them to schools “more frum” than they would have chosen. We’ve all come to a place where it’s now quite comfortable, each respecting the others place and not imposing on one another.

    But I think the issues that people face in this area are more indicative of the people involved and not the issue. If the religious thing wasn’t the issue, it would be something else. It’s sometimes hard for parents to watch their children make decisions they don’t necessarily agree with, be it religious, college vs. yeshiva, what career they choose or not, where they live, and in some families how they dress their kids. When looking for your life partner, look for someone that has a “yichus” of good people, regardless of their religious affiliation. A good person is a good person, I don’t think there’s any correlation to whether you’re a BT or FFB. Character counts!

  • #1035418

    oomis
    Participant

    The ben Niddah issue never was of any consequence to me. I looked at my husband’s emesdig character, and said, “That is the man who should be my children’s father.” My husband has a pure neshama on his own. It is a shame his mom was not frum, but we are all tamei, and it is more important that our children ARE the product of taharas hamishpacha, and so are their children.

  • #1035419

    oomis
    Participant

    “At any rate, rest assured. Us FFBs are also “baale teshuva” on an ongoing basis, so we’re all in the same boat “

    that’s the most important line I have read in this thread. BPT is so on the mark.

    For anonymrs who asked, a ben/bat niddah is the child conceived of a woman who did not go to Mikvah according to the laws of Jewish Family Purity/Taharas Hamishpacha.

  • #1035420

    oomis
    Participant

    Tomim, you said it pretty well, yourself. I am just more long-winded than you are 😉

  • #1035421

    cantoresq
    Member

    Professor Menachem Friedman, one of the authors of new biolgraphical study of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, summed up the issue wonderfully during a private conversation some twenty years ago: “Habayah im hachozrei b’tshuvah hi SH’BE’EMET hem maaminim.” FFB’s are very uncomfortable in the presence of true believers and sincere seekers of the Truth. The flip side is that BT’s are fanatics as described by Sir Winston Churchill: “A fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” Nuff said.

  • #1035422

    mdd
    Member

    BP Totty, that’s why the frum Jews are called “hareidim” — because they shake due to their fear of Heaven. It is a madreiga to reach. Just some BT have to work on managing their fear of HaShem-related nervousness.

  • #1035423

    Akiva
    Participant

    Shidduchim will always be an issue for BT and maybe even more so for Gerim. With emuna we should all know it’s inconsequential though, as one’s shidduch is decided in shemayim.

  • #1035424

    bpt
    Participant

    One of the best things I see emerging from threads like this is that when all is said and done, we are all not that different from one another. Perhaps a bit unfamiliar with each other’s approach to life, but in the end, we are all striving to reach a common goal; to be true Ovdei Hashem. Uniforms aside, yichus aside. We may grate at each other’s nerves every now and then, but the best part of forums such as this one is we each see the struggles we deal with and by being open, we understand each other a little better.

  • #1035425

    oomis
    Participant

    LAguy is absolutely right. Yichus in middos is way more important than yichus as we define it. I knew what kind of man my husband is, and when I met his parents for the first time, I immediately knew WHY he was that kind of man. he grew up in a non-frum home that was filled with more chessed than you can imagine. His parents took care of both sets of grandparents in his home(first the maternal grandparents, until they died, and then his paternal grandmother until she passed), his mom’s sister who was prematurely widowed and left with two small children, whom my mother-in-law helped to raise while her sister went out to work, and then when my dear MIL had a devastating stroke at age 42, my wonderful FIL took care of her until the day she died, for the next 35 years. he did so, not only without a word of complaint, but with letting her feel like she was still the akeres habayis. No easy feat with someone who was totally bedridden and helpless. Everything was done with love and true chesed, and fortunately that is what my children remember, more than the fact that their grandma was bedridden and blind.

    Now, every BT is not filled with chesed, just as every FFB is not. There are nice and friendly people and there are nasty people in every strata of life. But we do have an achrayus to be welcoming to BT, to give them chizuk, and to make them feel they are truly part of the klal. That does not necessarily result in shidduchim with them, but maybe it is our achrayus to try and help them FIND the right shidduch…

  • #1035426

    Health
    Participant

    Speaktruth -You’re still looking at the world with rose colored glasses -I’m past that stage.

    Mdd – A lot of reasons. The main one I feel is because of someone I know. A couple -BT & FFB had bad nisyonos in life. The BT wasn’t able to withstand due to the fact that he/she wasn’t anchored as well as the FFB. The BT reverted to the way he/she was. The FFB remained frum.

  • #1035427

    mdd
    Member

    Health, you can not pass judgement on all BT because of one case you know. This is totally unfair. Plus, some people have the opposite impression — that BT have more Yiras Shamaim than many FFB (look at some posts above).

  • #1035428

    myfriend
    Member

    “that BT have more Yiras Shamaim than many FFB”

    mdd – what you said above is no less judgmental than what Health said.

  • #1035429

    Health
    Participant

    Mdd -I didn’t pass judgement on all BT’s. I just said BT’s should marry BT’s. You, on the other hand, just passed judgment on all FFB’s. BTW, I know a lot of BT’s. Just in general, I don’t think a lot of people in our generation are given very hard nisyonos because I don’t think most of them could handle it.

  • #1035430

    mdd
    Member

    I said that this is what some people think. And for many of them, it is not even a positive thing — they think the BTs are too nervous.

  • #1035431

    mdd
    Member

    Health, you said that Bt should marry only BT.Why?– because of one case you know. You are saying that all BTs should be discriminated against because of one case you know of!

  • #1035432

    Health
    Participant

    MDD – Wrong -That one case made me realize that when the torah says “Oobmechut Hameshulush Lo B’mehara Yenawsake” (A rope with 3 strands doesn’t quickly get untied.); this can be applied to a FFB marrying a BT. The FFB is more likely to be anchored in his/her religion!

  • #1035433

    mdd
    Member

    Like I said, this is absolutely unfair to pasel all BTs because of one case. There are antisemites out there, who hate Yidden because of one Jewish crook, they, allegedly, knew! Let’s be different from them.

    Had you dealt with hundreds of failed marriages, which ended badly because one partner was a BT, then you would have the right to speak like that. But if not…

    Let’s have some Ahavas Yisroel, some Dan chaveiro lekaf z’hus.

  • #1035434

    Health
    Participant

    Mdd -You obviously didn’t understand my post. Why don’t you have your Rabbi who made you frum, to explain it to you!

  • #1035435

    mdd
    Member

    No Rabbi made me frum. Why don’t you and many others look in Parshas Kedoshim, at the mitsva “ve’ahavta le’reyacha kamocha”?

  • #1035438

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Interestingly enough, as a kid, I encountered far more discrimination AFTER becoming a ba’al teshuva than before it.

    When I was in first grade, my parents were not frum. Nonetheless, my mother wanted me to go to yeshiva and so I was enrolled in HILI — an Orthodox school in Long Island. In fact, my rebbe that year was Rav Nachman Mandel. Despite the fact that we weren’t shomer shabbos, the school took me in with open arms. To my knowledge, I was the only kid in the class who wasn’t shomer shabbos. Rabbi Mandel never singled me out for it — on the contrary — he showed me the same love and caring that he showed the other kids in the school.

    Fast forward to seventh grade. My parents had since split up. My mother became frum (along with my sister and I). My father remained (and to this day is) not frum.

    When my mother tried to get me into a yeshiva, she encountered all sorts of problems. Most schools simply weren’t interested in welcoming a child of divorce who was a ba’al teshuva. One prominent yeshiva in Brooklyn was willing to take me on condition that I have absolutely no contact with my father. My mother turned them down flat.

    Eventually, my sister and I found my way into a yeshivos (incidentally, for me, a yeshiva that was very wrong for me, but that’s another story for another time) but until she did, it was very difficult. There was definitely discrimination against her and us.

    The Wolf

  • #1035439

    Health
    Participant

    mdd -So how did you become frum?

  • #1035440

    mosherose
    Member

    “When my mother tried to get me into a yeshiva, she encountered all sorts of problems. Most schools simply weren’t interested in welcoming a child of divorce who was a ba’al teshuva. One prominent yeshiva in Brooklyn was willing to take me on condition that I have absolutely no contact with my father. My mother turned them down flat.”

    Thats not discrimnaation. Its being responsible. The school has to make sure that the kids in the school arent influinced by something you might get from yur father. If they let you in then theyre putting the other kids at risk.

  • #1035441

    I know plenty of Baalei Teshuvah who you can’t tell they are Bt because they act like FFBs exactly. However, some BTs stick out, either because they don’t know what to do, or the opposite they are overly OCD and are more machmir than allowed al pi halacha. You know the famous asher yatzar joke… Anyways if a guy’s bashert is not a bt gezunteheit. But lemayseh Reb Avigdor Miller and the Steipler held it was a good thing to marry a true BT. Why not? The niddah problem is not really a problem says the Steipler. It’s only a problem if the children become chutzpah like a niddah!

  • #1035442

    oomis
    Participant

    OK Mosherose, you finally crossed the line. What you posted was mean-spirited. “If they let you in then the’re putting the other kids at risk…” And you know that – how, exactly? Do you even know Wolf-M, did you know him when he was a kid? (I am not trying to defend you, Wolf, you are more than capable of doing that yourself, but this was just such an egregious remark that I had to comment).

    Mosherose, you would make your points more worthy of attention, were you not so caught up in your very one-sided and extremely judgmental views.

  • #1035443

    rt
    Participant

    maaseh with the Gerrer Rebbe of the bachur who came to him for a bracha, the Rebbe asked where he learned, he answered Ohr Sameach “but I’m not a baal teshuva”;whereas the Rebbe asked,”far vus nisht?”

    b’makom shebaalei teshuva omdim, ain tzaddikim gemoorim y’cholim laamod

    and finally (as I heard from an Adam Gadol) when it comes to shidduchim, gelt is nisht kein maaleh & yichus is nisht kein chisaron!

  • #1035444

    bpt
    Participant

    I’m really grateful to Aura(and all the poeple who gave me an insight to the struggles they face / faced) for starting this thread, as it gotten me to think about how I interact with other folks whose observance levels are different than mine (I deliberatly did not use the word BT, as I’m getting less and less comfortable with lables, especially ones that divide us).

    This occured to me this morning (during shacris, of course, which is when we do our best thinking) that the “nervousness” I sense in others is not thier problem… its MY problem. I’m the one who’s being intolerant, who’s setting the bar inreasonably high, so no wonder I’m getting a bad vibe. Maybe I’m the one that needs to relax a little.

    Anyways, my apologies to all. The only goal you need to achieve is the one you set for yourself. And again, thanks Aura (and all the others)!

  • #1035445
  • #1035447

    oomis
    Participant

    “It’s only a problem if the children become chutzpah like a niddah! “

    I must take issue with that characterization. My mother-in-law of blessed memory never went to the mikvah in her life. I promise you, you could not find a more derech eretzdig person if you combed the world.

    On the day she had what would turn out to be a mortal stroke, I had an intuition something was up. I normally called her every day, and when I spoke to her, her speech seemed slightly slurred to me. Her son-in-law had passed away suddenly three weeks prior, and she was deeply affected by his death. So when she really sounded “off” to me, I made my husband spend Shabbos with them (though they were not frum). I sent food, challah and grape juice with him. They had paper goods and plastic ware for whenever we came over. My intuition proved correct, as this was the last Shabbos she lived.

    She was totally blind and bedridden, so she normally had her TV or radio on all day, as it was her lifeline to the outside world. When my father-in-law O”H wanted to put the tv on for her, she told him adamantly, “No! J. is here and it’s Shabbos.” The TV did not go on. I want to emphasize my husband did not request that the TV not be turned on. It was totally from her, out of respect for her frum son being there on Shabbos. Essentially, she became a baalas teshuvah just before she died. I would never in a million years classify this remarkable woman as a chutzpahdig niddah. It comforted my husband greatly, when she was nifteres three days later, to realize that her last conscious act was to be mekadeish Shabbos.

  • #1035448

    tzippi
    Member

    Msseeker, B”H for those sites that DON’T breed cynicism. Three cheers and all that.

    (If anyone knows what they are, please let me know.)

  • #1035450

    im a ba’al tshuvah. I wouldnt say i am proud of it, it was not my doing. Hashem did me a great Chesed by reaching down and pulling me up. i will be forever grateful.

    i generally dont think of the the fact that im a baal tshuvah. i dont feel anyone thinks of me any differently because of it or is even generally conscious of the fact. where i live i never sensed any kind of negative feelings against baal thsuvim or even any sense that anyone was interested in knowing who was a baal tshuvah or not. its a complete non issue, at least among the large number of people i know.

  • #1035451

    philosopher
    Member

    Mod-80, I’m willing to bet you became a baal teshuva quite a number of years ago.

    Most brand new baalie teshuvas today really stand out because of a number of reasons.

  • #1035452

    I’m willing to bet you became a baal teshuva quite a number of years ago.

    you would win the bet

  • #1035453

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    It’s interesting that in this respect (like many others in my life) I find myself neither here nor there.

    I became frum at the age of 9 when my mother became frum.

    As such, I certainly can’t claim to be FFB. I certainly remember my non-frum life and (for worse AND better) it has helped to shape me into who and what I am today.

    Likewise, I can’t take the “moral credit” for actually being a BT, since it’s not as if I had some “moral awakening” that chose me to choose a frum lifestyle. As such, I can’t be considered a true “Ba’al Teshuva” (in the context in which it’s used in this discussion) either.

    So, once again, I’m neither here nor there in life — neither comfortable nor entirely welcome in either camp.

    The Wolf

  • #1035454

    philosopher
    Member

    Baalie teshuvas years ago usually had a better chance of integrating within the frum community because the moral decay in the secular world wasn’t that bad, so there wasn’t so much suspicion regarding the BT’s.

    Also most baalei teshuvas years ago (I’m not talking about Russian baalei teshuvas which is a seperate category) became frum because they were attracted to Yiddishkeit or simply attended a frum school.

    Today there is this mass movement to freneticly grab any person who claims they are Jewish and influence them to become frum, in an effort to stem the imagined total dissapearance of frum Jewry.

    Granted, in the secular world assimilation is tragic and of immense proportions. But the cutting off of a large percentage of Jews from klal Yisroel is not a new phenomenon. It happened quite a few times in history.

    The frum community is b”H growing nicely.

    I don’t think we should focus on making baal teshuvas. I think we should focus on taking care of the new BT’s that are already in our communities, even after they were married and established a family. Ersht demelz, they need support.

  • #1035455

    Health
    Participant

    I think the problem is that these orgs. make them frum and then dump them. These groups should be the new found friends and family of the BT’s that they made. They need help in all facets of life -financial, help getting their kids into schools (if they live in that type of community), help with shidduchim and anything else you can think of. Chazal say -If someone begins a Mitzvah, we tell them to complete it.

  • #1035456

    a few points to ponder-

    There are many BT’s who really know how to “fit in” and integrate that you would NEVER guess that they are BT’s or that they’re parents are. Sometimes, I am not generalizing, but sometimes you’ll find that BT’s or they’re children and families are more frum and more makpid than ffb’s. Sometimes you’ll find that they’re the one’s who really “get it” (i mean ‘get’ and truly appreciate yiddishkeit)i’ve had a few experiences where i saw this clearly.

    I think a lot of the “discrimination” besides for the tahara thing comes from the fact that the BT’s don’t blend in, and stay with their “hashkafos” and ways of thinking and try to combine it with Torah and yiddishkeit. I’ve seen this many times and instead they end up mixed up/with mixed up kids.

    Talking about kiruv and stuff- lets work on ourselves and the kedusha itself spreads. If one is in kiruv – im sure you heard the saying – while your doing kirvu rechokim make sure your not being marchik the krovim

  • #1035457

    tomim tihye
    Member

    I think that if one is comfortable with himself, he is generally comfortable and welcome wherever he goes.

  • #1035458

    tomim tihye
    Member

    One major issue facing children of many ba’alei t’shuva is lack of extended family who are part of their community. All their friends seem to have cousins being raised the same way they are, and these children do not. Their grandparents are not the same as those of their friends, and they do not have relatives’ simchos or family gatherings (of the same nature as their friends’) to attend. This can be very isolating for children, even if there are many siblings in the family, as extended family plays a crucial role in the frum community.

    As the child of an FFB and a BT, I wanted to marry a BT, if only to give him and his future children the joy of being part of a large frum family, B”H. I am grateful that Hashem led me on that path.

    It might be helpful to ba’alei t’shuva if a FFB family makes them feel like part of their own family. You don’t need to mentor them (unless they request specific advice), but you need to treat them like close family members. Well, maybe with more conscious effort since the blood bond isn’t there.

  • #1035459

    philosopher
    Member

    Health, I agree with you. Most of these kiruv orginizations leave the fresh BT’s sort of adrift on their own.

    Also, I don’t believe we should go fishing for BT’s.

    I say we should just concentrate on being good Jews, Jews with emes and derech eretz.

  • #1035460

    Sister Bear
    Member

    One major issue facing children of many ba’alei t’shuva is lack of extended family who are part of their community. All their friends seem to have cousins being raised the same way they are, and these children do not. Their grandparents are not the same as those of their friends, and they do not have relatives’ simchos or family gatherings (of the same nature as their friends’) to attend. This can be very isolating for children, even if there are many siblings in the family, as extended family plays a crucial role in the frum community.

    I’m the child of a BT and a semi FFB and it is hard not having any family around. (That could also be due to the fact that we live in a different country then them all :)) But you can make your own “family”. My family is very close with a bunch of people that I consider siblings, aunts, even a few mothers ;)… that none of my friends whose parents are FFB’s can understand.

  • #1035461

    A600KiloBear
    Participant

    “I say we should just concentrate on being good Jews, Jews with emes and derech eretz.”

    BS”D

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe ZYA spoke of a tzaddik in peltz, a Yid who kept himself warm with his own Torah and mitzvos as if he were wearing a fur coat while everyone else was freezing.

    He was referring to the attitude expressed in the quote above. I am truly pained to see it expressed by any ben or bas Torah, and the last time I saw it expressed was by someone who himself was mechutz lamachane.

    We are the descendants of Avraham Avinu, who kept his tent open at all four sides and who made neshomos for Hashem.

    And the Clinton wedding shows what the fate of those whom we have not yet reached often turns out to be.

    We cannot be satisfied. We are 10% of world Jewry at best. 10% is an F in every school I ever attended. We should not even be satisfied with a B, let alone an F, when it comes to any aspect of Yiddishkeit.

    The problems of poor integration of some BT’s into the community (a very complex problem because we don’t brainwash people and indeed some BT’s are not rebuked when they believe they can reconcile everything from extreme leftist politics to devotion to strange music to soft drug use with Torah chas vesholom) and lack of proper followup by kiruv organizations (true but getting better) does not and never can preclude our obligation to reach out to every Jew, no matter how far he may seem.

  • #1035463

  • #1035464

    philosopher
    Member

    A600kilobear, those who will marry BT’s and make sure their kids get accepted into frum schools can help people become frum.

    There is barely place for children from frum families in these overcrowded schools so only the “best” families are easily accepted. The rest have to beg. Forget it when you are BT! It’s hard for them! I just read a letter in the Yated of how a BT father is crying becasue his children can’t get into schools.

    You can’t play with people’s lives. If we are really ready to accept them in terms of totall integration within our families and schools then you have point, otherwise at the rate it’s going it will be a disaster.

    Years ago, when a person became frum, they could send their kids to school without a problem. They could marry their kids off, with maybe a little more diffuculty than the regular family, just like any other family with issues, but today with the shidduch scene being what it is, this is even harder.

    Only ten, fifteen years ago, when even the secular world beleived in family values, then you knew that a father is a father and a person’s mother is a mother. Can you guarantee that all of those we bring into our communities are not memzerim?

    Years ago, if a person said he’s Jewish, he was. Today with so many sham conversions of the Reform and Conservative created a nightmare regarding really knowing who is a Jew untill it is too late.

    It is not so simple to go to a college campus or the streets of Manhattan and set up a table and promote Judasim to anyone who claims they are Jewish. One needs to see the outcome of all of this.

    I say that for those who are already frum, let’s take care of them. I feel it’s heartless to leave them hanging without freinds or a support system.

  • #1035465

    oomis
    Participant

    Maybe every Jew who comes from a family where there is a possibility of a non-halachic conversion of the mother, should undergo hatafa and tvilah in the case of the men, and tvila in the case of women. Their assertion that they are Yidden should eliminate any problem of a chashash on them. On the other hand, if they are halachically already Jewish, would there be an issur to do this (i.e. is there a bracha that has to be made, so it would be l’vatalah in such an instance?)

  • #1035466

    A600KiloBear
    Participant

    BS”D

    1) Sometimes the fault of poor integration lies with the BT himself. I cannot tell you how many I know who still follow various treyfe music or who are into all kinds of New Age garbage. Unfortunately there is no one like Rav Avigdor Miller ZTL or R’ Eli Teitelbaum ZL now who is able to deliver toichecho and break through such klipa beahavas Yisroel.

    On the other hand, some BT’s who are not conformist are best advised to go to perfectly halachic “alternative” communities like Breslov where they fit in better and are able to live according to Torah but in their own culture. Nothing wrong with that at all.

    2) We need more schools. Plain and simple.

    3) Everyone has documentation of some sort in the modern world and it is usually enough to prove there is no mamzerus. Issues regarding conversion usually come out and once it does, the sincere BT is willing to do gerus whereas someone who is not as strong simply drops out at that point. The problem of conversion affects perhaps 5% of potential baalei tshuva, if that. Most products of such conversions could care less about Judaism or are so steeped in the movement that converted their mothers that they would never look at Torah and in this case we can only say B”H.

    We cannot leave a single Jew behind. We are leaving 90% of Jews behind. And if we don’t act, Deformed is only too happy to get a few more members for its tembels by offering some feel good program.

  • #1035467

    Sacrilege
    Member

    I am an FFB who has dated (I am still single) a number of BTs. I actually have seen that my friends and other singles think that it’s weird/different that I do date/like BTs. I dont know if I would call it discrimination, I think that its more of a close mindedness and a mis-guidance. Obviously every person is different and you have to do what works for you. Over the few years that I have been dating what I have noticed is that a lot of times BTs say that they want an FFB (wether to feel like they are “fully integrated” or what not) but in the end many times they feel most comfortable with another BT. (yes, speaking from LOTS of experience here)

  • #1035468

    mybat
    Member

    Sacrilege, I am also a FFB and my husband is a BT. My in laws are traditional, their house is 100% kosher. They used to go to a conservative shul but when their son started becoming more religious they started going to an orthodox shul. In the beginning they were really traumatized that their son who they raised suddenly went “crazy”. But now when they see him married and they see their grandchildren they are thrilled.since my husband works with his father they really have a very close relationship and my father inlaw, even though he is not “religious” is one of the most decent, honest, hardworking and giving person that I know. He gives tzedaka to poor brides and to kolel couples. Everyone who meets him gets blown away with the quality of person that he is.

    And my ashkenaz (I’m syrian), BT husband, well let’s just say…… How many people would say NO to such a match without even meeting the person?

  • #1035469

    oomis
    Participant

    Mybat, sounds liked you lucked out the same way I did. 🙂

  • #1035470

    Sacrilege
    Member

    Mybat – I think that sounds beautiful, that you can transcend all the “barriers” that people themselves put up. BT/FFB/Ashkenaz/Sphardi…. Like I said before everyone has to do what works for them but excluding whole groups out of ignorance or because of a “stereo-type” seems inane to me.

  • #1035471

    Midwest2
    Member

    It strikes me that a lot of the adjustment issue is related to geography. Out-of-town BTs, geirim, returnees (born FFB, went off and came back) etc. are pretty much accepted on their own merits. That could simply be that in smaller communities people can become known as individuals, rather than labels.

    In places like NYC, though, where everybody seems to belong to an “identity group” anybody who is different is going to have problems. If you wear the wrong color shirt, you’re beyond the pale. If you go to the wrong sem you’ll never get a shidduch. Once upon a time people becoming frum out-of-town wanted to move to NYC because a) that was where the “real” Yiddishkeit was based and b) that’s where everybody went for a shidduch. Now, people are moving to Boston, Baltimore or Chicago, simply because it’s now known that NYC doesn’t welcome “outsiders” any more, and everybody is too busy calling everybody else unpleasant names.

    The moral here? When you’ve got real achdus you don’t worry what music the next person is playing on their CD, and you aren’t afraid that a BT child will influence your children instead of the other way round. When major groups of FFBs start accepting each other, eventually they may get around to accepting BTs too.

  • #1035472

    mybat
    Member

    Yes oomis, b”h like you.

    Sacrilege, my point exactly. Don’t vetoe everything because of peer pressure, you never know what Hashem really has in store for you.

  • #1035473

    so right
    Member

    Midwest2: Apparently the issue lies outside NYC, as your comment demonstrates you don’t “accept” frum NY’ers. Your very comment reflected upon yourself. I notice quite a bit of jealousy by some out of towners.

    That being said, one point made was glaringly factually wrong, in that out-of-towners still move to NYC literally in droves. There must be a reason, and the reason continues.

  • #1035474

    artchill
    Participant

    so right:

    “Out-of-towners flock to NY in droves”

    The ONLY reason:

    Their GPS was broken!!

  • #1035475

    OOT are NOT jealous AT ALL. I give up a LOt of conveniences to live OOT and i LOVE it. I thank Hashem all the time that i live where i do. It’s a wonderful community with a shtraka kehilla. Sometimes i think that because there are so many yidden K”h living in Brooklyn there’s so much machlokes. That’s just a thought. I guess it’s true – 2 Jews 3 opinions.

    Many “flock” to brooklyn areas for a simple reason – job opportunities/shidduchim/family situations

  • #1035476

    not only machlokes, but you know – “types” and groups… many times all on a chitzonies level.

  • #1035477

    midwest, i couldn’t agree more.

  • #1035478

    haifagirl
    Member

    I am so glad I live out of town. But I still don’t understand why Eretz Yisroel is “out of town.”

  • #1035479

    mdd
    Member

    I am appaled by the utter lack of Ahavas Isroel, a feeling for another, trying to see yourself in another person’s place displayed by some people, including some of the posters here. They do not feel that frei Yidden are Yidden also, that we need to mekarev them,if possible (why did Ribono shel Olam send all the Nevi’im to rebuke Yidden, who were ovdei avoda zorah?). That baalei t’shuva are your brothers, and one must treat them accordingly. To some of the born-frum ba’alei ga’ava: had you been born in a frei home, would you become frum? If yes, how quickly? It appears that for some, as long as they (or, maybe, their community)are ok, the rest of Klal Isroel can just go under. has ve’sholom. It is not suprising that we

    are still in golus.

  • #1035480

    Sacrilege
    Member

    Mybat – No need to warn me about peer-pressure, I’m a bit of a non-conformist anyways 😉

    I am a born and bred New Yorker and would give up close to anything to live out of town for many reasons, chief among them “judgmentalness” of In-Towners.

  • #1035481

    Sacrilege
    Member

    mdd – truer words have never been written on this site.

  • #1035482

    “when it comes to shidduchim, gelt is nisht kein maaleh & yichus is nisht kein chisaron! “

    sorry to say, but sometimes yichus, well they’re so full of themselves because of the yichus that there’s no yichus atzmo. S/o i know was redt ashidduch and they kept on bragging about yichus yichus… the father kept asking “what aabout the boy himself?” it was clear that that was all he had- Yichus. (it like a bunch of 0’s without any one before it)

  • #1035484

    rebdoniel
    Member

    I was brought up in a home with parents who were off the derech, and had left Orthodoxy in their teens, but became frum, learned Hebrew, how to make a leining, and started doing all of this when I was 16. I am 20 now, go to college, hold a job to pay for medical expenses, and learn several hours each day, give shiuirim, write articles and pilpulim (you see some of them here), try to be mechazek others and do acts of chesed, and try to be medakdek b’mitzvos. I have experienced some discrimination, some which may be intentional, other discrimination which may be unintentional, such as people using an overabundance of Yiddish terms I may not know. Most exceptionally, though, I have faced rejection by some over my openness to learning torah from different camps (i.e. quoting Rav Kook, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, pesukim from Tanach, etc. in some circles will not go over well), but this may just be that some are closeminded and are just following what their rebbe or rov tells them to do and think. As a result of my transition to frumkeit, my parents and I have nothing to do with each other, despite my being young (20), and I live without material support (I sacrificed my yerusha, my home, everything to be able to live a Torah lifestyle), sometimes I sleep on the trains, spend nights in Shomrei Shabbos learning Gemara, more or less doing the best that I can to get by. This is being mesiras nefesh for Torah and I would choose poverty/homelessness to keep mitzvos and learn torah any day of the week over, c”v, abandoning the lifestyle of emes HaShem revealed to me. On top of all of this, I am visually impaired, dyslexic, and am undergoing treatment for yeneh machla. The biggest challenge I face is the lack of monetary support a parent provides at this age, but it is a no-brainer for me to choose Torah u’mitzvos over living in an environemnt where I am not welcome due to my religious practices and beliefs. It is also depressing to not have a family to eat by for Shabbos and Yom Tov; my shabboses normally consist of making kiddush in Shomrei Shabbos, eating what hot item I can find there, and learning. It is very hard not having the simcha and ruchnius of a loving mishpacha who is with you and supports you in your faith. Most of all, though, I am not a baal teshuvah. I haven;t mastered the art of repentance. I consider myslef a tinok shenishba and a chozer b’ teshuva; for whatever reason, HaShem decicded I should be born to the people I was born to, but now that I am of the age to do as I please, I have taken upon myself shmiras hamitzvos. For this I would trade nothing. I;d even give my life for it, and to an extent I have (being homeless is no fun and can get to you). The most important thing I remember and that gives me chizuk is this: For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but HaShem gathers me in (Tehillim 27:10).

  • #1035485

    jay11691
    Member

    R’ Shimon Schwab says in “Collected Speeches” that the correct term for people who have returned to Yiddishkeit is not Baalei Teshuvah, but “Tzaddikim”……..

  • #1035486

    MDD: THANK YOU.

  • #1035487

    dazed
    Member

    I am a Gerus and my husband a BT. It has been hard for us marriage wise because neither of us has any frum family support and not a lot is offered in the community for couples like us. We didn’t find a Rabbi to adopt us or an FFb family to guide us in our journey which would have been great. I notice that most stable BT’s have other BT family members. I have watched a BT marriage fall apart which didn’t have support. I think BT marriages need more than just each other for support. I think BT’s are “shaking” not only from fear of Hashem but from insecurity in the community, feeling not accepted by the Frum community, feeling like they don’t fit in. and judgementalism really hurts from FFB’s and BT’s, i actually find other BT’s very judgmental sometimes. too many are focused on externals.

    FFb’s seem very busy and happy with their own big frum families and their frum lives, they don’t seem to know what to say to us…….we’ve noticed we have only been invited to an FFb home for a meal once since moving to our neighborhood which is very Yeshevish…. only other BT’s have invited us. my husband and I kind of understand this. people are happiest around people of similar ilk, we don’t have similar experiences and interests and of course very different family backgrounds, so maybe there isn’t much to talk about?? frankly, I wouldn’t know what to say to them. I have so many family situations that they can’t relate to and I am use to….

    you have to do the best you can do and remember why you became frum/Jewish in the first place. have emunah and be nice and friendly and you’ll attract other nice and friendly families. whether FFb or BT

  • #1035488

    anon1m0us
    Participant

    Edited Some FFB’s discriminate against everyone, not just BT’s so there is really no reason to get worked up about their discrimination policy. If you are Yeshivish Lite ( a new term that I was just introduced to), MO, YU, Chassidish, Tuna Bagels, and the list goes on. In truth, why would one want to marry someone with such warped hashkofus that they feel the need and presumptions to label and discriminate against everyone. I’m an FFB and when I was dating was just looking for a nice Jewish girl that had good midos and someone I was able to respect. Everything else is narishkeit that unfortunately people who have the least to brag about have the most demands! So my advice, ignore people who feel they are superior, because they would not allow their children to marry Moshe Rabaynu who was adopted by goyim (and probably a BT) or any of the avos since they had terrible father in laws!!

  • #1035489

    Warning: Here comes a megilla.

    How a BT adjusts ultimately depends on how well you integrate into the community, and that depends on your willingness to take on customs that may not make sense to you, but are the norm in your neighborhood. Most BTs who did not adopt social norms have difficulty with their children integrating as well.

    BTs tend to be more thought out than FFBs. This is a good thing, in my humble opinion. For example, BT parents are more willing to send a kid to therapy or use medication if needed. They are more honest about their own faults and open to growth.

    However, they need to understand that there is a mild stigma for shidduchim, and not tell their neighbors/friends/coworkers about it. Or they like dressing their little ones in flowery dresses, but everyone else in the preschool is wearing striped jumpers. Or they insist on flouting a school rule that doesn’t make sense to them.

    Becoming Orthodox isn’t just about keeping Mitzvos, although that’s the major part of it. It’s also becoming a member of a community, with all the responsibilities, annoyances, and trusting the leadership that that entails. You need to have a Rabbi and be realistic about who you are, where you are growing, and what your children need.

    Most BTs and children of BTs with whom I am familiar are indistinguishable from FFBs. They don’t talk about their past unless it is relevant, and are focused on serving Hashem and personal growth. I deeply admire them and would love to be like that.

    If you integrate well, you don’t really worry about discrimination, as you realize that any school that won’t accept your children (after you apply appropriate Rabbinical pressure, using your networking to its fullest), probably isn’t the school for you.

    You realize that shidduchim are bashert.

    Anyone foolish enough to turn down your sweet, beautiful, bright, active, Torah-valuing, Mitzva-doing daughter because you are a BT is not worthy of her, and there are plenty of families in the same situation who will be happy to marry with yours.

    Hashem says that in the place where a BT stands, a completely righteous person cannot stand. Hashem loves you, and will help you get to the position you need in life.

    All the best,

    Torah613^2

  • #1035490

    What is wrong with invei hagefen veinvei hagefen? There are some BTs who could never marry FFBs because they retain much of their old culture – and these are often davka the ones who complain they can’t find someone when there are tens of mates for them who are also BT and haven’t given up their yoga, or their Grateful Deceased, or their nonconformist dress etc. And there are some old-fashioned families who want to marry into families they knew in the alte heim – so be it (until it gets to the point that there are genetic problems LA from a small gene pool, but Dor Yeshorim helps with that).

    Some BTs kvetch about everything in their new world too, and think they are the ones who should make changes before they even know alef beis. FFBs are only right to see BTs as unstable when week after week, these types (dis)grace their Shabbos table before they drop out anyway. Believe me, it is no fun to have your Shabbos disturbed by wannabes who call you racist, fascist, misogynist etc because they don’t like the answers to their pointed questions.

  • #1035491

    shmendrick
    Member

    A BT comes with a family who are often not BT.

    Suppose the BT’s brother acts like a goy, eats like one and is marries to a man – that can create huge complexities. Do you attend the “simcha” of an intermarriage or a man “marrying” a man? DO you sit at a wedding that serves treif food, a chuppah officiated by a lady rabbi and a minister?

    Likewise the BT’s parents can create a problem for the couple’s children when they do not act as a Zaidy or Bubby should act.

    I agree with Health that BT’s should USUALLY marry BT’s and deal with common issues that are B”H foreign to FFB’s.

  • #1035492

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    shmendrick is that what your uncle the R’Y of BMG would say?

  • #1035493

    shmendrick
    Member

    I would appreciaye if you don’t mention my personal information.

    The R”Y said many times that we FFB’s would not be able to stand up to the nisyonos and the daily complex dilemmas that a B”T must deal with. We have it “easy” – al mei menuchos, compared to the BT’s life.

  • #1035494

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    You posted it, if you didnt want it mentioned dont post it

  • #1035495

    I became observant when shall we say it was not fashionable, attended prominent yeshivas just like our true brethren ( from the ffb club)speak ivrit , Yiddish all fluently i might add, and just for fun people, yes a reminder is thrown in periodically not meant to necessarily hurt, however, yes it does. One would think perhaps as this might not be the case, i hate to use this word, but for lack of a better one, bigotry is alive and well, flourishing on all levels here in the USA. Yes i am an import. I was shocked to the core at the level of hurt the our ffb brethren, not knowingly of course, inflict on the BT community.

    I am grateful someone has the gumption to spearhead a campaign

    of awareness and highlight this uncomfortable situation which exists in our community. Amazing as this may sound there is no level of discrimination when accepting our checks for tzedoko. Moron ve’raboisai, wake up, there are still mitzvois bain odom le’chavairo we can fulfill and not rely purely on bain odom lamakoim to serve the Ribono shel Oilam.

  • #1035496

    cantgetit
    Member

    Is there anything objectionable for a ffb to seek a shidduch exclusively with a ffb? (Similar, perhaps, to how a rov might seek shidduchim for his children exclusively with other families in the rabbanus.)

  • #1035497

    cv
    Member

    welldressed007- thanks a lot for your post!!!

  • #1035498

    Nechomah
    Participant

    As a BT myself, I wouldn’t say that there is anything “objectionable”, but it does sound a little, or maybe more than a little, close-minded and perhaps even bigoted to insist on this, and perhaps you are passing up a golden opportunity to find your zivug. Who really knows what is best for us? You can’t necessarily judge a book by itself cover. If you feel that your family won’t be able to handle the differences between your family and your spouse’s family, then that is definitely an issue to take into consideration as well. Rather than making a blanket statement, I would perhaps get more info on the person before making a decision. In my case, all of my siblings also became BT and my parents were not against and in many cases actually supportive although they did not feel they were able to change their lives the way we all did. Would that make a difference to you?

  • #1035499

    Avi K
    Participant

    Rav Moshe (Iggerot Moshe Even HaEzer 4:14) says that if a BT does not have the characteristic bad middot of a ben nidda we can assume that his mother was tahora b’diavad (e..g. if she went swimming before he was conceived). The Steipler Gaon (Likutim 2:23) writes a similar responsa on the matter, stating that if the BT is crowned with good Midos, he is obviously from the minority of bnei nidda who have good middot.

    The Steipler goes further and questions whether the statement of the Gemara means that the child of a niddah will himself have bad middot, or that the blemish of being a ben niddah will possibly affect future generations as well. According to the latter approach, even if the ben niddah has good middot perhaps one should distance one’s self from him.

    The Steipler concludes, however, that even if the blemish remains in future generations (a point which is not at all clear in the first place), there is no reason to stay away from a ben niddah. The reason for this is because who can be certain that none of his ancestors, back to the generation that left Egypt, were bnei niddah. Even if they weren’t, Chazal list ben nidah as only one of nine bad middot that produce offspring with bad middot.Among the others on the list are the children produced by unions where the mother is afraid of the father, or quarreling with the father, or the father is drunk, etc. As these are common occurrences among families that are not bnei Tora, there are probably a very low percentage of families that carry no blemish at all. Thus, there is no reason to distance one’s self from a ben niddah.

    Having said that, there is something to the claim that a BT will more likely have common ground with another BT. Howeevr, I heard htat a BT is someone who is at the beginner’s stage. The natural progression is for him to become over time as if he is an FFB. On the other hand, an FFB might also be a BT, either because he went OTD or because he became significantly more observant than his parents.

    As for rabbanim seeking shidduchim for his children exclusively with families of other rabbanim, this is by far not a universal practice.In the case of a son who also plans to go into the rabbanut it might be preferable because the daughter of a rav knows the benefits and drawbacks (such as shul politics). Similarly, a daughter of a rav might admirte her father’s work and want a similar husband. On the other hand, she might want someone who does not have to deal with the problems a rav faces.

  • #1035500

    old man
    Member

    I have some sad news for Ba’alei teshuvah: The situation of discrimination described above, real as well as imagined, is not going to change. That does not mean it should be ignored, quite the contrary. However, elitism and the insistence on “invei hagefen b’invei hagefen” among the “meyuchasim” is deeply entrenched and enjoys a history lasting over a thousand years. While there have been exceptions, the rule exists. It may seem unfair, narcissistic and even against Torah values,and some may (strangely enough) claim that Torah hashkafah encourages it. But it is human nature and human nature isn’t going away.

  • #1035501

    WIY
    Member

    I think the discrimination is usually in proportion to the level that the bt stands out as a bt. I think it is terrible to discriminate against innocent people but most bt dont help themselves by being so darn obvious. There should be a course that teaches them how to blend in.

  • #1035502

    sw33t
    Member

    WIY:

    wasn’t sure if your comment was real or sarcastic, but. . .

    Maybe if the community was not so homogeneous, and so obsessed with blending in, BTs wouldnt “stand out” so much. “There should be a course to teach them how to blend in” .. unfortuantely because the ortho community is so based on societal norms rather then actual torah observance. it is extremely difficult for BTs to catch up on all the little nuances that FFBs are taught from day one. I’m not even BT but I am a child of a BT-convert marriage and I dont think I learned to “blend” until my middle school years (and that’s with attending BY since age 3)

    i think its really hurtful to say things like “theyre being so obvious,they stand out. you’re right, they do stand out, but they wish they didnt and they wish they knew how to blend, and people with your attitude only hurt them not help.

    Also for the record, I know a few BTs who completely blend in, you really would never know- and they are still discriminated against. That’s just the way it is.

    Lastly, in many BT (or convert) cases, the BT is usually giving up their family and most of their friends, and completely turning their lives upside down, have to make new friends and dont have places to go for the holidays or shabbat, and then all anyone does is complain about them not being able to blend in well enough for your liking, or discriminate against them. Its actually kinda sick.

  • #1035503

    Sam2
    Participant

    This thread honestly disgusts me. Every post encouraging discriminating against Ba’alei T’shuvah is a violation of over dozens of Lavin D’Oraisa (go through the Chofetz Chayim’s count by speaking Lashon Harah, they should all apply here) and 36 Aseis of Ahavas HaGer. Nothing is more dear to HKBH than a BT. The concept of Mutav Shey’hu… doesn’t apply nowadays with the internet (it applies to Pratei Dinim, not to Klalim). Every day that someone spends as a Frum person is worth a tremendous amount to HKBH and Klal Yisrael, even if they later go off again. How dare anyone ever try to remove that from them? I guarantee you that anyone who ever turns off a Ba’al T’shuvah and he is Chozer L’sirchono because of it is Asid Litein Es Hadin on every single future Aveirah that that person will do. And I guarantee that it’s possible that some people were turned off by some comments in this thread. V’su Lo Midi.

  • #1035504

    Naysberg
    Member

    So people should date (and marry) baal teshuvos even if they are looking for a frum from birth?

  • #1035505

    aurora77
    Participant

    I can hear the heartache in the post of sw33t…I am coming to Orthodoxy after discovering maternal Jewish roots (at this point, it is unclear to me if a conversion will be necessary or not). The pain of trying to carve out and excise parts of the life you have known is unreal. I wish I could find an apt way to describe it to posters here who have known only Orthodoxy and have no plans of leaving that community. My family is not even religiously observant (no church-going, etc.), but I now have to try to figure out what previously happy cyclical events I can partake in.

    Perhaps if posters here could imagine something that you love doing with family, something that has no specific religious link in your family but has become somehow inextricably linked to the larger culture…maybe this activity or event has been the source of countless precious memories from as early as you can remember, and then you contemplate giving it up forever.

    I am not sure what the thing is that would resonate with posters here, but I can tell you one thing that really pains me today (and tomorrow) of all days — the “baby’s first Christmas 1977” ornament that my parents formerly had me put on the tree each year, first as the oldest child. When I would see it and place it on the tree each year, I am not thinking of presents, or of the overwhelmingly excessive commercialism of this time of year, or of religious aspects of the holiday — I am remembering warm rooms full of light, love, other children, the best parents a child could ask for, and dear relatives who have passed.

    I do not come from a religiously observant family, but these are my memories from my first 35 years. These are my beloved parents and family, where I have always felt loved and cherished and even now accepted as I pursue a long-hidden family identity and religion that means so, so much to me. I sometimes feel like I will have to cut myself and my life in two.

    Given the anguish tied up in all of this, I personally would not want the additional anguish of having a spouse who really was looking for someone else (as Naysberg posits). Even if it is the case that I am Halachically Jewish, I will never be frum from birth. If that one characteristic is of paramount or even very high importance to a prospective spouse, then other characteristics of mine — for instance, how I discovered my Jewish soul against the odds, gave up a way of living, and adopted a new one to honor G-d, my beliefs, and a family history that was nearly lost due to the Holocaust — will not be given the crucial consideration that any soul mate should have when he thinks about why he loves, respects, and honors his other half.

  • #1035506

    Sam2
    Participant

    Naysberg: Davka looking for a Frum from birth involves an incredible number of Issurei D’Oraisa. If a particular Baal T’shuvah has issues that you don’t want to marry, fine. That happens. Not everyone is meant for you. But to inherently write off someone because they are on a higher level than you could ever be, well, then you’re just a moron.

  • #1035508

    Naysberg
    Member

    Sam2: The reason mentioned by Avi K above is a legitimate reason to not marry (even if there may be good reasons to overlook that negative.)

  • #1035509

    rebdoniel
    Member

    People hate converts and BT’s. It is a sad fact of life. And I’ve suffered persecution and discrimination because of it, too.

    I would suggest finding rabbinical allies, good rabbonim, to guide you and nurture you, and consider them your mishpacha and melitz yosher in this world. They’ll guide you through shidduchim, etc.

  • #1035510

    cv
    Member

    “So people should date (and marry) baal teshuvos even if they are looking for a frum from birth?”

    **

    No, they should not.

    Being BT, I also can’t see the reason, why BT would like to marry FFB. Do they really want to have a spouse and in-laws, who hate them?

    We like to talk about ahdus, but we don’t like bt, geirim, litvaks, chassidim…just name it. B”H we like ourselfs.

  • #1035511

    oomis
    Member

    Being BT, I also can’t see the reason, why BT would like to marry FFB. Do they really want to have a spouse and in-laws, who hate them?”

    That’s a rather harsh statement. I married a BT and am FFB. My father Z”L was a great Talmid Chochom and a Kohein, and he and my mother adored my husband, as do all my siblings. Likewise, my husband’s parents loved me. I do not believe that all BT can necessarily successfully be nis-shadchim with FFBs, but to make a blanket statement that the spouse (????) and in-laws might HATE them? That makes absolutely no sense to me. Any in-law might love or hate their child’s spouse. There are so many factors in play.

    As a general observation, I tend to believe that most BT might feel more comfortable with other BT, but that does not mean they should not seek a shidduch with a FFB spouse. It might be a little more difficult for them to FIND that FFB shidduch, as people tend to gravitate towards their religious comfort zone.

    I met my husband on my own while at work, and not in a shidduch. Had he been suggested to me by someone, I would have probably not initially thought it a shayach shidduch. He had only been frum for a few years, was not in any type of learning program at that time (for real beginners). But Hashem was my shadchan, and sent the kindest and most ehrliche man I have ever known, into my office on the day we met, and what he lacks in learning (though he loves any and all Divrei Torah), he more than makes up for in being the best role model in the world for our children, and an incomparable baal chessed.

  • #1035512

    rebdoniel
    Member

    I feel that BT’s should stick with other BT’s and gerim when it comes to shidduchim.

    There are many cultural gaps, for starters, as many people from right-wing frum backgrounds know nothing of the fine arts, philosophy, haute culture, etc. There needs to be intellectual compatibility in a shidduch.

  • #1035513

    phdmom
    Member

    “People hate converts and BT’s” oy!! what a horrible statement! can you seriously believe that?

    i can hear that ppl might feel that it is often smarter to have similar backgrounds because there’s a concern that the differences could contribute to shalom bayis issues, but generally, if the individuals themselves are flexible, their options are not limited. of course, it depends on the individual. some ppl are open to it, and others are not.

    as an FFB, i want to apologize profusely to any BT/ger who has felt any discrimination in real life, or on this thread.

  • #1035514

    Naysberg
    Member

    For anyone positing that no one dare consider being a BT a point of consideration in deciding against dating or marrying a prospective boy or girl, presumably you similarly posit that being a convert to Judaism dare not be considered in determining whether to date or marry someone.

  • #1035515

    golfer
    Participant

    Did you mean “haute couture,” rebdoniel?

    Or were you just trying to make sure we all know your right-wing frum background is intact and unsullied by association with any BT’s?

    I’m actually flummoxed to the point of breathless bewilderment by some of the comments here.

    Questions: Do I know any of the people here in real life?

    Where do these ideas come from?

    Newsflash Yidden– We’re all Yidden. Yes, all of us. Even the guy next door who pronounces his daughter’s name funny and takes forever to finish bentshing.

  • #1035516

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello oomis, that was beautifully stated and very moving! Your story of finding your other half is inspiring.

    Hello Naysberg, I am not sure if you were writing a reply to me, although it sounds as if you were referencing my post. I did not say or mean that people should not be daring to consider the fact that a prospective partner is a BT or a convert. The original poster asked about personal experiences, and I wrote about what I would want a partner to consider most important in me, not what I think other people should be doing in this regard in their relationships. If a potential partner looked at me and primarily focused on how I am not frum from birth, then this potential relationship would indeed cause me further anguish that I would not want to go through. I want to be with someone who values my other qualities more than my FFB status or lack thereof. For me, a successful partnership is based in part on at least some basic, shared priorities.

  • #1035518

    IshPashut
    Member

    I understand why someone might only be interested in marrying someone also from a frum family raised with the same hsakafa.

    However, as a bt I find it both very frustrating and hurtful that there exists this discrimination against me as I did not chose my parents but I am responsible for how I live my life now.

    Not only that but there are more girls who I might be introduced to who wouldn’t have a problem with me being a baal teshuva, however, those are are supposed to be doing the introducing have put people like myself in a box in which we could only possibly go on a date if we have exactly the same background.

    As I write this right now there are those who know me and who know that I am looking for a shidduch and if I were from a frum family they would have lots of suggestions.

    With the emphasis that is put into yichus and what family one comes from how is it possible to find my bashert despite the discrimination?

  • #1035519

    Joseph
    Member

    I know some Ashkenazi guys who want to marry a Sephardi girl but many or most of them won’t consider Ashkenazim.

    And vice versa.

  • #1035520

    coffee addict
    Participant

    ishpashut,

    try oot communities

  • #1035521

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    how is it possible to find my bashert despite the discrimination?

    Not everyone discriminates. For example, I highly doubt a baalas teshuvah would discriminate against a baal teshuvah, and plenty of FFB wouldn’t either.

    It might be frustrating and even hurtful for you, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to find a good shidduch.

  • #1035522

    Vogue
    Member

    I am a bt who is only willing to marry an ffb. Although I started keeping shabbos as a teenager, I grew up going to day school most of my life. Even though my elementary school was not frum, a bunch of frum kids were in my grade at that time. I went to a public hs for three years with a significant jewish population and attended an all girls learning program between 11th and 12 th grade. Then I switched to a by for the last year, and at this point, I literally only speak to a few guys who are single because I have known them, their families my whole life but I would never hang out with them and I only chat with them once every few months. Totalling up to like ten guys and some guys I speak to like once a year. But like I really do not know any guys, last week I was asked to attend a hillel meeting on my campus and I decided not to because its not my crowd. I know I have very yeshivish/chassidish leanings and earlier this summer I spoke on the phone with a guy from a different community and he was a bt, three days three hours on conversation I got the following: resentment of not religious family and childhood, unrealistic, no career plan (he was unemployed but made up many excuses not to make any initiatives towards further education or job search). I broke it off because all of these things really bother me. Everyone has religious struggles myself included but the truth is that nobody can build their bayis neeman on the basis of regretting ones past completely. My bt friends who are my age in shidduchim we dont have this attitude because we realized years ago in hs that it prevents us from growing in frumkite. But if your a girl who started in high school and get redt a 25 year old who started in college his journey since its later in life is much different and not everyone can deal with that.

  • #1035523

    coffee addict
    Participant

    vogue,

    why does this one bt acting not the way you would like, prevent you from dating bts that could be different? basically its seems like your generalizing bts based on this one guy.

  • #1035524

    Joseph
    Member

    Vogue: Would you consider a shidduch with someone of similar background as yourself – i.e. bt from teens on, went to non-frum school that had a lot of frum students, then went to yeshiva and now every not so often chats with a few single girls (no more than ten but never hangs out with them) who he knows his whole life?

  • #1035525

    I have found that it is more common to find BT discriminate against newer or weaker BT than for FFB discriminate against BT. I think that the reason for this is that BT tend to have a more complicated relationship with the outside world due to their past experiences. I don’t think that they should be taken to task for this, but that it should be explained to them that by offering a genuine hand of assistance to the newer BT, they will merit that HaShem extend His Hand to them.

  • #1035526

    Joseph
    Member

    Menachem Melamed: Interesting point. It seems three comments above your own bears out your observation.

  • #1035527

    Some of the comments here are amongst the most disgusting things I have ever seen. Discriminate against a bt? I am FFB myself, but consider muself a BT, and have many dear friends who are BT’s, and in general, they are far more dedicated to torah and yiddishkeit, probably because they were actually moser nefesh for it. How dare any of you have claims against someone who changed their entire world around for Hashem, and be upset with them for “not fitting in”? If you are not compatible with a BT because of their past, or other matters, how is that any different to not being compatible with anyone? You all will whine about “the shiddich crisis” and t the same time, chatz veshalom that you or your child will marry someone, who actually gve up everything to serve Hashem! Avrohom avinu was a ben nidda, the imahos were raised in the houses of reshaim, moshe was raise in pharoas palace, and he married the daughter of a ger. King yoshiyahu was a baal teshuva, as was rabbi akiva, reish lakish, rabbi elazar ben dardaya, rav wolbe, rav yaakov hillel, rav arush and many others. I would rather face your discrimination, than discriminate against someone in the way that you all do. I know two baalei teshuva who have been completely disowned by their parents, and a ger whose family now wont speak to him and only refer to him as “christ-killer”. Yet, someone who has made such a sacrifice, is not good enough for you. Rachmana litzlan.

  • #1035528

    Vogue
    Member

    The ten guys I speak to are at my shul. Honestly, I haven’t really gone out of my way to speak to guys since I was in hs before the bais yaakov stage. Also, you really do not have the right to judge as perhaps I am really making this opinion based on multiple conversations with guys who are baalei teshuva (which I am) including guys. I do not really live in that culture anymore and do not want to raise my children in that type of culture. Also, I need someone with solid minhagim.

  • #1035529

    coffee addict
    Participant

    vogue,

    i dont know what youre referring to, “dont want to raise my children in that type of culture” im a bt and dont raise my children in the same culturei. was born in, for the plain reason that I am a bt and know its dangers

  • #1035530

    adams
    Participant

    I married a BT. I fail to see what issues there can be. Once someone is fully Shabbos and Kashrus observant. Only issues can be with family. however, we have been good influence on one sibling who is not perfect but far more frum than we could have dreamed of.

    If my wife is any indication, the BT does want all her family to become frum very passionately.

  • #1035531

    Vogue
    Member

    There is a distinct “cultural” mindset that I have seen in multiple couples when both are bt. They tend to be very involved in kiruv organizations and raise their kids with that mindset type of thing. The wealthier families only really donate to kiruv from what I have seen. Also, I am against doing kiruv if people are not interested and the mindset of kiruv in most cases is that everyone who walks in the door is gonna keep shabbos in two hours and I have heard stories about people who have ended up in cherem for not having that mindset. I gotta tell you that I dont like the pushiness that comes from a kiruv lifestyle when people are exposed to many notall of these people. Even in ncsy I remember them pushing me a lot bur at least they knew who I was when they began to do that and it was only because they knew I was going to be recereceptive to what they were saying and when I told them what my barrier was to getting it, they were very helpful in that area. But their pushing was more like mirroring what I was feeling and giving me the resources to get it. Most other kiruv organizations put of communal pressure are forced to push more to a point where many people can break. I personally do not associate with those places but many baalei teshuva feel as if they have to and my conversations with one guy I didn’t end up actually dating and a few girls, I was told they felt their way was the only way to go, i think at least one of the girls went off the derech because of that and the guy his life seemed to have in his eyes fallen apart and my conversations with him indicated that because of how the people he associated with through the kiruv organization were pushy he was not really able to take care of himself. (Why would anyone tell a guy who lives in a town nowhere near cholov Yisroel milk that he has to keep the chumras or drink parve milk when he is not even married?) I personally am switching over to cholov yisroel but now that I have milk and cheese down, its a matter of when I am willing to basically give up eating candy and ice cream as often as I do now because I do live on a town wit all of these products here but the junk food is just really expensive.

  • #1035532

    coffee addict
    Participant

    vogue,

    it’s funny b/c when I was dating I said “I’m not marrying someone from New York” and I ended up marrying someone from NY who doesn’t act like a NYer, Hashem works in ways that make you put your foot in your mouth, I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up marrying a Baal Tshuvah, he just doesn’t act like it.

  • #1035533

    ivory
    Member

    Don’t really get what your driving at and how it comes in with marrying bts or not….

  • #1035534

    Joseph
    Member

    Vogue: Would you accept a shidduch with someone similar to yourself in that he speaks to about ten girls in shul so long as he isn’t going out of his way to do so?

  • #1035535

    Vogue
    Member

    Lior, I noticed that you asked this question twice. May I ask what the point is?

  • #1035536

    Vogue
    Member

    Technically every time I answer this a similar question, I either am told I am not frum enough for any guys they know. Or they end up sending me a resume of a guy who watches tv nonstop and completely ignore my preferences as to how I want my home run and I mean its not even like they are suggesting something similar but very different. I mean the suggestions end up being way off. Like one time I was redt a machmir guy who explicitly said in his profile I come home from work and watch tv all night I like to play pool with my beer buddies… I personally like an occasional beer myself but that type of image is reminiscent of tv shows I watched before I started keeping shabbos and not really anything I want in my home. I said no to that suggestion and the shadchan was extremely offended and when he asked me why I told him and I never heard from him again.

  • #1035537

    Joseph
    Member

    I was trying to understand why you expect your shidduch to be “frummer” (to borrow your term) than yourself.

  • #1035538

    Vogue
    Member

    I hear that. I have been told that no guys exist in that situation. I would prefer to compromise to the right than the left. To me, its rude not to acknowledge people speaking to you no matter how frum you are. As time goes by, there are some of those ten guys I will no longer be able to talk to as many are moving to israel…

  • #1035540

    Sam2
    Participant

    Vogue: If it makes you feel any better, plenty of guys (and girls) exist in very similar situations to yours.

  • #1035542

    Vogue
    Member

    Perhaps, but people do not necessarily get redt modern orthodox shidduchim because of it.

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