Discrimination Against Baalei Teshuva
Home › Forums › Controversial Topics › Discrimination Against Baalei Teshuva
- This topic has 142 replies, 71 voices, and was last updated 8 years, 5 months ago by Vogue.
December 24, 2012 2:59 am at 2:59 am #1035496cantgetitMember
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.)December 24, 2012 4:37 am at 4:37 am #1035497cvParticipant
welldressed007- thanks a lot for your post!!!December 24, 2012 5:52 am at 5:52 am #1035498NechomahParticipant
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?December 24, 2012 6:21 am at 6:21 am #1035499Avi KParticipant
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.December 24, 2012 9:42 am at 9:42 am #1035500old manParticipant
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.December 24, 2012 3:11 pm at 3:11 pm #1035501WIYMember
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.December 24, 2012 8:49 pm at 8:49 pm #1035502sw33tMember
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.December 25, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am #1035503
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.December 25, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am #1035504
So people should date (and marry) baal teshuvos even if they are looking for a frum from birth?December 25, 2012 2:56 am at 2:56 am #1035505aurora77Participant
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.December 25, 2012 3:57 am at 3:57 am #1035506
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.December 25, 2012 4:48 am at 4:48 am #1035508
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.)December 25, 2012 5:18 am at 5:18 am #1035509rebdonielMember
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.December 25, 2012 6:24 pm at 6:24 pm #1035510cvParticipant
“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.December 25, 2012 7:24 pm at 7:24 pm #1035511oomisParticipant
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.December 25, 2012 8:53 pm at 8:53 pm #1035512rebdonielMember
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.December 25, 2012 9:33 pm at 9:33 pm #1035513phdmomMember
“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.December 25, 2012 9:56 pm at 9:56 pm #1035514
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.December 25, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm #1035515golferParticipant
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.December 26, 2012 5:14 am at 5:14 am #1035516aurora77Participant
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.October 12, 2014 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #1035518IshPashutMember
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?October 12, 2014 9:30 pm at 9:30 pm #1035519
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.October 12, 2014 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm #1035520
try oot communitiesOctober 13, 2014 12:05 am at 12:05 am #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.October 13, 2014 2:07 am at 2:07 am #1035522
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.October 13, 2014 2:36 am at 2:36 am #1035523
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.October 13, 2014 2:44 am at 2:44 am #1035524
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?October 13, 2014 2:52 am at 2:52 am #1035525Menachem MelamedParticipant
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.October 13, 2014 3:15 am at 3:15 am #1035526
Menachem Melamed: Interesting point. It seems three comments above your own bears out your observation.October 13, 2014 8:49 am at 8:49 am #1035527secretagentyidMember
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.October 13, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am #1035528
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.October 13, 2014 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #1035529
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 dangersOctober 13, 2014 5:10 pm at 5:10 pm #1035530adamsParticipant
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.October 13, 2014 7:54 pm at 7:54 pm #1035531
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.October 13, 2014 9:37 pm at 9:37 pm #1035532
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.October 13, 2014 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm #1035533ivoryMember
Don’t really get what your driving at and how it comes in with marrying bts or not….October 14, 2014 1:22 am at 1:22 am #1035534
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?October 15, 2014 1:05 am at 1:05 am #1035535
Lior, I noticed that you asked this question twice. May I ask what the point is?October 15, 2014 1:41 am at 1:41 am #1035536
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.October 15, 2014 3:00 am at 3:00 am #1035537
I was trying to understand why you expect your shidduch to be “frummer” (to borrow your term) than yourself.October 15, 2014 3:17 am at 3:17 am #1035538
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…October 15, 2014 3:58 am at 3:58 am #1035540
Vogue: If it makes you feel any better, plenty of guys (and girls) exist in very similar situations to yours.October 19, 2014 2:10 pm at 2:10 pm #1035542
Perhaps, but people do not necessarily get redt modern orthodox shidduchim because of it.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.