Becoming Observant As a Family: How to Survive the Challenges

Taking the Family on the Teshuva Train

One day we find ourselves standing at the crossroads of life. We may find ourselves with a yearning to reconnect to our roots, to the traditions of our family. In some cases, such as mine, we have a chance encounter, are awesomely inspired and want that inspiration to last forever. A passion catches fire and we are off! This is great for us adults. But what if you are a family? How you move through the process of becoming observant will seriously impact the future of your children’s attachment to their yiddishkeit.
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Rosh HaShana Shofar

Rosh HaShana Tips for Millennials and Spiritual Seekers

Rosh HaShana for the Millennial Generation

For those looking to be more spiritually connected, especially millennials who eschew rigidity for passion and self-expression, sitting in a synagogue for hours on end, reading meaningless prayers is not very appealing. But they are not alone. The Rosh HaShana themes of judgment and confession do not resonate with many and, in fact, can alienate us even further from our religious roots. Here is how to have a rich spiritual Rosh HaShana experience that will take you to the spiritual heights you seek.
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The Enduring Kippah

The Enduring Kippah: Why and When Do We Wear One?

The Kippah: Why Do We Wear It?

A few posts back we were talking about frum clothing and I mentioned the kippah or yarmulke as it is known in Yiddish. For the ba’al teshuva, making the kippah a constant part of our life may be one of the most profound aspects of our transformation. We wear the kippah to remind us to be in awe of a higher power, and also to show respect, but more importantly, the kippah reminds us to be humble.

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kosher internet

The Ba’al Teshuva and the Internet: Do I Need to Burn My Smartphone?

You made the big decision to become religious and have gone through the hard work of koshering your kitchen, switching your Saturdays to Shabbat, and living a more focused life. But what about your smartphone? Tablet? Surfing the web? Because you are now orthodox, do you need to throw out all of your internet devices and boycott the internet?

Is There Life Without Internet?

For me the answer is definitely “no,” especially since it is my profession. Today, telecommuting is huge, so you need the internet. Plus there is a ton of great stuff on the web today, including Torah classes, music, movies, dating sites, kosher versions of Craigslist and apartment rental portals, there is even social media for the religious Jew. The truth is that our lives have become digital, and to take on a self-imposed exile from the internet may be admirable but not necessary. (more…)

rabbi

How to Choose the Right Rabbi

“Make for yourself a Rav” – Pirkei Avot—Ethics of our Fathers
When you are just beginning your journey of becoming religious, you need a trusted guide to help you. There can be an urge to do everything at once and even to become more religious than everyone you know. This is a sure-fire recipe for failure. You can turn to friends and maybe other family members who have also become ba’alei teshuva, but your most trusted guide should be a rabbi. If you are coming from a completely secular lifestyle, then your exposure to rabbis might be somewhat limited. You could also be nervous about hooking up with one, but trust me, the right rabbi is key to a journey of return that will be fun, fulfilling and successful.  (more…)