By Leah Anderson
Recently, there was an interesting letter to the editor in the Yated (newspaper I get weekly). The woman (a BT) went to a wedding and someone at her table mentioned that she could tell a mile away that she is a BT, even though she has been frum for 15 years. The BT was very upset and hurt, she thought that her shaitel and outfit fit in very well with the “look” that everyone else was wearing, but this stranger was able to tell she was a BT. And she so desperately wants to fit into the community!
This got me to thinking, that although many times BTs are made to feel welcome in the communities we live in, sometimes grave mistakes are made that are very insensitive and hurtful.
My husband (let’s call him Dovid) told me what happened to him once, and has given me permission to relay this here.
When Dovid was first becoming religious, he davened in the way he was taught in Hebrew school, with a havarah sfardit. All the sofs were tofs. Anyways, he went to a friend for shabbos and they went to shul, and no one wanted to daven Mincha (everyone too tired) so they asked my husband to daven. When davening was over a man went over to Dovid and asked him if he was looking for a shidduch! Dovid, who was single at the time, told him “Yes”. So the man said “well, don’t expect to find anyone around here!” My husband walked away in shock, but didn’t answer him. What a callous thing to say, my husband was this new Baal Teshuvah and got such a warm welcome. There is nothing wrong with davening in havarah sfardit, and our shul is very happy to have Dovid daven at the amud, Bli Ayin Horah.
Anyways, I thought that we could all share on this topic some things that have happened that were unpleasant and get support from each other.