Come November 28, it will be one year since this blog went live. Undoubtedly, the administrators will have plenty to say about what this experience has meant to them. But obviously it’s meaningful to many of us out here, both occasional visitors and those of us who’ve become the “regulars”. So many times I’ve had conversations with other BT friends, and they’ve brought up an issue, such as how to handle non-frum family simchas, that I know has been covered here. So I’ll direct them to the website, perhaps emailing them a link to an article they might find helpful.
There aren’t too many websites I visit on a regular basis, but somehow, this one seems to be an exception. There’s a curiosity to see “what’s happening”. Is there a discussion going on that grabs me? So I’ve been thinking why I’ve gotten so involved, for lack of a better escription.
It’s unusual to find a website that sort of speaks personally to ones self. Many of the frum websites either are too beginner oriented or just don’t seem to be put together in a way that yours truly finds riveted enough to make that frequent hit. If someone checks my surfing history, they’ll surely see that I’ve followed links from my weekly Aish and OU emails, kept up with the family, and pursued a fascination with genealogy. There’s trying to get a real picture of what’s going on news wise in Israel and some good ole R&R as well, mostly in the form of silly podcasts, because everyone needs to have fun now and then.
Yet, repeatedly I’ll visit Beyond BT. It almost feels like a family, with its unique members. I admit to having favorite posts. For starters, there are any of Shayna’s, and particularly the one Uninspired by Inspired, which is still one of the most commented on here. Among the many inspiring pieces, I personally related to Ora’s article about davening during the Hizbullah war this past summer. There were all those “arguments” about which type of kiruv is best, wherein you can find yours truly insisting that there is no one size fits all. A position I adamantly stand by. David Kirschner hit quite a few high notes, and this recent post created quite a lengthy discussion about “frum garb”, right or wrong. But the winner, not just in number of comments, but in my mind in terms of practicality, is still the one about financial realities of the frum world. This post also led me to Sephardi Lady’s Orthonomics blog(Mazal Tov on your recent baby), where some of the stories were outright heartbreaking. As might be expected, I do have an affinity for posts by other women, but there’s nothing surprising about that – after all, women speak to one another in very meaningful ways, although according to a recent newspaper article I read, we are a very small part of the blogosphere.
This blog made me think (always a worthy goal). It made me very aware of the big hole in my BT growth insofar as “formal” education goes. How fortunate those women who’ve had the opportunity to learn in Israel are! Then I got to thinking – why didn’t I head off to someplace like Neve myself back when I was first becoming frum? And I came to the realization that at the time when I was becoming frum, I was also living in a rent-controlled apartment in a community in which I was growing a lot. There was no way I could have afforded to have taken off for Israel and still paid the rent, and subletting was not an option. Once upon a time I think I suggested having a Beyond BT group flight to Israel. For one thing, we’d get to visit with our Beyond BT friends who live in Israel. And for another, having a group rate might make it more affordable for those of us who are caught in the tuition struggle. At this stage in life, going to Israel is my only desire, and my biggest goal. It’s the only thing that makes credit card debt on a mileage card a bit less depressing then it actually is.
The highlight of the year, for those of us who were fortunate to attend, was certainly the Shabbaton! There was tremendous ruach, and it was so much fun meeting the faces behind the posts and comments. It would be so much fun to have more events in other locations, in order to be more inclusive for our OOT members.
So, in closing let me just wish us all a “Happy Birthday Beyond Teshuva” and keep up
the great job!