Mark and his family had the good fortune of having lunch with Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller on Monday during the Kew Garden Hills stop of her Spring visit to the States. As you know, Rebbetzin Heller has been working with Baalei Teshuva for many years and she is much sought after for her sage advice. Here are some of the thoughts she shared.
Rebbetzin Heller feels it is important that Baalei Teshuva integrate into their communities. There is no benefit in retaining that which no longer serves you. She compared it to a foreigner learning the language and customs of the place they currently live for their own benefit. This does not mean hiding the fact that you are a Baalei Teshuva or cutting off parts of yourself, it means trying to understand and adapt to your community.
Reb. Heller feels that one area that Baalei Teshuva could use help in is parenting. Many times, BTs are too stringent with their children and other times they are much too lenient. Parenting involves many grey areas and one must deal with each child and each situation differently. It’s also important not to try and make your children be the frum from birth success that you could never be as a BT.
Rebbetzin Heller feels that there definitely is a Shidduch Crisis. She does not feel that the situation is worse for BTs because they are usually willing to consider a wider range of people. She said that she has seen success on the SawYouAtSinai.com dating site which combines Shadchanim with a web based database. It is also important for BTs to try to find advocates to help them find an appropriate match.
Here is a shiur, Reb. Heller gave Monday night at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel titled Finding Inspiration From Within.