Ahavas Chinam and the Beyond BT Shabbaton

Before the Beyond BT Shabbaton, at least 2 people asked us about the appropriateness of holding it during Shabbos Chazon. We had asked a shaila and were told there was no halachic problem at all. After having held the Shabbaton I think that this was in fact the perfect time to have it, here’s why.

We know that the Second Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of Sinas Chinam, senseless hatred, that is hating people for no good reason. An antitidote for Sinas Chinam is Ahavas Chinam, that is loving, supporting and caring about a person for no reason other than that they are a fellow Jew. Let’s look at all the ways people strove to achieve Ahavas Yisroel this Shabbos.

First we had our Passaic coordinators, Chana and Dina who did all the leg work to find the right place and caterer at the right price. Our goals were to make the event as nice and as affordable as possible.

Next were all the people from Passaic who opened their homes to those of us coming from outside Passaic. Included in this group were Dan and Edna Ritz who, in addition to hosting, opened their home for an Oneg on Friday night.

For the food preparations and serving we were blessed by the kindness of Chana’s son Benjamin who coordinated every aspect of the meals with fantastic results.

The next group who gave of themselves were Tzvi, Gary, Ron, Aaron and Reuven who each gave a wonderful ten minute inspirational talk. The quality of the speeches was truly amazing and one participant wondered how we were able to have such confidence in the speakers having never heard any of them speak previously.

Rabbi Yitz Greenman and his wife Leah shared their home and his words of experience on the topic of Integration into the Frum community for the Shabbos afternoon talk. But it wasn’t a lecture, Rabbi Greenman spoke for 15 minutes and then opened the floor for the next 45 as people shared their differing viewpoints on the issues and it’s various facets. It was like a lively comment thread with the same respect for a multiplicity of opinions that we value here.

Living up to their name was our host shul, Ahavas Israel who with their Morah D’Asra, Rabbi Eisenman and their administration and staff did everything they could to make our Shabbos as enjoyable as possible.

Finally there were the participants, a great mix of singles, couples and families who joined together to listen, learn and give chizuk to each other in the common quest for spiritual growth.

I’m sure this wasn’t the first Shabbaton that exhibited such an outpouring of Ahavas Chesed and it hopefully won’t be the last, but this is truly the stuff upon which the next Beis Hamikdash will be built – a foundation of giving, learning and growing. Thanks to the all the participants and thanks to the hundreds of people who come by every day to give and get chizuk in their quest for growth in Torah, Avodah and Gemillas Chasadim and collectively discussing the issues the Klal Yisroel faces.

Over the next few weeks, we will G-d willing, post excerpts from some of the topics discussed over Shabbos, so we can keep the discussion going here.

4 comments on “Ahavas Chinam and the Beyond BT Shabbaton

  1. You know, that’s a very interesting idea, Aharon Moshe. I’d like to see it expanded to include Monsey, too. Lots of us BT’s up this way, too. Maybe Beyond BT could facilitate a list of BT’s (for those interested) by location…Like a group for KGH, Passaic, Monsey, Lakewood, etc…It might just launch a whole new support program whereby “locals” can get together to “talk BT shop” and network.
    There might be something to this that could be a great help to many of us in our own backyards…

  2. Mark,

    Beyond BT in Passaic. I just wanted to take a moment here to thank you for the event. I would also like to propose someway that BT’s in Passaic can be better networked with BT’s in Kew Garden Hills.

    My daughter and I ended up having dinner on Main St. @ Shimon’s with my secular mom and her friend just last night. Naturally my mom likes to spend time with my daughter and I am happy for them both to be together.

    However, becoming frum as everyone here should know involves many lifestyle changes. With my mom living in Kew Gardens, Kew Garden Hills may be a wonderful community for us to forge new connections with. As a matter of fact I was able to get my mom to drive down a set of brand new dishes to the KG Hills dish mikvah.

    I wondered why there was such a concern for integration. Personally I am proud to be a BT, and the big challenge is becoming accepted and accomodated by our secular friends and relatives.

    I also think this web site is a great thing to have. I do not always have the patience to do so much reading and writing on the internet, however I am very interested in meeting some of the Kew Garden Hills BT’s. I guess growing up in Kew Gardens, as well as attending Queens College might have something to do with that.

    Looking forward to having the opportunity to meet more of the beyondbt.com family.

    Aharon Moshe S.
    Passaic NJ

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