How Should We Format Beyond BT Meet Ups

We’ve previously had a few Beyond BT Shabbatons and Melava Malkas and those involved got much Chizuk out of it.

We would like to schedule a Beyond BT meet up every 2,3 or 4 months.

It can be on a Moetzae Shabbos, a Sunday or a Weekday night.

We can have it in NYC, Queens, Long Island, New Jersey, Monsey and we can rotate the venue.

We can discuss specific topics among ourselves, have a Rav give a shiur on a relevant topic, have a facilitated discussion, get together to eat and Shmuz.

Please comment below if you would like to participate and what format and venues you would prefer. You can also email us at

20 comments on “How Should We Format Beyond BT Meet Ups

  1. Thank you Steve Brizel for those thoughtful words.
    Judy, I hear you. It is similar with my sister, and especially since they now have 2 intermarried sons. They will not participate in anything Jewish that we invite them to. Still, I am close to my sister in a sense. I shared all of my geneology research with her, and when we took care of my mother a”h we were in daily contact. It just stung a bit when I made this wedding and there was no sibling to share the ups and downs of it. B”H I live in a good community and friends stepped in as much as possible.

  2. Chanah leah-RYBS once commented that one of Avraham Avinu’s tests was seeing his cousin’s large family with whom he had nothing to do with or in common with after the Akeidah and not evincing any jealousy whatsoever over its large size which is fully recounted in Chumash. I think that this test is part and parcel of all of the issues that any BT goes through as he or she thinks about, negotiates issues with and relates to his or her family of origin as he or she integrates into the FFB world via its myriad institutions that are focused on Torah, Avcodah and Gmilus Chasadim.

  3. With April approaching on the horizon (it’s already late January) I suggest maybe an affordable Pesach getaway. Yes, I know (a) it’s too late because such things have to be planned a year in advance; and (b) “affordable Pesach getaway” is an oxymoron. This doesn’t mean I’m giving hope as greater miracles have happened (like all of us becoming baalei-teshuvah and taking on observant Judaism in the first place). Since we don’t have families we can go to, a very big issue for many of us on this blog, a Beyond BT Pesach vacation would be wonderful.

  4. May I suggest that Beyond BT personal meetings include organized sessions where BTs help each other with: shiduchim, employment, Torah study, Shabbat / Yom Tov invitations and praying for each other.

    We BTs do not have the family connections that the FBBs have, so let us help each other as if we were all part of a large BT family.

  5. Chana Leah, mazel tov on your son’s chasunah. I second Steve Brizel’s good wishes, that with G-d’s help you will within due time in a “mazeldike shaah” have the wonderful experience of being a Bubbie.

    So far, I have married off six of my seven children, and made three Bar Mitzvahs for my sons. In four months BS”D on Lag B’Omer will be the first simcha of the next generation, the Bar Mitzvah of my oldest grandson. One of the nice things about being the grandmother (rather than the mother) of the Bar Mitzvah boy is getting to have all of the fun and none of the work!

    Chana Leah, I share your pain in #14 about your sister not coming to the wedding. I have one sister who is not religious, and since our parents are gone many years, now all that’s left is just me and she. She and her (Jewish but quite anti-religious) husband have steadfastly refused to attend any of our simchas: none of the weddings, none of the Bar Mitzvahs. They don’t even bother to make excuses anymore.

    It hurts me terribly because I know that if my sister really wanted to attend, she could come without my brother-in-law, so it’s pretty clear that neither one wants to come. What I hate to admit is the obvious: my sister doesn’t like me too much, and my brother-in-law doesn’t like me at all.

    I once lost it over the phone and yelled at my sister, “Can’t you give me two hours a year?” Then I realized yelling or arguing wasn’t going to help, they’ve made up their minds already not to go near us, I guess we’re radioactive. Ironically, my sister does talk to me when I call, and sometimes she calls me, or we email each other. But they have an ironclad rule about not coming to visit us or to participate in our simchas.

  6. Always A BT: Thanks for the encouragement. We had heard of the idea of writing out an itinerary before, and we did, but only sent it to a few relatives. And you are right about the careful wording, I revised it about 5 times to make sure it didn’t sound coercive or condescending, only conveyed our desire to have them attend our simcha while also mentioning things like dance floor mechitzas, gender separate seating in chuppa room, etc.

  7. Thank you all for the kind wishes. Ilana Yehudis, believe it or not, it helps just knowing someone who has been through exactly the same thing. It’s hard to express the exact reaction i’ve had, truthfully, but when my sister told me she wasn’t coming I really had no resentment, I really understood. On the other hand there is this kind of silent exasperation, I guess that’s what mesirus nefesh is about.

  8. Dear Chana Leah, Mazel tov on your son’s chasana!! May the day of the wedding, and the days leading up to it be filled with simcha and shalom!

    I too experienced what you wrote about: Siblings who didn’t show up at our child’s wedding because I did not attend their child’s intermarriage… this seems to be a frequent dilemma that bt’s find themselves facing. I wish I had something wise or comforting to write. I do not. When we face the fragmentation of familiar relationships, the loss is real.

    May Hashem send you nechama,.. and more, may He send abundant blessings to the new couple, and your entire family!!! Take the great advice and enjoy yourself!!!

  9. ChanaLeah:
    We made a wedding recently for our daughter who married a BT. Most of the relatives were not frum, nor chatan’s parents’ guests; about 1/3 of the total guests were either not frum or not Jewish. One of my daughter’s grad school (non-Jewish) friends flew in cross country to attend & she had a blast!

    We made the kind of wedding the kids wanted; it was very haimish. The non-observant guests had a great time! So many commented on the simcha & love felt so intensely; they had never seen anything like it!

    One thing that helped was that we had a (very carefully worded) program & timeline of what to expect. We inserted it in the invitation for those who were unfamiliar; this way there were no surprises. We also had plenty of copies available at the chatunah as well.

    If you want, I would be happy to e-mail it to you. If you are interested, please have the Administrator e-mail me & I can send through him.

    Mazal tov & don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

  10. Judy what do you envision the kids doing while the parents are listening to the shiur and divrei chizuk? Just curious.

    Truthfully, I would be looking for something where we could connect to others going through the same BT struggles as we are and hopefully to be mechazek one another…..Not really so interested in shiurim, we already have plenty to attend in our community.

    As an aside, we are making a wedding on Sunday for our son and it has been an almost surreal experience with regard to our non-observant family. I have never missed having siblings involved so much before, as I did during the last few months. In fact, only 1 family member is attending this wedding, for various reasons others are not coming (including because of my refusal to attend their intermarriages). It would be nice to connect to other BT’s who are willing to talk about their experiences making weddings. I know we had a thread or two on the topic in the past…..

  11. I agree that a Melaveh Malka during the winter with a social and educational component from within BT or a speaker with a focus on Kiruv/Chizuk and Chinuch or Achdus in practice would be as good a draw as a Shabbaton. I would suggest that the same be held either in KGH or Passaic, two communities that welcome BTs far more openly than many others.

  12. I for one would vote for a Motzaei Shabbos meetup, with children allowed to come along so parents don’t have to scramble to find babysitters. Personally I would like a shiur given by a rav on a topic like Kiruv or Chinuch, followed by divrei chizuk from one of the Beyond BT “machers,” followed by some sort of meet and greet. Others of course would differ.

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