Financial Squeeze

We all feel as if we are taxed to death! It seems for most people that we spend more than we earn. I recently landed a great job and couldn’t believe how much I would be making especially after living in eretz yisroel and earning not even a fifth of that. But when I got my first pay cheque I cried!! I couldn’t believe how much of my $ went to taxes. I soon got over the initial shock but then once you take away mortgage payments or rent, insurance fees, car loans, clothing, food and travel expenses, what is left? For many of us, not much.
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Springing into Spirituality with the Shovavim

When I was in seminary, I would spend hours pouring over Torah. But once I left sem and got married I found it harder and harder to take the time I needed to focus on my growth. Married women have much less time than I’d ever imagined as a single in sem. I’m not sure of the answer in order to find more time but one of the things that has been organized in my city in the past is a one week summer camp for women. Its 5 days of intense learning usually offered in the summer when those with kids may send them to summer camp. While 5 days might not seem like a lot, it’s enough to recharge one’s spiritual and intellectual batteries. “I’m not sure if anything like this exists in other cities but if it does I’d be very interested to hear from people who have been to such a camp.
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Davening in English or Hebrew

As a BT I find davening hard, I grew up in a very spiritual house where my mother always said G-d is with you always and you can talk to him in anyway you choose the same way you’d speak to one of your sisters or friends and that is exactly the kind of relationship I had (have?) with G-d. At times we’d be the best of friends speaking 5 times a day and at others there would be some unspoken distance between us and weeks might pass without so much as a word (on my end of course).
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My Non-Jewish Father and My Oh-So-Jewish Mother

When I first became frum, I wanted my parents to completely embrace my new lifestyle and take on the same things I was taking on but they were pretty much indifferent. I later moved away to a predominantly BT neighbourhood where people shared stories with me of parents who had disowned them or continuously fought with them about their frumkeit. I began to appreciate my parents’ indifference to my life. They didn’t have to be excited or angry or anything special about my new life. I was okay with that. I realized how great they both were in that they let me make my own choices and were happy if I was happy.

My mother’s biggest issue in the whole thing came very recently when she realized I didn’t have a TV. She actually cried over it and offered to buy me one. Read more My Non-Jewish Father and My Oh-So-Jewish Mother

To Conform or Not to Conform that is the Question

As a Sephardi baal teshuva I am continually faced with this question. When I began my path of teshuva I couldn’t even find a Sephardi siddur or a book about Sephardi halacha. There was nothing to guide me on my quest. I approached the rabbis I knew, who of course were all Ashkenazi, and they suggested I daven Ashkenazi and adopt Ashkenazi minhagim since that would make things easier and simpler and since the majority of Jews in North America are Ashkenazi the likelihood is I’ll end up marrying an Ashkenazi boy. I took their advice and bought my first siddur, an artscroll. I davened from it for years.
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