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BTs – two perspectives

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 2, 2007


This clip could easily be stood against another Clip about how Bnai Teshuvah are being discriminated against within the Frum Community.

clipped from www.beyondbt.com

At the Beyond BT Shabbaton in Passaic, Rabbi Yitz Greenman – Executive Director of Aish NY and Producer of Inspired Films gave a shiur on Integrating into the Frum Community.Rabbi Greenman started off by giving two scenarios which he thought were unhealthy:
1) Feeling that you always have to hide being a BT
2) Advertising you are a BT and associating only with other BTs.He felt that a person should find a community where (s)he would associate with people who weren’t BTs and at the same time the person shouldn’t feel that (s)he needed to hide being a BT.After presenting the above position, the floor was opened to questions and a lively discussion ensued.

 

Many people in attendance felt that the reason that people hid being a BT, was because people are judgmental about BTs. Rabbi Greenman was not sure that judgmentalism was the cause and thought that perhaps people felt judged, but really weren’t.

clipped from jewschool.com

This is a child born to a woman who had not immersed herself in the mikvah, or ritual bath, prior to sexual relations, as is commanded by Jewish law.Of course, the vast majority of liberal and secular Jewish women do not go to the mikvah prior to resuming sexual relations, and therefore most children of liberal and secular Jewish backgrounds are designated as “b’nai niddah.” In fact, the term BT (baal teshuvah) is today essentially synonymous with “ben niddah,” and this may be why the term baal teshuvah is employed more frequently in the haredi world for designating a newly observant member of the community than in the Modern Orthodox world. A BT does not just come from a different background as a haredi FFB (“frum,” or observant, from birth), but is also of a different status than an FFB. This is because there are negative personality characteristics associated with such a classification according to many ancient rabbinical commentaries.Bnai Niddah are “corrupt and sinners.” They have a genetic disposition to do evil. They are prone to brazenness and rebelliousness, and do not treat great rabbis with the proper respect they deserve. Baal teshuvahs are not properly deferential towards great rabbis just because they were brought up with and retain vestiges of a liberal democratic approach to life and society. It is because their mother did not immerse in the mikvah, or at least, the BT’s unfortunate world view is exacerbated by the unclean bloodstains of menstruation on their souls.

It might be slightly hard (you think?) to feel at home and feel that you are a part of the Community, if you are being looked at as something “ritually unclean” where ever you go. Especially if you are truly trying to do everything by the book, and are successful.

Add to this that this treatment of Bnai Teshuvah is actually a violation of Torah, which says that G-d takes great pleasure in each sinner who returns to Observance of Mitzvot.

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