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The following is a response to Rabbi Avi Shafran’s Op-Ed piece about why B’allei Teshuvah in the Chareidi Community have not published their own counterpoint stories to the now multitude of ‘off-the-derech’ memoirs. His article, “Where’s The Orthodox Counterpoint To All These OTD Books” was published online last week on Forward.com

I very distinctly recall one of the rare instances when my B’al Teshuvah father openly criticized and took a shot at his traditional, Long Island Jewish parents. It was something along the lines of them not being accommodating enough to his very rigid religious lifestyle, which he began exploring quite suddenly at the age of eighteen.

This very rare occurrence took place several months ago, in a very emotionally- jarring disagreement which I had with my dad about the fact that I was seeing a non-Jewish girl at the time whom I met in a cultural anthropology class at community college. He had kicked me to the curb because of her, and I very tearfully challenged him over the phone about why he was so unlike his parents, who for the most part, made every compromise and adjustment in the book to always graciously accommodate the various special needs and restrictions of their son and daughter-in-law’s ultra-orthodox lifestyle. [click to continue…]


Why Aren’t There Any OTD Memoirs?

baal teshuvaIt’s chol hamoed and the Agudah offices are closed, so Ignorant Avi has too much time on his hands. When Ignorant Avi has too much time on his hands does he read books? No. Does he do research? No. He engages in ignorant polemics against non-Orthodox Jews. See, Agudah doesn’t really give him any vacation days, he has to work even when the office is closed.

So Ignorant Avi wrote a piece called “Where’s the Orthodox Counterpoint to All Those OTD Books?” Where he argues that the fact that OTDers are writing books while BTs aren’t means that OTDers write books to settle scores and express pointless negativity, while BTs are precluded from doing so because Judaism isn’t keen on settling scores or expressing pain – Ignorant Avi frames it this way: BTs have no need to revisit their childhood pain, Orthodoxy solves all their problems. (“they’re just happy to be home”)

We could, of course, point out the many flaws and factual inaccuracies in Ignorant Avi’s latest Forward piece.

We could point to the fact that there are plenty of BT memoirs.

  1. From Central Park to Sinai
  2. Anatomy of a Search
  3. The Road Back: A Discovery Of Judaism
  4. Waking Up Jewish

We could point to the fact that BTs do everything they can to hide their past – not because “they’re just happy to be home” but because the ultimate tool of frum control – the shidduch market – doesn’t favor BTs, so minimizing your past and focusing on integrating is a full-time occupation for BTs in the loving embrace of the frum community.

But facts don’t matter, conjecture doesn’t matter, opinions don’t matter. Ignorance is the key to being a good bully pundit like Ignorant Avi. So let’s do it his way.


Ok. Put your two thumbs inside your ears, let you index and middle fingers cover your eyes, put pressure on your two nostrils with your pinkies, make sure nothing from the real world seeps through and let’s go: [click to continue…]



You’ve  accidentally laughed out loud at a Dvar Torah someone was saying.

You know what “The Patriarchy” is.

Your once keen interest in national geographic magazine has all but disappeared.
[click to continue…]

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Ann Coulter is a Self-Hating Jew

Ann Coulter self hating jewWho is Ann Coulter? I never heard of her before, but she looks to me like the epitome of the self-hating liberal Jew West 68th Street. From her dyed blonde hair and fake shiksa nose down to her self-deprecating outburst on twitter during the Republican debate last night:


Shoyn, so all the frum Jews are up in arms over an angry white liberal wannabe shiksa saying angry white liberal wannabe shiksa things; what else is new? Bernie Sanders, who is a real Jew will win the election, I’m sure she’ll be happy then.


Dr. Dreyzach is back with a good video


To see more of the biggest frum talent, search for lev Aryeh videos on YouTube.


(Ed. I originally wrote this 3 years ago here and the writing is fairly terrible, worse than it is now, I think. But don’t blame me, blame my yeshiva.)

A few bochurim use some serious ingenuity and overcome crippling lethargy to do something they’ve only dreamed of doing. Warning: this story is so exciting it will definitely give you wanderlust. 

Yeshiva BochurOn those dreadfully long summer shabbos afternoons when all you can do is wait for shalosh seudos and of course when that comes you throw up from looking at the two-day old tuna fish and egg salad with too much water and not enough mayonnaise, on those shabbos afternoons you’re up for anything. I was up for anything. I hardly remember what I did on most shabbosim; I probably laid in bed most of the time and read books, heck that’s what I did all week, no reason to think I did anything different on shabbos.
There was one shabbos that was different though. There was a lake about five miles away from my yeshiva with a nice park on it and some friends and I had talked about walking there on a shabbos afternoon a few times. I had been there by bike once and thought I could lead the way, so one fine, hot sunny beautiful shabbos afternoon we took off our shabbos clothes, put on shorts, t-shirts and baseball caps, slipped out of the dorm and off we were! [click to continue…]


The Best Frum Drug Education Video

KallahZvi Gluck’s organization, Amudim, put out a nice video urging parents to seek help when they find their kids have a drug problem.

The best part? It doesn’t pretend girls live behind a Photoshop filter.

The second best part? That it doesn’t blame kids, it aims to educate parents to not yell at their kids and alienate them. Maybe their next video will target school principals and teachers.

The third best part is the reassurance that if you do call Amudim before it’s too late your daughter will eventually wear that coveted kallah dress.


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