I have gotten some complaints that I am not as equal opportunity of a judger as I claim to be and I focus more on frummies and modern orthodox then on other parts of the frum community. That said it is time to judge and stereotype BT’s otherwise known as Baal Teshuva’s. This past shabbos someone mentioned that there are some subtle ways that one may notice when a BT makes the transition from BT to regular old frum. I never actually thought of this transition before- but come to think of it- I have many friends that have dropped the cheeseburgers and strip clubs, for a pious life of staring over the mechitza and bringing TV’s into their houses concealed in air conditioner boxes. I have also noticed now that it has been conjured up in my mind- that their are many ways to tell when your baal teshuva friend has become officially frum.
They start to talk in shull: this is how the whole topic came about, someone mentioned that BT’s tend to be silent during davening, while their so called frum brethren are yapping away around the bima or to their friends in the pews.
They begin to listen to secular music again: how many BT’s have I met that the first thing they did was to throw out all their CD’s and stop listening to goyishe music. Then all the sudden their days at Aish or Chabad are in the rear view mirror and they regret throwing out all their hard to find 80s hair metal.
They start visiting their parents again: you know those folks that flip out and decide that talking with and visiting their parents too much leads to too many arguments. So they decide to just make up excuses when thanksgiving rolls around and then they try and convince the parents to kasher their house to which the father starts yelling about the ways he’s going to kill his son or daughter. When the transition happens and suddenly you are thrust into frumkeit- you realize how stupid and wimpy you were and suck it up with buying some plastic wear and telling your folks where to buy kosher food for you when you do come home.
They start to daven a normal looking shmona esray: you can always spot a BT in shull be merely measuring who bows the farthest during shmona esray and who clops their chest like a hungry caveman during silach lanu.
They begin to mumble their brachos: at first they actual say brachos hwo they are supposed to be said, then suddenly it becomes habit and second nature- and it sounds like a jumbling rather then a prayer.
Jewish Geography becomes possible: you did your time in Israel, hung out in Ohr Someyach in Monsey or maybe with the Lubbies in Morristown. At first you were at a loss- only knowing the 3 Jews in your high school class of 1600. Now you got game, you know every kiruv Rabbi in the lower 48 and in Europe, you have stayed at multiple families throughout your BT tenure and you can finally pitch in your two cents when Jewish Geography comes up, and it will, at pretty much every Jewish meal.
You start admitting that you miss meat and cheese together: prior to the switch you were what I have termed as BT deniers (wacky BT’s who deny they ever ate non-kosher, shtupped shiksa’s and listened to Cyndi Lauper) Then all of the sudden you have cast off the BT shell and become a regular old frummy, you start to admit that you really could go for a chicken ptarmigan sandwich, or that girl named Caitlyn-Mackenzie- Edwards that you did in the broom closet in college, and you would really love to see Ozfest this year. Before your transition you would have kept these thoughts inside- but now they are out there in the open.