Stuff Baal Teshuvas like

Originally the Stuff Jews Like series was planned for a whole month of posts, but in reality I can’t do a month of exactly the same material. While I have a bunch of these posts planned, I will be spacing them out to the tune of once or twice a week. This is the first time I have ever done a series of posts on a similar theme and it was wildly successful. If you have any other themes that you think could be made into a series, I am all ears. If you would like to write a post on a specific sect of Jews and what they like I would be more than willing to post it here. I have had several people submit their own pieces to be included in the posts for Stuff Reform Jews Like and Stuff Conservative Jews Like. Let’s face it — they shouldn’t be lumped in with secular Jews.

Stuff BTs Like:

Frumming Out: BTs love to frum out. They do it quickly a lot of the time and swiftly. They go from knowing nothing to the whole black hat yeshivish garb.

Kissing their hand: What is it about BTs who love to kiss their hand after you shake it. I wonder if it makes them more immune to a lot of diseases now?

Transliterated siddurs: What would the BT do without transliterated siddurs? I personally find them annoying. Granted, not as annoying as the Koren Sacks siddur which has flipped the English and Hebrew from my pre-conditioned artscroll mind, but nearly so.

Bracha sheets up at the bimah: If you want to see a BT panic, take away the bracha sheet. I notice they try to start the bracha on the Torah without the sheet anyway so they can claim full frum status, but they usually switch mid bracha because they can’t make it all the way.

Baruch Hashem: I notice that BTs love to say B”H much of the time and there’s nothing wrong with it – unless you get hear things like Baruch Hashem I got laid last night.

Shuckling like madmen: Just another way for BTs to show their enthusiasm — shuckling with fists clenching and unclenching, doing the violent shuckel and getting really into it are the ways of BTs.

Over extending their davening bows: When you don’t know what to do you may as well go nuts. I can spot a BT from a mile away when I see them taking conductor-like bows at the end of shemona esrei

Clopping their chests very loudly for viduy: It’s as if they need to clop harder for all of their pre-BT sins.

Getting rid of their untznius clothing: I have even heard of parties where girls would burn all of their pants and halter tops.

Throwing away all of their secular music: This is such a BT thing to do. Ten years later they regret it, similar to the way that older mothers feel about throwing all of those 1950’s baseball cards that were taking up valuable garage space.

Wearing techeles in their tzitzis: I always notice that the only folks who wear techeles tzitzis are either Baalei Teshuva or Carlebachian hippie Bat Ayin types.

Gerim: They are like the extreme BT and BT’s have a special kinship with them.

Telling Shomer Stories: I have noticed that BTs love talking about their Shomer Negiah trials and tribulations when they tell their old friends that they can’t touch them anymore. I also love it how they take on negiah a lot of times before they start to dress tznius – so you have this miniskirt wearing hottie that won’t touch you – what a tease.

Wearing black velvet the wrong way: They tend to wear black velvet yarmulkes with pins or clips and usually pushed too far back on the head to mimic the years of satin yarmulke wearing.

Rebuke: Not only do BTs love being shown how to do things, they love showing others how to do things and this includes heavy rebuke for all types of slight infractions.

Proofs: I have witnessed many times as a BT tried to prove that Judaism was the right religion. The newer BTs are great because you can see them trying to get everything that Rabbi Gottlieb said verbatim.

Matisyahu: BTs think Matisyahu is the coolest thing since Aish Discovery.

Taking their friends out to kosher restaurants: One of the biggest problems with being frum, is that you lose the social connectivity that people have through food. You cannot eat out with co-workers, old friends or family anymore. Finding a good kosher restaurant that can compare to the treife eating experience is next to impossible – when you do – you want to share it with people who don’t keep kosher to show that you are normal.

Birthright: It seems that almost every BT I have met in the past ten years was someone who found a deeper connection on their birthright trip. I do notice that they love to talk about how their experience was different than their peers who just wanted to party and get laid.

Carlebach Shabbat: I feel like more and more shuls are doing these to get enthused BTs into the door to make their ring around the bimahs more exciting. In Dallas at the big kiruv shul, every week they danced around the bimah.

Aish: BTs love Aish – I can tell when a BT has been Aished. They tend to be nuts. If a girl admits to having gone to Jewel I stay very far away. Aish has some great programs and their food was far superior to Ohr Someyach – but the guys at OS are way cooler and more cracked out.

College Kollel: It’s a bit controversial, but some kiruv foundation figured that the only way to get people to learn with a campus rabbi is to pay them. I call it college kollel and it sounds nuts to me, but if it plants the seed it can’t be too bad, can it?

Chabad on Campus: I wonder if there are numbers how many kids have become frum through Chabad on Campus. Before anyone really thought it was possible, Chabad decided to send out shluchim to far flung campuses that Wolfson wouldn’t dare touch unless an influx of students saw them as viable territory.

Stuff BTs don’t like:

When you can tell they are a BT: Naturally BTs want to blend in and many of them want to be just regular frum folks.

Intermarriage: Going the wedding of a Jew and non-Jew is no big deal until it happens to be a sibling.

Non-religious Jews: BT’s usually know all about secular and non-religious Jews and they don’t like them.

Explaining their choice to old friends: There’s nothing like having an old friend look at you like you’re insane when you tell them what you have chosen to do with your life.

Dealing with their parents: I knew BTs that would try never to go home when their parents may be serving food. If forced, they would figure out ways to avoid the food thing. They should have classes that teach you to be humane to your family because some over zealous BTs have to show their family how wrong they are when it comes to their practice.

Wearing suits: BTs take forever to figure out that jeans and white shirts don’t work

Stuff BTs aren’t sure if they like:

Admitting they weren’t always frum: some BTs love to act like they are FFB’s by denying that they were ever non-frum and it can get pretty annoying – but luckily there are just as many BTs that show off their BT status so they can be experts of stuff about which FFB’s know nothing.

Hillel on college campuses: I have noticed that many BTs talk about their Hillel as if it were an evil scourge designed to get Jews to be less religious, but screw other Jews. Then again there is there are whole bunch of Hillel Rabbis responsible for making thousands of BTs today.

Chabad: I notice that a lot of BT’s really hate Chabad. That’s probably because BT yeshivas are notoriously against Chabad. Perhaps it is jealousy. I find it interesting that they always liked their campus Chabad but they weren’t like the rest of the Chabadnicks that they never really got to know.

Connecting with old friends online: I knew of BT’s who had two Facebook profiles, one for their old friends and one for their new friends. You have these girls that can’t bear to get rid of their tagged party and prom pictures and guys who want to prove to their frummy friends that they used to get the chicks.

Obviously I didn’t list everything, the comments are really fun on these posts and being that there are loads of BT’s reading this, I am looking forward to all of the crazy things you come up with.

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