Dear Heshy: Hating on BT’s will not solve any problems

baal teshuva survival guideDear Heshy,

I follow you on facebook fairly regularly and noticed your post on what you hate about baalei teshuva. Now before all of your fans jump me for being offended by something you wrote, I read your site and facebook page regularly and find most of what you say to be true and funny, but this is the first time I’ve been truly offended by something you have posted. What’s with the hate? What did the BT community ever do to you? Aren’t you married to someone who didn’t grow up frum? Aren’t you yourself skeptical about frumkeit and constantly on a path that doesn’t make you the regular run of the mill FFB?

I’m also saddened that you chose to foster hatred and sinat chinam on erev shavuot. Just because we were searching for something that our former secular lifestyles couldn’t offer us, doesn’t make us crazy or less Jews than you. Sure, it’s funny to offer jabs at our slow pace of learning the way of the frum community. We can’t exactly unlearn our bacon flavoring, proper grammar usage, and table manners over night. It takes years to develop a palate for tasteless, mostly brown, foods. It takes years to learn how to dress like an 18th century Polish peasant. It takes years for us to speak like we’re trying to transliterate Yiddish to English.

Do you think we enjoy looking like fools when we daven? Do you think it’s easy for us to throw away our entire music collection, only to be told later on that secular music is technically kosher? You act as if we are doing this stuff on purpose. How are we supposed to just join a community and know exactly what to do? I have news for you, we want to be just like you. We envy FFB’s, but you’re not making it any easier by fostering the discrimination that we receive from them.

I would love to have the proper hand motions when learning, the proper bowing technique for modiim, and the proper enunciation of my Hebrew. It’s not easy being a baal teshuva, it’s a scary FFB dominated world out there and most of the time Frum Satire serves as our guide. I cannot tell you how many kiruv rabbis and rebetzins read your blog for insight into how to teach us better, how to help us integrate. My friends and I all read you on a regular basis, but I couldn’t let your post slip by as just another jab at us.

I saw that you mentioned something about the FFB Master Race as a joke, but it’s no joke. I’m not sure if you realize this, but you’re one of the only FFB’s that understands the BT community, yet most of the time we become too frum to read your blog and then some us tend to bash it. Yes, I admit that there are folks within the BT community who feel it their right to give unsolicited mussar. I would never dream of giving someone mussar, it’s offensive to tell someone other than yourself how to go about in their yiras shamayim or avodat Hashem.

I really wondered if you would post this and to convince you to put it up as a form of teshuva for causing sinat chinam on erev shavuot, I figured I would give you a list of things that are good about BT’s. I know you like to look at the evil and bad, but for once we will reveal the good.

I know you FFB’s like to think that you’re better, yes, there are lots of sources as to why we’re better, but in the end you rarely see BT’s running any of the major Jewish organizations or yeshivas. It’s like we BT’s should rise up and demand rights, but instead we hope that someday we will be considered on a level equal to that of FFB’s. I should note that you may fail to see the value we add to your community, but we have brought fashion, music and good food to the frum community. Without us you would probably be stuck in your 18th century garb, eating kishke, while listening to that smooth jazz obsession that the frum community is still stuck on.


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