Rabbi Rael Blumenthal


#Toldos #תשפב

Raising children is hard. Raising dedicated, observant, healthy normal, passionate Jewish children is even harder. But achieving all that as a Baal Teshuva? It often seems impossible.

Perhaps some of these sentiments resonate with you:

“I wish I had the opportunities that my children have!” “If only my parents pushed me to daven, learn and practice my Hebrew skills! Why don't my children appreciate it?” “I got connected to Yiddishkeit through the Kiruv Rabbi on campus. Should I let me children try going “Off the Derech” so that they can find meaning like I did?” “How can I deny them the experiences that lead me to become who I am today?”

This is the indisputable challenge for Baalei Teshuva in raising children to be passionately connected to Torah and mitzvos. In general, even FFB's have no perfect methods for how to do it effectively and conclusively. But Baalei Teshuva have it even harder: we have little personal role modeling to fall back on.

Many Baalei Teshuva (perhaps you, reading this) can still feel the painful and awkward feelings of not belonging. Perhaps you know the feeling of not knowing which page of the Siddur to turn to on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh. Perhaps you still feel like a faker, an imposter. Perhaps you're still nervous to ask important questions for fear of being made to feel “I can't believe you're asking something that basic.”

Along with all these feelings of inadequacy, is that deep desire for our kids to not have to experience the same frustrations. And yet, there is no denying that in raising observant kids in our insular bubble, we are denying our children precisely those experiences that gave way to the love, curiously and excitement that make us the Jews we are today.


#Toldos #תשפא

I was speaking with a friend about a week ago, who was complaining about the challenges of working from home. Children banging on the door, work spaces constantly violated, and the ever looming temptation of the kitchen...

But more than all of that, he related, he was spending far more time with his family than ever before. “You know,” he says, “I always made sure to spend quality time with my family. But quantity time is much more difficult.”