Why baalei teshuva need to hustle

What crazy people turn their whole lives upside down and around and become religious? Oh yeah, us baalei teshuva. We have an inner strength to do this, to stop and push for something so different to what we once knew and grew up with. It takes real guts. The core of a baal teshuva is…

Making peace with Hashem

Sometimes life throws us curve balls, fire, narrow bridges, deep darkness, and an array of other ‘stimulants’. As our human nature dictates we often react with fear, sadness, anger and defiance. At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, we must make peace. With ourselves, but also with our circumstances, for we can’t control them….

It’s ok to lean on your crutches!

When I hear people say to me that my belief in Hashem is a crutch, an inability to manage my own life myself with my own brain, I think of crutches. Yes, Hashem is my crutch, a.k.a crutches. And it really is ok to lean on your crutches. Are you a better, bigger person for…

Breaking up to opportunity

It was sparked by a question: “what are you doing there?” Maybe no one has asked me so directly before, or maybe I was too afraid to ask myself. But I heard the message and realised that I was deep within my comfort zone, hiding. Now change has become the answer. Sometimes we have to…

Emunah in being single

Being single on Valentine’s Day has always been hard. You hear it all around. The jealousy is rife when those around us receive gifts and glow from their special someone. There’s extreme joy in the air and extreme bitterness. For many Valentine’s Day is a reminder of what they don’t have or haven’t “achieved”. It’s…

Get out of my way or stop and listen?

Can you hear it? No? Probably because you’re running too fast, too tangled in your own thoughts. It’s all about you. Yes, I do it too. It’s the “get out of my way” syndrome. I’m a fast walker. I walk with a purpose, to get somewhere, to do something. There’s nothing wrongs with that per…

Hashem gives us true success, be a little grateful today!

Humble pie, Hashem, and gratitude really go hand in hand. At age 18 I had big plans: a husband, a home and four children by the time I am 30. Not unrealistic. (Though I now wonder why I ever wanted so many kids at that period of my life when I was so estranged from…

The agunah fight: learning from Rav Ovadia Yosef

I haven’t written about this topic so openly before. Maybe it’s too personal. Maybe it’s too sensitive. Last week, the FBI arrested two Rabbis in USA for beating reculcitrant husbands, and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who faught to free agunot, passed away. Nothing in this world is coincidence so I feel it necessary to write, to…

Letting go, 1, 2, 3.

More than anything, one of the strongest themes I’ve seen come out of the last two and a half years of my life is one of coping. Coping in tough times is one of the biggest challenges that we all face in our lives at one stage or another. Those that cope better achieve more,…

I’m Baal Teshuva, now what? Ultimate connection.

We are essentially part of a process and a greater plan. And yet our very actions, our choices, dictate that process within us. At what point do our actions become us? At what point do we reconnect the spark of emes that we felt when it all began with the hard yards we travelled to…

Hashem moved my cheese: a story of emuna

So this is the story of my recent history. An episode like no other. One of loss, courage, searching and building. It’s time to share what I have learnt. Recently I was given a book called ‘Who moved my cheese?’ The Jewish answer to this is clearly Hashem. Hashem moved my cheese. And He did,…

gam zeh ya’avor – this too shall pass

More than just a message of hope, a message of moving on and accepting that life moves in cycles (or more accurately spirals), the saying ‘gam zeh ya’avor‘ says a lot about the Jewish attitude to problems and accepting Hashem‘s ultimate influence in our lives. As they say, ‘there is only one constant, and that…

10 things you can do to bring peace to the sometimes unstable baal teshuva life

It’s hard enough to change one’s life, to start being different from family and friends, and to re-build your ideals/morals/perspectives. All of these things can be unstabling to the most stable of people. For someone who doesn’t have a deep-rooted and inner-focused self-image it can be a constant struggle. You feel pushed and pulled and…

Increasing control in ourselves, not our circumstances

Although I’m a strong believer in setting your own path and building your own way forward, the baal teshuva mind, or anyone truly open to seeing their lives from a birds-eye view, will see that life will take you where you should be going, not necessarily where you want to go. As much control as…

choosing the right words in prayer

“Prayer” has always being a scary word for me. It is something I associate with whimsical characters and light-headed emotional people. ¬†Whether it’s due to my non-observant past or my very pragmatic personality, this concept is very hard to grasp, very scary and far removed from who I am. I’ve tried reading about it and…