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Friday, October 31, 2008

Stumbling Blocks

I have a new piece called 'Stumbling Blocks' up on the OU site in the 'Shabbat Shalom' section.

Go have a look

Meanwhile, we're pretty busy over here getting ready for Gilad's big Shabbat... so I'll sign off and wish you all Shabbat Shalom   

Posted by David Bogner on October 31, 2008 | Permalink

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A very special Shabbat Shalom to your family and particularly Gilad.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Oct 31, 2008 11:09:14 AM

Lovely article. Mazal tov to Gilad, and to the whole family.

I see the OU doesn't bother to use a spellchecker either. :)

Posted by: mother in israel | Oct 31, 2008 12:44:33 PM

i can relate to the one about the ba'alat teshuva who thought that she couldn't participate in n'tilat yadayim - because she didn't have a ring to hold carefully between her lips like all the other girls.

mazal tov on the bar mitzvah!

Posted by: Debbie | Oct 31, 2008 1:24:39 PM

A big mazeltov to all of you on Gilad's barmitzvah. I hope you all really enjoy the day.

Posted by: Judy | Oct 31, 2008 2:13:53 PM

hearty wishes, may you merit to lead him to chuppa. Have lots of nachat and a wonderful Shabbat. (This is going to be a real 'qwelling experience, I know this, I have 4 sons)

Posted by: yaffa glass | Oct 31, 2008 3:03:54 PM

Great article, as usual. I get nervous over two things... as a BT, sometimes I don't know what to do (for example, during Sukkot, I keep a close eye on the others to make sure I wave the lulav/esrog at the right time, in the general right directions). But I have the basics for opening the ark, etc., covered... at my shul anyway.,

However, sometimes I go to a different shul, like when visiting family. At one, the Gabbi came up, handed me a piece of metal the size of a business card, and walked away. The writing was in Hebrew, and I didn't have a clue what it meant. Fortunately my brother-in-law was familiar with it and told me what I needed to do (one time it was for opening the ark, another it was for an Aliyah). I also wasn't sure what I should do with the piece of metal afterwards. Do I leave it on the table? Give it to the Gabbi? I even had visions of a slot next to the ark, or Torah, where I should just insert the card, like an ATM. :-) I think the Gabbi just held out his hand, and I gave him the metal card back... then again, maybe he was just looking to shake hands?? Oops...

I look forward to reading about the Bar Mitzvah!!!

Posted by: JDMDad | Oct 31, 2008 3:26:20 PM

My father is also a ba'al teshuva. He layns very well, but only had daughters, and we didn't have the sort of upbringing that included women's tefillah groups (and they didn't exist then anyhow). After my sister and I were a little more grown-up, my family befriended a Jewish-Russian woman who had moved to our community with her son. My father happily met with the boy once a week to help prepare him for his bar mitzvah.

Remember always that no matter what your limitations are, you are a good father to your kids. Everything you give them is a blessing. Just being there for them every day is a blessing. Gilad is lucky to have a dad in his life, especially one who is as attentive as you are, whether you can teach him Talmud or layning on your own or not.

Posted by: Sarah | Oct 31, 2008 3:29:04 PM

"On yet another Tisha B’Av, I unwittingly accepted a Gabbai’s offer of the last aliyah to the Torah during the afternoon service… not realizing that this also required me to chant the Haftarah for the day (a friend graciously helped me through the blessings and then bailed me out by performing the required reading)."

Same thing happened to me on my aufruf in the shul of my wife's town. Thank G-d my then future brother-in-law bailed me out. In the BT shul where I go to, we have a designated person who reads the haftarah.

Mazal Tov on the bar mitzva!

Posted by: Critically Observant Jew | Oct 31, 2008 3:41:28 PM

Beautiful article! I love how candid you are. I have heard of many Shabbat afternoon learning programs where boys specifically have to learn with adults who are not their fathers. Father-son learning definitely has its place, but I agree that a kid will probably take Bar Mitzvah learning more seriously if a tutor is cracking the whip. Also keep in mind, there are many boys being raised by single moms, who never get to learn with their Dads and do all their learning with tutors/chavrutahs.

Mazel Tov Gilad! Can't wait to hear all about the big Shabbat.

Posted by: SaraK | Oct 31, 2008 4:00:34 PM

First, a Mazal Tov and kol ha-kavod for Gilad...and the whole mishpacha.

Second, your piece was (surprise!) excellent...we've all been there and done that at one time or another. But the story of the Torah crown takes the cake...

Posted by: Elisson | Oct 31, 2008 4:31:33 PM

Mazel Tov to you all, but especialy Gilad, you are sailing into waters that some of us can only dream about!

Very good article David, for once I read it on the OU website before seeing it here!

Shabbat Shalom, some have to keep the faith as best they can.

Posted by: Ken | Oct 31, 2008 5:30:57 PM

Kol ha'kavod to Gilad...a gezinte leben ahf his [?] kop! Someone in Brooklyn is kvelling mit a sach naches for all of you.

Posted by: Erica | Oct 31, 2008 7:30:06 PM

First, Mazal Tov!
Second, Kol Ha'Kavod on the article! As a relatively newcomer to the world of the Ba'al Tshuvah you hit on a definite source of angst for me. I've been attending a shul that has it's fair share of BTs, so I'm not the first they've handheld through the process, whether it be opening the ark, removing a Torah scroll, or being called for an Aliyah (to make it more fun, my father was a goy, so I didn't even know what the last part of my Hebrew name was until recently!)

Thanks for another great piece, and enjoy the Mitzvah this Shabbat for those of us still stuck in galut!

Shabbat Shalom -

Posted by: Jesse | Oct 31, 2008 7:53:22 PM

David, you are once more quoted in the Jewish Chronicle this week,there is somebody there who really loves your stuff. Why not ask them if you could have a weekly coloum in which 'the best of Trep's week' appears regularly....just a thought

Posted by: yaffa glass | Nov 1, 2008 9:29:35 PM

You've summed up perfectly the feelings I've experienced during my initial introduction to services. When I became more familiar with them, the extreme unease had passed, so now that I attend fairly regularly I feel like I get the general idea and get to worry about things like Hebrew and tunes! :) Nevertheless, whenever I get to an issue that lies beyond that narrow strip of familiarity, I relive those terrifying moment!

Hope the Bar Mitzvah went well! Mazal Tov to Gilad; I'm sure he did a great job!

Posted by: Irina | Nov 2, 2008 3:32:08 AM

Mazal Tov on the Bar Mitzvah, David!

Posted by: Yosef | Nov 2, 2008 1:56:50 PM

What a beautiful article.

Mazal tov, David. May both you and your son enjoy "wearing" the crown of Torah.

Posted by: Juggling Frogs | Nov 2, 2008 4:45:32 PM

(as in misheli 4:9)

Posted by: Juggling Frogs | Nov 2, 2008 4:48:13 PM

Trep, I read your article in the OU Shabbat Shalom. I recognized your name, so I knew it would be interesting. Keep up the good work...

Posted by: sheldan | Nov 4, 2008 1:27:00 AM

Great article!

Most people I know weren't taught by their fathers; the ones that were taught by their fathers....well, let's just say both father and son could have benefitted from the help of a "professional". In my case, the rav of our shul was the de facto teacher, and in addition to benefitting from his excellent abilities as a teacher and ba'al koreh, the bar mitzvah kid would have the chance to develop a relationship with the rav, an opportunity not easily found otherwise.

Posted by: tnspr569 | Nov 5, 2008 4:07:10 AM

great article!

but hey, Gili already had an aliyah. i remember calling him up on simchas torah like, 5 or 6 years ago. i remember seeing you and zehava just BEAMING...good times, good times...

Posted by: Tonny | Nov 6, 2008 12:26:25 AM

yeah my father taught me...but he also taught everyone else...

Posted by: Tonny | Nov 6, 2008 12:27:39 AM

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