When Does BT Status Start?

A quick break from my travelogue posts. I was reading Frum Skeptic tonight about her BT friend being rejected from a shidduch. I felt sorry for her and was thinking about it when it hit me: I may be a BT officially.

My parents are BT and they became frum when I was around five or so. From preschool I was always in Jewish schools and went through a normal frum childhood, except for the fact that my parents didnt know much and all that. Typical BT stuff. But since I was technically not born frum does that relegate me to BT status?

Its also a source of annoyance with my names. My Hebrew name has no correlation to my English one, even though my English name has a common Hebrew correlation, and everyone who knows me assumes thats what it is. I always annoyed rebbeim who only knew me by my English name and when they introduced me to others (such as at a shabbos meal when I ate by them) they would say “and this is Mr *supposed Hebrew name* *last name* the way rebbeim try to be cute, I’d have to show their ignorance of me to their Shabbos guests by saying “well actually my Hebrew name is…”.

What can I say? My parents at the bris just picked a random sort of Hebrew name, not thinking it would ever be used. Actually, all my names are random. For my English name they named me after a famous actor from the 50’s. When kids play the “who were you named after?” game they all busted out gedolim and chashuve ancestors, I have to say I was named for a celeb who died in a car crash.

But back to the point; am I BT or not? I think its unfair to say that I am, as I never got to actually do anything or have any “before I was frum” stories. We were fully frum by the time I started school, once they made the commitment, they jumped into the deep end, seriously.

39 Responses to “When Does BT Status Start?”

  1. There is a long article which I didn’t happen to read the whole thing of but which answers all the questions. The article is called The Baal Teshuva and the Jewish Community: Re-entry Problems It is a long journal article, but for the full answer it is probably worth reading.

    In the end though it is all about Yichus and how far you can trace yourself as being from pure stock. (in shidduchim we are all animals at the market)

    Unfortunately for you ( and me too) there is no yichus certificate going back to David Hamelech. What can you do but lie lie lie?!

  2. I’m not sure what gives someone the BT status, but I would think it’s if they themselves made the change. SO I wouldn’t consider you a BT.

    About your Hebrew and English name not relating. I know someone else like that too. His Hebrew name is Tzvi, that’s the name used when he’s called up to the Torah. But yet, everyone calls him Benji. So I don’t know how that happened.

    I don’t have a English name, so I never had that kinda experience.

  3. Now that I think it over, you might be a BT. Because FFB implies that you were frum from birth, but if at birth you weren’t frum, then the alternative is that you are a BT.

  4. I alos have that, am I BT or not? I wasn’t religious till I was about 9 years old, but I went to Jewish schools. Kind of. A bit hard to explain, but I also have no yichus, or rather the heritage that I know of isn’t really something you want to mention to shadchanim. Fortunately my hebrew and english name are a bit related, at least start with the same letter, and people call me by both.

  5. You’re a BT because your parents are BT. It doesn’t matter if you were born before or after they became frum.
    I have a family tree up to my grand-mother’s grand-parents. The husband was possibly a rabbi or at least community leader. I have their picture, late 1800s. The pic is on FB btw, Levitansky group. Considering this yichus and knowing that all my ancestors were Jewish, I’m still a bit. Though I wouldn’t have married an FFB even if they paid me.

  6. Btw, my English name is from a book, I think. My Hebrew name is my mother’s grand-father’s name.

  7. Its a stupid thing marrying only an FFB. BT is just as good maybe better.

  8. My name is the same hebrew english

  9. Isnt it time we started marrying based on the actual person ? *gasp* What an innovative idea!

    I got really upset at a friend of mine a while back. She always claimed to be open minded, but when I tried to suggest someone for her son, she wouldn’t look into it because the parents had become frum after the girl was born….

  10. Sorry, Punk, you are a BT. Unless your parents became frum before you were born, you are a BT.

    A lot of people would not allow their children to date the children of BTs who had the child before they became fum, not because BTs are second class citizens, and there is something wrong with their religiousity, but there are issues because the parents were most probably not following Taharas Hamishpacha when that child was conceived, and that is something to consider.

    They’ed sooner let me date a ger.

  11. tooyoungtoteach: What makes you so sure non of the FFB parens didn’t get horny and get knocked up and have kids with the “pagam” status?

    Pagam, btw, being a D’Rabanan status.

  12. tooyoung, even if the child is born after the parents became frum, he’s still BT. What’s the problem with children conceived while woman is nidda?

  13. Well, one would like to assume that if someone is frum they’d be adhering to halacha. According to my definition, someone who is born after their parents became frum are FFB’s and their parents just happen to be BTs.
    A child convieved when the mother is a niddah is called is called a vlaad niddah, and is considered a “problem child”…Today, there are a lot of heterim concerning BT’s and frum people who, well may have not been so stringent. But there are many people who do not like to rely on heterim if they don’t have to.

  14. Personally, I’d think of you as an FFB (not that it makes one iota of a difference IMO anyway).
    Back in 50s and 60s there were probably hundreds or maybe even thousands of kids who came from traditional but not Orthodox families who ended up going to religious day schools, which had a big influence on many of the families either becoming religious or having the kids (if boys) go away to yeshiva. The frum community of Baltimore is practically established from these boys who came to Ner Yisrael for high school, found a niche for themself, and never left, eventually marrying and raising families here. I just don’t think of these men as BTs, and neither do they or anybody else in the frum community.
    Anyway, the few people I know who didn’t want to date a BT had reasons that had nothing to do with how the person was conceived–more like concerns about coming from different backgrounds and not being able to relate to the person. Which I can see. I dated a few BTs, the ones who became religious at a younger age were able to “get” certain things about the frum community, or were able to ignore/laugh at certain idiosyncrasies of the frum lifestyle.
    Anyway, despite that, I personally have never said no to any suggestion because the person is a BT. I figure that if somebody is meant for me, somehow we’ll be able to relate to each other no matter how different of a background we come from.
    I think of a BT as somebody who made a conscious, adult decision to radically change their lifestyle and take on totally new obligations. It’s just not the same when a child changes his/her lifestyle along with the parents, I think.

  15. tooyoung, you’re delusional. According to frummies, a BT is a BT as long as the parents are BT, it doesn’t matter when the person was born. A “problem child”? You do remember that it’s assur to make a fence around a fence, right? And why do kiruv then? To create for yourselves a caste of workers who’ll pay for the parasites who are sitting in kollel and pretending to learn?
    Anyway, I would’ve never married an FFB and I don’t want my kids marrying frummies either.

  16. Namewise I can relate. I don’t think there are many Katies amongst frummies (though there are many in Ireland). And I’m not sure what Hebrew name would correlate with it.

  17. Moshe: I’m starting to beleive it is to just create a caste of workers to pay for the parasites sitting in kollel “learning”

  18. tooyoung – you do realize that it’s biologically impossible to conceive while in niddah. So, your whole community’s rationanlization against BTs is sensless and errational.

    And let me re ask what someone just questioned above; if BTs are so inferior, why do you people create kiruv? Why not just stick to your FFB status and inbreed yourselves to oblivion.

  19. Hey, lay off me, just because I presented the other side doesn’t mean I agree or advocate it.

    BTW, Correction, it is possible to concieve when you’re a niddah, the likelyhood is just lower.

    Also, Moishe, I just took a survey of several FFB’s and they all agree that a child of a BT loses the BT status if they were born after the parents became frum.
    Additionally, I said “problem child” because I couldn’t remember all the bad traits and exprectations attributed to such a child so I just put it under the umbrella of problem.

  20. I dont think thats the reason “problem Child”. Could it be that the inlaws dont want to deal with the side of the BT???

  21. If you’re going to say something stupid and nasty, be prepared to face the consequence.
    Was any of the FFBs you surveyed shadchanim? I’m guessing no.
    Bad traits? I go to a BT shul, I went to a black hat yeshiva and I’ve had plenty of dealings with both. You know what, in general, it’s the FFBs that have no manners, show no respect and consider everyone that doesn’t look exactly like them scum. You want some examples? A hossid at tehillim gathering, long peios, hat, coat, etc. pushes an old man out of his way so hard that the guy almost fell. Jessica mentioned having a frum young guy on the subway look up at her pregnant self and continue sitting for the rest of the ride while avoiding her gaze. Same thing happened to my wife and more than once. You know who does give up their seats? Hispanics, because they’re taught to respect women and elders. The kids in the yeshiva I was in behaved absolutely nastily towards secular studies teachers and this was condoned by the principal. An FFB was learning in my shul during Mariv. He didn’t go upstairs to not bother us and he didn’t tone down his voice even though we were saying shema and amidah. This jerk also turned off the light in shul with his foot, the light switch was half a floor down by the side door but he was too lazy to walk down 5 steps. How about the frummie women standing in the middle of the sidewalk or store aisle with their broods of kids, yapping away and ignoring anyone trying to get through. Fortunately I have a Peg Perego tank and if they refuse to move, mow them down. Also the rest of the frummie behavior in a store that frumpunk wrote about. And the stuff frumskeptic wrote about and the rest of the stories about how nasty and uncivilized frummies are.

  22. Moshe, you just wasted time writing all that, too young to teach is full of it. She isn’t gonna understand logic. The Rebbeim use thought control, logic requires brain development, something they never did.

    tooyoungtoteach: Conceiving during your period is impossible.. the seven days after the period the woman has to wait is D’rabanan. So you cannot possibly have a negative traits if the Rebbeim invented those days as “niddah” to begin with.

    When you become old enough to teach, do Klal Yisroal a favor and don’t

  23. tooyoungtoteach Says:

    A child convieved when the mother is a niddah is called is called a vlaad niddah, and is considered a “problem child”…Today, there are a lot of heterim concerning BT’s and frum people who, well may have not been so stringent. But there are many people who do not like to rely on heterim if they don’t have to.

    Laugh my a@# off, LMAO.

    Moshe Says:

    Bad traits? I go to a BT shul, I went to a black hat yeshiva and I’ve had plenty of dealings with both. You know what, in general, it’s the FFBs that have no manners, show no respect and consider everyone that doesn’t look exactly like them scum. You want some examples? A hossid at tehillim gathering, long peios, hat, coat, etc. pushes an old man out of his way so hard that the guy almost fell. Jessica mentioned having a frum young guy on the subway look up at her pregnant self and continue sitting for the rest of the ride while avoiding her gaze. Same thing happened to my wife and more than once. You know who does give up their seats? Hispanics, because they’re taught to respect women and elders. The kids in the yeshiva I was in behaved absolutely nastily towards secular studies teachers and this was condoned by the principal. An FFB was learning in my shul during Mariv. He didn’t go upstairs to not bother us and he didn’t tone down his voice even though we were saying shema and amidah. This jerk also turned off the light in shul with his foot, the light switch was half a floor down by the side door but he was too lazy to walk down 5 steps. How about the frummie women standing in the middle of the sidewalk or store aisle with their broods of kids, yapping away and ignoring anyone trying to get through. Fortunately I have a Peg Perego tank and if they refuse to move, mow them down. Also the rest of the frummie behavior in a store that frumpunk wrote about. And the stuff frumskeptic wrote about and the rest of the stories about how nasty and uncivilized frummies are.

    Case in point, Moshe, my dad works for a frummie who when one of their black workers died said he was just a ganief (thief) anyway. Unbelievable!

    Check out the comments on Frumsceptic on this post. Thanks Frum Punk for sharing.

  24. I don’t think anyone should judge a religion by its people.

    Now I know nobody is doing that, but I think there is too much focus on how people act.

  25. KT- I don’t know about the other bloggers, But I blog because I need a place to vent, because in order to be religious it is inevitable that you deal with these people, and dealing with them can really make you nuts.

    With blogging I realized there were OTHER normal frummies (aside from my few friends) and its really therapeutic and calmed me down.

  26. Yes, there are normal frummies. The problem is that they are a minority and they’re not the ones in power.

  27. Btw, in no way am I entering the argument, but a woman is considered niddah until she goes to the mikvah-even after her period stops. So you can conceive while niddah.

  28. endofworld- by today’s definition of what a nidda is. Today’s day and age the concept of mikveh is mostly just traditional.

    NOt gonna get into it, cuz then itll get misconstrued and I’ll get yelled at. Not in the mood for that

  29. I’m probably stepping into hot water here, but here’s some info I just found.

    Just keep in mind, I have no problems with BT’s. And yes, I wouldn’t mind if my kids marry one. I’m planning on looking more into the person’s character than background. Gasp. I won’t be asking about tablecloths.

    And everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just make sure to retract your fangs and talons when you comment, because it’s not nice to bite.

    Anyway, here’s the research. I found it on aish.com :
    According to the Steipler Gaon (and a few more contemporary poskim), halachically, it’s absolutely okay to marry a ben niddah, because: (I’m paraphrasing here)

    a) The fact that a ben niddah is considered chutzpadik and rebellious etc is a statistical likelihood, based on the fact that the environment they were raised in MAY have been that type. (Read it again. May. Not always. No one is saying they’re animals. What the Steipler Gaon’s saying is that their upbringing may have been more liberal) HOWEVER since a person has free choice, and they can rise above their background etc, if a person isn’t exhibiting those signs, they’re okay. In other words, if they’re a mentch, go marry them. Have a nice life together.

    B) (You’ll love this one.)
    I’ll quote it directly from the aish site, because I’m too tired to edit.

    The Steipler cites an opinion which originated in the work Apei Zutrei, who claims: “He [the actual ben-niddah] is pagum and all of his descendants take after their ancestor.”91 This implies that the blemish of a ben-niddah is literally inherited by each generation and continues indefinitely. If this is true, writes the Steipler, then it would be almost impossible to find any man or woman who is not pagum even within the “born-Orthodox” community itself, since it is very unlikely that somewhere along the line there wasn’t one set of parents who fell into at least one of the categories of nine unworthy midot. According to this there is no reason why a “born-again” Jew’s halachic status should be considered less noble than that of a Jew born in an Orthodox family.92 93

    The bottom bottom line:

    Don’t assume that just because someone is FFB that they’re okay. And don’t assume that just because someone is a BT that they’re not. Check out the person themselves! (now I’m going to scurry off back into my hole)

  30. I don’t get it, someone asked a question. I answered it.

    I wasn’t answering, interjecting my own opinion. I answered saying, this is what the other side is saying, not that it’s right, or makes perfect sense, but this the “others sides” thought process.

    And for being so open-minded yourself, you’re pretty antagonistic toward the frum community for no solid irrefutable reason. You take cheap shots, and it’s pathetically funny to watch, almost like someone taking spectacular fall…

  31. You didn’t say that it’s wrong either. And it’s not toward the frum community, it’s toward the black-hat frummies who think everyone should be like them.

  32. There are bad apples in every group but if you want to go down the slippery slope of making generalizations….

    There are nice & normal people in every group as well. I’ve had some “cool” “modern” frum people be exremely rude and nasty to me (and I don’t think I come across as either “frummy” or “BT” or “modern” I’m sort of weird mix).

    I think people of all groups need to make an effort to respect the others, even if you personally don’t care for that lifestyle. My uncle was in a “modern” shul and a guy picked up a siddur and seeing that it was Artscroll, made a comment about it and threw it across the room. Seriously, something is wrong with that kind of atttitude. (My uncle, btw, is pretty modern and has never worn a black hat in his life probably, and he was just appalled by that. As was I, when I heard that story.)

  33. ok there were too many replies for me to read them all so sorry if im being repetative- i wouldnt consider u a BT, but a friend of mine whos basically in the same sitch as u, someone said they wouldnt go out with her cuz shes not a “taharas hamishpacha baby” (her parents most likely didnt keep it when she was born)… that was the 1st ive ever heard of that and i was a little bit weirded out… but eh everyone has their thing i guess

  34. Back to the blogger’s main question – about whether he is considered BT or not. Well here’s my bit: this whole BT/FFB …..don’t pay attention to how other people view your status. The only thing that matters is you view yourself. You don’t have to let someone else put a stamp on you or label you, especially for tiny little things which don’t make a difference 🙂

  35. KT

    As much as I wish the tinny little things didnt matter (which to me it doesnt). When you live in this community where things like tablecloth matter…. well you get my point.

  36. “am I BT or not”

    who cares?
    oh yeah, there are lots of people to whom this is important. sorry for you.

  37. For what it’s worth, I think most people would consider you an FFB. You pretty much were raised in the lifestyle, especially if you were in a frum school right from the start.
    Yes, there are a few people to whom this sort of thing matters, but I’d say they are the minority.
    The “squeaky wheel getting the oil” is a truism that I think definitely applies in this case, the few people who make a big deal about meaningless stuff like this are way more vocal than the regular, everyday normal people who don’t really care.
    I have to admit that it really leaves me with a bad feeling that some commenters on this blog are leaving comments that sound so hateful. It just brings you down to an even lower level as those “nasty” and “uncivilized” people you describe.
    Besides, I think everybody here would admit that when the chips are down, we’re all one family and you’d be happy to go out of your way to help out a fellow Jew (frummie or not) just like he/she would be happy to do the same for you.

  38. my crew calls BTs and gerim “bus drivers”. because on your wedding night, they’re taking your butt to school. Most of the girls i’m friends with want to date BTs anyway. They say they’re more fun on dates and not so superficially frum.

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