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The Spiritual Transformational Processes of Baalei Teshuvah. Roberta G. Sands and Rivka A. Danzig (dec.). Goals of Today’s Presentation. Present a model of spiritual transformational processes of Jewish adults who have become Orthodox
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Roberta G. Sands and
Rivka A. Danzig (dec.)
Rochel: 31 year-old single woman, observant 4.5 years. Parents divorced when 8. Mother had significant mental illness. Lived with different parents in different cities. Continuity in Jewish affiliations. Traveled in Israel, where learned Hebrew, and Germany. Studied in seminary in Israel and became Orthodox on return to US. Continues to struggle with issues around feminism.
Barbara: 35 years old, married with children; observant 18 years. Grew up in intact home; attended Jewish day school. Active in Jewish youth groups. Started to become observant in high school; continued during college. Law school + high powered job. Married & moved to Israel; later returned to US. Gave up law to teach because law “didn’t jive with my soul.” Gives classes and leads services for women.
“I felt so cheated. That there was this whole part of who I was, or who I could be connected to, that was kept totally away from me.” (Shira)
“I was awestruck…a watershed moment in…my relationship with Judaism…a very powerful transformation for me…his impact… on me was very, very deep.” (Jeffrey)
“There’s something missing….When you think of a wheel and a tire, you think of the spokes and the hubcap. Now what’s the center of our life?” (Danielle)
Opens up space for the unfolding of spiritual reactivity
“We used to go up to the ashram…. It wasn’t so much about G-d; wasn’t about religion. It was about spirituality…having transcendental experiences, feeling my body floating or whatever.” (Yehudis)
“I see a poster... that there was going to be a Bible study class….I had no interest in learning the Bible; I just wanted to meet some girls. But I met this rabbi.” (Steven)
"I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to walk into cold water; I like to jump….I jumped deeply into it before I really knew what it was all about or what I was going to experience…. As a kid I would jump off large cliffs into quarries. And it's kind of what I did going into being religious, too. I didn't think about it too much.” (Jeffrey)
"You can't just do one mitzvah. You start doing one. Because I wanted to learn to read from the Torah, I started to go to minyan, and I started putting on tefillin. And then I started going to Shabbes services." (Barry)
“I'm trying very hard now to structure my week to go to as many women's shiurim (classes) as I can….That it keeps me…revved up and in the right direction." (Shira)
“Davening is… the most important part of the beginning of my day.” (Amy)
“… we wiped ourselves out as a family, with doing a lot of volunteering. But it felt so good…. We had so much energy and enthusiasm, and we wanted to give, and we wanted to raise money for good causes, etcetera.” (Yehudis)
Roberta G. Sands, PhD, PI
Rivka Ausubel Danzig, DSW, Co-PI
Robyn Rapoport Spero, MA, Research Associate
Samuel Z. Klausner, PhD, Research Consultant (volunteer)
Interviewers from 3 metropolitan areas
Transcribers from 2 metropolitan areas
We are grateful for the funding and support provided by The Spiritual Transformation Scientific Research Program, sponsored by the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science, with the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation.
We also thank Temima Azizollahoff Danzig for creating our logo.