Our sages say, “In the way in which a person desires to go, he is granted Heavenly Assistance to get there.”
But what if one simply does not know which to go at this point in his life?
We are currently facing a phenomena that is a first of its kind in Jewish history: children are leaving our communities and heritage, but not to go toward another lifestyle, but rather, as a means to escape the way they have been raised.
How do we staunch the spiritual and emotional “bleeding” that is causing our children to run so far, so fast? BDA provides direction, a helping hand during times when young men are questioning their upbringing, themselves, the very purpose of life itself. We stress a holistic approach, addressing their heart, mind and soul.
A Safe Place
BDA provides a comfortable setting to relax, eat, get together with peers and make new friends. We provide what the young men always ask for: “a place to chill.”
It is vital to address the emotional needs that teens and young adults have. As adults, we understand that the ‘guf” needs food. We understand that the ‘neshama’ needs spirituality. But somehow, we tend to forget that our children have emotional needs as well. And that those emotional needs may be part of what has driven them away from us and Judaism.
At BDA, we recognize that they want to be heard, they want patience and concern. They want someone who has the “ear” and the “shoulder” to listen and to care. We listen to their needs without being judgmental – we’ll teach you how as well!
At times, our children feel that what they have been raised with conflicts with what they see and hear in the “outside world.” It makes them doubt Judaism, us, and sometimes, even themselves.
They feel that they were raised in a world of black and white, and now find themselves in a world of gray. Lots of gray. At times they feel as if they are being hit by tidal waves of gray. So how do you help someone who may be curious, or perhaps confused or overwhelmed?
- At BDA, we explain that Judaism is not all-or-nothing. Something is better than nothing. In addition to what you are doing, much depends on what path you are on, what direction you are travelling in.
- ANY question can be asked. With respect, with seriousness, but yes, any question.
- Caring and seeking are keys. If you don’t know an answer, then say so. But you can say, “I’ll try to get you an answer.” You can even take a risk and say, “Come, let’s research it together.” The honesty, the sincere struggling – THAT makes a huge impact, sometimes even more than the actual answer itself. As our Rabbis have taught us, “things which flow from your heart can pierce the heart of another.”
- Choice, not force, is essential. At this point, due to their age, what they’ve been through, the openness of our society, and friends who are more than happy to indulge their desires for curiosity and experimenting, forcing them will simply not work. And it will make them even angrier and more stubborn. And less easy for you to have a relationship with, let alone an influence on.
BDA seeks to change how our community deals with at-risk teens and young adults. No more fighting, no more locking them out. Rather, the time has come for discussion, empathy, acceptance, caring, nurturing, growth, and taking a stand: Our children’s well-being is of the utmost importance to us, regardless how they look, talk or act.