Over the past seventy years, the Jewish nation has seen a truly remarkable development — the multitudes of Jews returning to their roots. Our leaders and rabbanim work tirelessly to teach these Baalei Teshuva and to guide them on their journey.
I have been zoche to be raised in a home which has been a crucial stop on the path of many of those returning to Judaism. My father is Rabbi Yehuda Zakutinsky shlita, one of the pioneers of the kiruv movement and an authority on Jewish outreach. He founded and directs the outreach organization Hashevaynu, based in Queens, New York.
Six years ago I wrote the first volume of Umekareiv Biyamin, an in-depth analysis of the most commonly asked questions posed to kiruv rabbanim, as a resource for outreach rabbanim. Some issues discussed in the sefer include inviting Shabbos guests driving to the meal, counting non-observant Jews for a minyan, and Reform marriage in halacha. The sefer has haskamos and divrei bracha from leading gedolim of America including Rabbi Reuven Feinstein shlita, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky shlita and Rabbi Noach Oelbaum shlita. (Although this sefer is currently sold out, please click here to download a free copy.)
B”H I have just completed Umekareiv Biyamin Volume Two, featuring additional commonly posed questions to kiruv rabbanim. Some topics discussed in this sefer include whether to perform a pidyon haben when one does not know if the child is a Kohen, Levi or Yisrael, attending a wedding in a conservative synagogue, using secular tunes for davening, naming children after non-observant Jews, and whether a person who is now a Baal Teshuva can recite Kaddish for a parent belatedly who had passed away before he became religious.