Alternative Spellings

baal-teshuvah, baal teshuva, baal teshuvah, ba'al-teshuva, ba'al-teshuvah, ba'al teshuva, ba'al teshuvah, bal-teshuva, bal-teshuvah, bal teshuva, bal teshuvah, baal-tshuva, baal-tshuvah, baal tshuva, baal tshuvah, ba'al-tshuva, ba'al-tshuvah, ba'al tshuva, ba'al tshuvah, bal-tshuva, bal-tshuvah, bal tshuva, bal tshuvah, baal-teshuvo, baal-teshuvoh, baal teshuvo, baal teshuvoh, ba'al-teshuvo, ba'al-teshuvoh, ba'al teshuvo, ba'al teshuvoh, bal-teshuvo, bal-teshuvoh, bal teshuvo, bal teshuvoh, baal-tshuvo, baal-tshuvoh, baal tshuvo, baal tshuvoh, ba'al-tshuvo, ba'al-tshuvoh, ba'al tshuvo, ba'al tshuvoh, bal-tshuvo, bal-tshuvoh, bal tshuvo, bal tshuvoh, baal-teshuve, baal-teshuveh, baal teshuve, baal teshuveh, ba'al-teshuve, ba'al-teshuveh, ba'al teshuve, ba'al teshuveh, bal-teshuve, bal-teshuveh, bal teshuve, bal teshuveh, baal-tshuve, baal-tshuveh, baal tshuve, baal tshuveh, ba'al-tshuve, ba'al-tshuveh, ba'al tshuve, ba'al tshuveh, bal-tshuve, bal-tshuveh, bal tshuve, bal tshuveh, baal t'shuva, bal t'shuva, ba'al t'shuva, baal-t'shuva, bal-t'shuva, ba'al-t'shuva, baal t'shuvo, bal t'shuvo, ba'al t'shuvo, baal-t'shuvo, bal-t'shuvo, ba'al-t'shuvo, baal t'shuve, bal t'shuve, ba'al t'shuve, baal-t'shuve, bal-t'shuve, ba'al-t'shuve, baal t'shuvah, bal t'shuvah, ba'al t'shuvah, baal-t'shuvah, bal-t'shuvah, ba'al-t'shuvah, baal t'shuvoh, bal t'shuvoh, ba'al t'shuvoh, baal-t'shuvoh, bal-t'shuvoh, ba'al-t'shuvoh, baal t'shuveh, bal t'shuveh, ba'al t'shuveh, baal-t'shuveh, bal-t'shuveh, ba'al-t'shuveh, baltshuve


  • A Jew from a secular background who chooses to become observant.
  • "Newly religious Jew; penitent" (Glinert)

Example Sentences

  • "What can I tell you about Fran? Well, she's married to a baal teshuva and she lives in Jerusalem and she has four kids..." (Glinert)
  • "Now that he's a baal teshuva, it's only a matter of time before he goes to study in a yeshivah in Israel." (JPS)
  • "Gabby falls into the common baal teshuvah pattern of wanting to take on all obligations at once, with the strictest interpretations feeling most authentic." (

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew


בעל תשובה ba'al teshuva 'master of repentance'

Who Uses This

Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)


North America


The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).
The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)


"fem. baalat teshuvah" (JPS). "pl. Baaléy teshuvá... The 1970s and 1980s saw a big wave of baaley teshuva, typically students from well-to-do homes in the United States and Israel who felt that they had grown up with an empty lifestyle and wanted to find their Jewish roots. This meant going to men's or women's yeshiva (seminary) to study the classic Jewish sources and the observances" (Glinert).

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