ba'al tshuvah

Alternative Spellings

bal tshuvah, bal tchuva, ba'al teshuvah, ba'al teshuva, ba'al tchuvah, bal tshuva, bal teshuva


  • a Jew raised non-religious who becomes Orthodox, [lit. 'one who returns/repents']

Example Sentences

  • "Rebecca is a bal tshuvah; she started keeping kosher and Shabbos when she was 17."

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew


בעל תשובה

Who Uses This

Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)


North America


Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).
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)


Original meaning is someone who transgresses and repents. The abbreviation "BT" is sometimes used. Other forms: Fem. ba'alas teshuva / ba'alat teshuva / baalas tshuva (בעלת תשובה). Plural ba'alei teshuva / baalei teshuva / baaley tshuva / balei tshuva (בעלי תשובה). fem. ba'alot teshuva (בעלות תשובה).

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