New Podcast Aims to Help Baalei Teshuva in Their Journey

Emmett and Rivka Gilles, a Chabad couple from New Haven, launched ‘Shuva Full Circle’, a first-of-its-kind podcast on the integration of transformative spiritual journeys into daily religious life.

Emmett and Rivka Gilles, a Chabad couple from New Haven, launched ‘Shuva Full Circle’, a first-of-its-kind podcast on the integration of transformative spiritual journeys into daily religious life.

Emmett and Rivka live in New Haven, where Emmett attended Yale Law School and works at a law firm and Rivka teaches in Cheder New Haven. Along the way, Emmett and Rivka have experienced firsthand—and observed their yeshiva and seminary friends navigating—the challenges of reintegrating into family, community, and professional life after learning how to live as a religious Jew.

Together they founded the BT Center, where they aim to build a community where those at every stage along this journey feel supported, understood, and equipped with the practical tools necessary to overcome their challenges and successfully integrate the infinite blessings of Torah learning into their daily lives.

Their new podcast is another step in that direction. In each episode, co-hosts Emmett and Rivka interview a prominent leader, thinker, or teacher within the Jewish world, asking their guests to share practical tips and tools for applying the nuanced lessons of Torah in our marriages, parenting, careers, and communal spaces.

Listen to recent interviews with Rabbi YY Jacobson, Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, Rivkah Slonim, and Sharon and Michal Weiss on the BT Center Website, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

With empathy, humor, and practicality, Shuva Full Circle brings much-needed attention to the challenges many face—baalei teshuva in particular—when building their own religious homes. Drawing upon their own personal journeys and the diverse experiences of their guests, Emmett and Rivka unpack the nature of these struggles, tackling issues that are frequently swept under the rug and reframing them as opportunities for personal growth.

With its first four episodes, the podcast has already attracted over 1,000 downloads from listeners across the world, tuning in to fresh insights, timeless wisdom, and practical advice on a host of relevant topics including:

Should baalei teshuva aspire to be just like those who grew up in religious homes, or do they have a special path in life?

What is the most important advice for a baal teshuva when first starting down the path of becoming religious? Who can they trust to give them honest, practical guidance along the way?

How do you know when a mentor or role model is not giving healthy advice?

How can raising children together enhance a couple’s relationship?

If one’s spouse is at a different level spiritually, should we try to change them or respect their decisions?

From nurturing abiding faith and finding a committed personal mentor to building lasting marriages around shared values and fulfilling intimacy, Emmett and Rivka invite their guests to share recipes for a holistic, sustainable religious life.

What is Shuva Full Circle all about?

Listen here to find out:

Emmett and Rivka started Shuva Full Circle based on their personal experience of going to yeshiva and seminary after college and then starting their family and careers. “We know the struggles many baalei teshuva face as they start new lives in the religious world,” Emmett explains. “Through our podcast, we provide practical tools to navigate those challenges, to inspire and empower others to embrace their unique paths and bring themselves fully into the families they raise, communities they join, and careers they pursue.” Rivka adds: “Integration is a never-ending process, and Baalei Teshuva especially need guidance every step of the way. Our podcast offers a resource where we can share insights, learn from one another’s experiences, and build the support we all need to create wholesome religious lives.”

Shuva Full Circle offers a roadmap to integrate transformative spiritual progress into the practice of everyday life. In so doing, the podcast provides rich guidance for those of all backgrounds, promising to galvanize much-needed conversations within the broader community on the fundamental importance of integrating our learning into our lives.

Emmett and Rivka welcome input from anyone interested supporting Shuva Full Circle and the vision behind it. If you would like to be part of this important initiative or for further information, please visit or contact us directly at [email protected] or [email protected].

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