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August 1, 2014 / 5 Av, 5774
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Letters To The Editor

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As Ms. Golani accurately writes, readers familiar with the Heiman family can definitely more readily identify with the characters and appreciate the story. However, many who are unfamiliar with the family, except perhaps by reputation, have likewise read and thoroughly enjoyed Girl for Sale. It is not only a moving memoir of a specific frum mishpacha but a priceless and heartwarming look at the history of our people of that era in microcosm. The scenes of Israel in the 1950s and ‘60s are particularly riveting, and the first-hand accounts of the Six-Day War are, in my humble opinion, worth the cover price in and of themselves.

Naomi Gross (Via E-Mail)

 

Men And Temptation

An assumption in the frum community accepted as truth: Some people lust all the time and others never do. More precisely, only men have certain “thoughts.”

Here is an astonishing revelation: Females have “thoughts” too. Does anyone really think females do not have “thoughts” at a simcha, rally, or concert when they see young men dancing, jumping, gyrating and twirling? Do you really believe women are made of stone? Many of us seem to believe just that, since there’s no problem with women watching men.

The assumption that women in general do not have the capacity to have “thoughts” is actually comical. The deep secret that escapes most men: women are capable of “thoughts” but have been properly taught. While there is a difference in gender makeup, the fact is that when a he is “of interest” – whether it’s strong arms, a cute smile, a mellifluous singing voice – she notices!

Perhaps if males were as consistently inculcated with an appreciation of personal responsibility for their thoughts and deeds as females are from birth, males would be able keep their thoughts under control and not divest themselves of responsibility by making it a women’s issue.

It is sad that irresponsible behavior and automatic excuses have become so entrenched in our culture that our young girls and women believe they are responsible for men’s flaws. Women have been diligently taught that they can’t cover up enough (clothes), be hidden enough (mechitza), or silent enough (kol isha). It is an extension of this thinking that allows the men of Beit Shemesh to believe and act as they do. That the extreme is not the norm does not detract from the fact that they are both based on the same philosophy: It’s her fault.

Inconveniencing, restricting and burdening women because men do not take responsibility for their own behavior is a sad commentary on the lack of initiative on the part of fathers and rabbis.
Laurie Dinerstein-Kurs
(Via E-Mail)

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