web analytics
September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Divorce And Our Children


Rav Pam, zt”l, said the best antidote to divorce is a good marriage.

Unfortunately, there is no denying that divorce has become considerably more of a problem than historically was the case in our communities. Thankfully, the phenomenon is receiving some much-needed attention.

At the NEFESH Conference of Orthodox mental health professionals in December 2007, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel began his talk with comments on how the Agudah is confronting the issue of divorce.

In May 2008, Dr. David Pelcovitz spoke on divorce at a forum in the Bais Yaakov of Boro Park.

Newspapers and magazines serving our communities have increasingly included articles on divorce alongside articles on shalom bayis.

In The Peaceful Home: Thoughts and Insights of Rav Pam zt”l on the Topic of Shalom Bayis, a handbook compiled by Rabbi Sholom Smith, the author of several books on Rav Pam, we read these words from Rav Pam:

 

The Torah recognizes that there are situations where it may be necessary to terminate a marriage. Until a mere few decades ago, Jewish divorce was a rare occurrence. The stigma attached to it was very strong and only as a last resort, when everything humanly possible to save the marriage had failed, was this option exercised. In the present times, the divorce rate among Jews has skyrocketed and even among Torah Jews the frequency is shocking.

 

How many people know someone – relative, neighbor, friend, person in shul – who is divorced or going through a divorce? It was not uncommon in the 1960s and 1970s, when baby boomers were growing up, to hear of one divorce in a neighborhood. Today, it’s not unusual to hear of one in every shul.

Consider for a moment the total number of children directly affected by divorce and transpose this to our classrooms. It is not an exaggeration to say that in many of our yeshivas today, one child in every classroom may have parents who are divorced. That’s a dramatic and frightening shift in just one generation.

How many divorces are there? How many children and families are affected?

In a recent informal survey, Dr. David Pelcovitz estimated a five-percent rate in our communities. That’s one in 20 couples.

At Ohel, seven percent of our calls for information or services are related to divorce. That’s one in 14 couples.

(And bear in mind that Dr. Pelcovitz’s study included only those who responded to the survey and that calls to Ohel are made primarily by people with mental health issues, so these figures can be viewed as a floor, a minimum – not a ceiling.)

Certainly there are circumstances where one member of a divorcing couple may have to take responsible action to protect family and personal interests. But in a bitterly contested, drawn-out and fractious divorce involving custody, orders of protection, financial disagreements, allegations of abuse against a spouse or child, extended family disputes, and police coming into the home in front of the children, the negative consequences on young people may be seen immediately and have long-lasting effects.

How could they not, when children see, hear and experience what warring spouses do to each other in acrimonious divorces that can take several years to conclude? And even when the divorce is settled, the children’s lives often are not, as ex-spouses continue their personal battles.

Again, to quote Rav Pam:

 

The tzaros of a get does not end when that twelve-line document is delivered to the wife’s possession. Often, it is only one part of a protracted, venomous struggle over custody of the children, visitation rights, division of the financial assets.

 

If the best antidote to divorce is a good marriage, the best prescription for maintaining strong, healthy, and resilient children in the face of divorce is to engage in legal proceedings that follow the dictum Do No Harm to the Children.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Divorce And Our Children”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.
New York City Site of Huge Rally Against Met’s Klinghoffer Opera
Latest Indepth Stories
William Safire

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Particularly galling was the complaint by one Jo Anne Simon about Judge Dear’s supposed “mobilizing on behalf of apartheid and his insensitivity to minority communities.”

Whatever one has to say about Iran, it does have clout in the Middle East and the Gulf region and could play a key role in addressing the ISIS threat.

Rav Shlomo Wolbe states that every member of Klal Yisrael is dependent on the entire nation just as a leaf depends on the tree from which it grows.

“Israel must prepare for waves of immigrants from Arab countries, which may endanger its existence”

“I pray that fellow Jews open their eyes & connect themselves to the national side of being a Jew”

The big service ISIS is doing the West right now is checking Iranian power, just as the Sunni rebels inside Syria are keeping the Iranian agent Hezbollah in check, and just as the PLO is keeping Hamas in check, at least to some degree.

Research shows that high doses of marijuana can produce acute psychotic reactions, lower IQ in teens

The current missionary problem in Samaria is still relatively unknown throughout Israel&to most Jews

Rosh Hashanah is a universal, stock-taking, renewal and hopeful holiday,

No mutual clash between parties, it was Jews repeatedly attacked by Arabs, not the other way around.

Israel would love to be in the coalition,but it’s never going to happen, because, in the end, most of America’s allies would walk away if Israel were on board officially.

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

More Articles from David Mandel
Mandel-031414

Alcohol on Purim is viewed by many as the drinking equivalent of the Autobahn: no limits, no control.

Menacham Stark ZL

A grieving widow and her young children were sitting shiva after Menachem Stark’s burial.

Over the years, our community has become greatly enriched by the proliferation of a diversity of gemachs.

Yet there is one gemach that, to the best of my knowledge, is not found in any community but that now more than ever would benefit us the most.

What can a yeshiva do to institute practices that will help prevent any form of abuse?
Our community has become a focal point of scrutiny for not responding with greater fervor to the allegations and occurrence of sexual abuse. Not only does this create pain and suffering for victims and their families, it greatly undermines the very institutions built to help protect them. Yeshivas are bedrocks of our community, not only for education but also as a safe harbor for our children.

Ten years ago, If you had asked a victim of sexual abuse what he or she wanted most, the answer would have been, “I want my abuser to apologize, to acknowledge that it was his fault and not mine.” Today, if asked that same question, the victim would speak of prosecution and justice.

We play the odds all the time, don’t we? We may not consciously think about it as such, but in effect we do. Hashem rules the world and controls the odds; we have to do our hishtadlus. We get behind the wheel of a car, board a plane, or cross the street knowing there are risks such as car accidents, plane crashes and pedestrian injuries.

It is time to take back the term “children at risk.” Educators and mental health professionals popularized the term about ten years ago and we need to withdraw it. Labels can be helpful on clothing and shoes but not on children.

Rav Pam, zt”l, said the best antidote to divorce is a good marriage.

Unfortunately, there is no denying that divorce has become considerably more of a problem than historically was the case in our communities. Thankfully, the phenomenon is receiving some much-needed attention.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/divorce-and-our-children/2008/12/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: