web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


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
Handout photo of texted message sent by a fearful Christopher Cramer from Saudi Arabia before his death.
Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk
Latest Indepth Stories
HETi_logo2

It is offensive that in commemorating the Holocaust mentioning Israel was deemed inappropriate.

Questions-Answers-logo

Many questions, all with thee same, single answer

Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

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: