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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
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Family Breakdown (Part Two)


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

As my children became young adults, went on to college, married and had their own children, the relationship between the cousins was no longer so harmonious – problems in the business, jealousy, and sibling rivalry now became part of our life. And then my brother-in-law passed away. It came as a shock to all of us. He had been in perfect health.

For a brief moment during the shiva period there was peace and unity, but then the fighting started. The business had been failing. The money my nieces and nephews thought was there simply did not exist, but they refused to believe it. They were convinced that my husband – their uncle – was hiding the money. No matter what my husband said, no matter what the books showed, no one could dissuade them. They insisted my husband and my son hid the money.

They engaged a top attorney and then the nightmare really started. We had no choice but to follow suit. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were thrown away in attorneys’ fees.

And then came the most tragic development of all: when they saw they were getting nowhere, they went to the IRS – and on some unbelievably minor technicalities my husband was indicted.

I am a widow now, but more than being a widow, it is the tragedy of what happened that destroys me. The family that was once united by love is splintered by hatred.

My children and grandchildren have been put to shame. They are haunted by the suffering and anguish that befell their father and grandfather. There are so many ramifications, so much tragedy that resulted from this family feud that I can’t even begin to describe it. I write this letter in the hope that people will wake up and realize the extent of what can happen due to jealousy, greed and hatred.

I invite your readers to consider what happened to us: a man survives Auschwitz and in his senior years his own nephews and nieces place him behind bars. Can there be a greater tragedy?

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