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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communites

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Dear Readers,

Last week we read a powerful letter written by an anonymous young man who suffered hell as a result of being sexually abused in his youth. Tragically, his story is not unique. Unfortunately, the general population of Yidden still cannot bear to face reality – that this sickness exists in our midst – and by choosing to close their eyes they become deaf and blind to the contortions of pain and the cries of innocent victims.

It stands to reason that the abuser was most likely subjected to abuse when he was younger, but that doesn’t give him license to inflict that horror on another child. Unless he is mentally challenged and thereby unable to grasp the gravity of his actions, there is absolutely no excuse for perpetrating this evil on anyone.

A thinking and discerning adult recognizes that he has an addiction and needs help, and is perfectly aware of the damage he inflicts on another human being whom he sets up for a lifetime of pain and shame. Victim or not, the abuser who allows his base instincts to overrule his common sense deserves our wrath and should be made to pay dearly for his unspeakable crime against humanity.

Whether the abuser will eventually be apprehended or not, he will not get away unscathed — for his neshama will bear the weight of his transgressions as well as of those whom he has caused to sin.

Kudos to “Anonymous” – the author of the letter of last week’s column – for pulling himself out of the dark abyss he had sunk into and for discovering that life can be beautiful and has lots to offer the person who reaches out for that lifeline that will give him a new lease on life.

A rash rush to judgment…

Dear Rachel,

I would like to bring to your attention a certain problem that I noticed. I work with a guy who married a girl from a not frum house – meaning chilul Shabbos and the like. She herself was not frum till high school, and her parents are divorced. The girl was sent to prominent yeshivas and seminaries.

Her husband was always frum and though she became observant way before they married, she knocks many of our laws that are important to him. Her non-observant family also has an impact on this couple’s relationship; the religious aspect of their children’s upbringing is always challenged when this girl’s family is involved, setting the stage for husband-wife confrontation.

Thereby I suggest to the public frum community not to marry someone who is not frumfrom birth or has divorced parents.

Worried

Dear Worried,

You can’t be serious. Please allow me to straighten you out on some of your faulty thinking. Number one, whereas your co-worker may be having a rough time of it, I can assure you that you don’t have the full picture of the goings-on in his life, even if he may be sharing some tidbits with you.

Secondly, meddling in-laws come in all denominations. Some are frum, some are secular, and some may happen to be divorced.

Your insinuation that only the “frum from birth” can make the ideal mate is preposterous, as is your suggestion to stay clear of those who come from divorced homes. We all know wonderful young people who are products of divorced homes and who are happily married and raising beautiful families.

Moreover, has it occurred to you that there are married people who lead miserable lives, whose home environment is more toxic than the atmosphere in a divorced man’s or woman’s home? For that matter, have you an inkling of how many marriages between FFBs and BTs are healthy and thriving?

Each situation is unique. It is also up to each individual looking to tie the knot to do his or her homework and assess the viability of a long-term relationship with that certain someone. And even then there will be no guarantee; a person can find that he or she erred in judgment after the fact.

While your co-worker’s problems may be very real and he may indeed be suffering in-law problems, which may in actuality be exacerbated by their non-observant status, your hypothesis is flawed. Before offering your opinions and suggestions, you’d be best advised to get in touch with the real world.

More comments regarding A Sympathetic Bubby
(Chronicles 6-8)

Dear Rachel,

As a former Bais Yaakov student, I have to say the schools today overload their students with tests, midterms and finals. My high school years were the hardest years of my life and many like myself struggled, just barely getting by.

While I understand the importance of keeping busy, there is also a limit to how much work should be demanded from students. While many girls can handle more than one test at a time, there are many who struggle on the sidelines, barely able to keep up with their peers.

The schools stress the “pnimius” – insides of a person, and then focus too much on grades. If a girl’s insides were truly important, they would make the girls feel good about themselves.

High school years are hard enough to navigate without so much schoolwork. This is a very delicate age, and teachers and principals should focus more on extra curricular activities, as well as trips, so girls can also have fun while at the same time being a serious student.

A Former Bais Yaakov Girl

Dear Rachel,

I am a girl in my first year of high school and I want to say that the work they put on our backs is ridiculous. We don’t have lives anymore. All we do all day is study. At home the tediousness and boredom of it all makes us munch away and of course there’s no time for exercise. A lack of sleep makes it difficult to focus on anything. Honestly, is it normal for someone to be up until 3 o’clock in the morning studying for 3 exams on the following day — let alone having to wake up at 7:00 a.m. to catch the bus to school? It’s all very unfair!

One year down, three more to go (groan)

Dear Former BY Girl and Groan,

We hear you loud and clear; now let’s hope school officials are listening as well…

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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