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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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Though this is certainly not the forum for delving into the intricacies of halachos, some of the inaccuracies in your assertions are so glaring that they beg for instant clarification — as where you say that girls preparing for marriage are taught to please their husbands. Indeed so. You neglect however to mention that men in turn are exhorted to please their wives, to treat them respectfully and to never coerce them into marital relations against their will. Yes, these are actual halachos as apply to all sects, chassidic or other.

Contrary to your insinuation, “arranged” marriages are not quite what the term may imply. In actuality, chassidic boys/girls place their trust in their parents to assess the viability of a prospective match. It is then up to the two singles, who meet for an earnest one-on-one lengthy discussion in private, to decide if there is chemistry between them that warrants going forward in the process. If either or both come away disenchanted with the other, the match is nixed.

For the record, this method has proven to work out quite well for the majority who seek to go that route — which, incidentally, is hardly unique to Satmar. Think Puppa, Bobov, Vizhnitz, Ger, Belz and on and on.

Judging from the countless Satmar (as well as other chassidic) families/adults that lead productive and vastly fulfilling lives in their accustomed lifestyle, by their choice, it would seem that you are one of a minority voice. But this in no way goes to say that abuse or molestation in any shape or form should chas v’sholom be tolerated in any community anywhere.

It’s crucial to note that the sexual offender is undiscerning; this scum of the earth has been known to surface in all sects and communities across the globe. And so it has become clearly obvious that inculcating children with a sense of right and wrong and self-preservation is the responsibility of parents.

Though your letter reveals zero particulars of your own experience – other than your signature that proclaims you to be a “survivor” – one can’t help but feel the pain of your embittered heart. A personal introspection, if I may: A divorced woman I once knew considered all men to be evil, due to her own miserable experience. Eventually, with patient guidance, she came to see that there are many good men, wonderful and caring individuals, out there — and that one shlemiel does not define an entire group of people.

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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