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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 11/20/09

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Dear Rachel:

I always read your column and the advice you give. I am positive that you are aware as to how many people you have helped. Keep it up.

The letter you printed from Isaac Kohn (Chronicles 10-16-09) was really unbelievable for a number of reasons, the most prominent being that the writer is a man! For him to write a letter that truly attacks the male’s position in the Agunah problem is unheard of. Are there more such people around, I wonder?

I know there are people who fight for a woman’s freedom. But most of them are paid to do so in one way or the other. At least that was my experience. But let me stop and tell you a bit about my story.

I met my ex through a shadchen. During the four or five times we went out, he was very charming and polite, and we hit it off.

Three and a half months later, when I was nineteen and he was twenty-one, we were married.

Exactly three months later I became pregnant. Less than a month after that, he slapped me across the face for the first time.

I will not bore you with the two years of misery and torture I endured before I simply ran back home to my parents (they are elderly people) with a tiny child. I was now almost twenty-two.

In short, for a year my ex refused to come to a beis-din. When he finally did show, he made all sorts of demands in order to give me a Get. The worst of all: he wanted full rights to our daughter, without any intention of paying support. In order to obtain the Get I agreed, but then he demanded that she live with him! Of course I refused.

The rabbis were very antagonistic towards me, practically pushing me to go back to him for “shalom bayis” purposes. I told the rabbis that I could not stand him and that just the thought of him touching me made me want to throw up.

Would you like to hear the audacity of one of these rabbis? He urged me to be a good wife!

In short…I was kept an Agunah for almost ten years! He gave me the Get when he met a woman and wanted to get married. I was finally free, but at what cost!

Why isn’t there an organization that will fight and expose the corrupt rabbis who keep women chained? And why are these husbands/animals allowed to do as they please? Where does the Torah Law play a part here?

Thank Mr. Kohn for me. Had such a person been there for me at my time of need, it would have been a blessing. The two Agunot he helped must be blessing him every minute of the day.

Thank you, Rachel.

Do men of integrity really exist…?

Dear Integrity,

A bitter experience in a relationship can leave the injured party disenchanted with the opposite gender. When trust is shattered, it is difficult to believe that good and genuinely caring men exist – but they are out there.

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to your questions.

Who is he what is he the man who thinks nothing of inflicting torment on another human being – let alone the woman whom he had chosen to love and honor as his life partner?! Such a man is either mentally deranged or downright evil.

You, who pretend to be a charitable and upstanding citizen, may succeed in putting one over on some of your fellowmen, but in no way can you dupe your Maker – for in the heavens above there is a precise accounting of all your deeds, and even of the thoughts and motivations behind them!

That’s right. There will be no place for you to hide when every moment of anguish that you inflicted on your wife will be revealed and counted as a separate transgression.

Oh, I get it! It didn’t work out as you had planned or as you had imagined it would. Well, life doesn’t always do that. G-d, in His infinite kindness and graciousness, granted us a legit way out; it is called gittin and serves as a means by which to terminate a marital union in a civil manner.

You may be surprised to hear this, but G-d abhors arrogance and obnoxiousness, which are completely antithetical to His attributes of humility and compassion.

So, you can figure it this way: In the process of releasing your suffering wife from her pitiful shackles, you just might be doing yourself the bigger favor.

DO IT NOW, for you never know what tomorrow will bring and you better believe that Der Aibishter bleibt nisht shildig – the One Above is punctilious in His reckoning.

Thank you, dear woman, for sharing your pain and frustration with our readers. As unpleasant and hurtful as it may be for us to hear about the bad and the ugly in our midst, can we really afford to ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist?

I think not. Awareness is the first step toward prevention.

May G-d heed the anguished cries of the suffering and ensure the triumph of good over evil.

* * * * *

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, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215

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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