Thanks For The Memories And The Lessons…
Unbelievable as it may seem, we’ve reached a milestone. This past November marked ten years since the launching of the then-newly created Chronicles of Crises, which evolved into a forum for the hurt, lonely, frustrated and hapless.
Sensitive themes, hitherto not likely to be aired in an Orthodox publication, were addressed openly, albeit with dignity. We read about various forms of addictions and heard about horrid abuse – physical, emotional and sexual. We were exposed – some of us for the very first time – to the heartrending cries of frum males and females distressed by their SSA inclinations. Buoyed by the revelations of their troubled brethren, likewise-suffering souls gradually emerged to speak out about their own misery and pain.
We sympathized with the heartbroken victims of marital infidelities, tried our darndest to soothe the torment of the clinically depressed, and empathized with the plight of disheartened forlorn singles despairing of ever finding their destined life partners.
We deliberated on in-law dilemmas and parental issues, debated education shortfalls, and reflected upon health concerns. We carried on a spirited give and take on the folly (or virtue… depending on which side you were on) of praying in the subway, and we valiantly waved the banner of tznius in defiance of readers in denial – while not hesitating to denounce the unscrupulous or call out the pious fools.
Multiple issues were dealt with in this column over the years, such as those relating to the workplace, to simchas, to death and shiva, interment and inheritance, to the loneliness of widows and angst of orphans, the agony of the childless and affliction of the agunah, and the travails of the divorced among us.
Indisputably, we had our light moments – smiles brought to us by the narratives of the left-handed, the right-wing minded, and spouses caught in the middle (as the one with the germophobe wife, or another plagued by inept household help).
And oh, the most memorable saga of them all… the real life drama that unfolded in this space in a series of chronicles that ran from May to November of 2008. “Esther” had initially written to bemoan her wretchedness over her devastating loss of two decades earlier, when her ex had vanished with her two little boys whom she hadn’t seen since. One of them, by this time a grown, married man residing overseas with his own family, read his mom’s letter in Chronicles and promptly made contact. The events leading up to the climactic finale evoked tears and cheers in us all – the emotional reunion of mother and long-lost son easily taking first prize as the most gratifying moment for this columnist.
Now, 499 chronicles later (this one marks 500!), I write to bid you, my dear readers from across the globe, farewell… l’hitraot, adieu, tchau… dasvidaniya, arrivederci, auf wiedersehen…The time has come for me to call it a day – or more accurately, a decade.
I am profoundly grateful to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for having granted me the privilege and opportunity to help others and to learn from them. Without His guidance I could have never done my small part. We are all here to help one another, but ultimately it is Hashem we turn to for our every need – even for the ability to be of help to others.
I extend my hakoras hatov to Naomi Mauer (Hashem’s effective emissary), to Shandee Fuchs (the subtle influence behind the scenes), and to Chumi Friedman (who multitasks with skill, patience and finesse).
To readers… Dasi, Meryl, Anne, Rose, Zahava, Chedva, Robyn, Yafa, Hindy, Efrat, Rochel, Rose, RCR, Chaya Malka, Gitty, Janette, Michele, Esther, Chavi, Ilana, Devorah, Bracha, and to Yossi, Yonah, David, Brian, Benson, Shmuel, Jayson, Michael, Jared, Chuck G. (no, I haven’t forgotten), Tommy, Joshua, Yochanan, and Isaac Kohn (the indefatigable defender of the abused woman)… my heartfelt thanks to you and so many more for contributing to the lively discussions herein over the years.