Does the following script resonate with you? Father to mother: "How do you expect him to be frum when you let him to go to the mall? You don't stop him from hanging around with those 'bad' kids." Mother to father: "You're always blaming me! When have you ever learned with him without yelling or putting him down?" "When was the last time you said something positive to him − anything, anything at all?"
Since the news broke more than a week ago about the arrest by the FBI of a frum, heimishe man in my hometown of Monsey for allegedly doing unspeakable things repeatedly to a girl/young woman closely related to him over a period of many years and spanning three countries, people have been asking me the same question again and again - "Could this possibly be true?"
When verbalized in connection with parenting, the idiomatic expression, on the same page, at times, is misunderstood. Some people believe the term implies total agreement where one of the spouses gives up his/her right to disagree on an opinion, decision or direction s/he wishes to follow. In truth, while "agreement" is definitely implied, the undercurrent is one of a supportive nature.
Dear Dr. Yael, I think it is imperative that you print this letter because this is an ongoing problem in many families. In these families, the children stay in their parents' summer home for the entire summer, and everyone is supposed to live happily under one roof. This can get difficult if a brother-in-law picks on his sister-in-law or vice versa. This past summer my brother-in-law called me names, causing many hurt feelings.
The first column I ever wrote was published in the May 1996 issue of The Jewish Observer. My topic, underachieving children and the increased rate of dropouts of boys and girls from our community, was not discussed in polite company at that time.
One of the positive outcomes of the brouhaha regarding the harassment of Dr. Benzion Twerski - which led to his resignation from Assemblyman Dov Hikind's panel on child abuse - was the realization on the part of many members of our community that they cannot afford to sit on the sidelines any longer.
It is difficult to describe the sickening, gut-wrenching sensation I experience when I get phone calls from parents whose children were sexually abused or from adults who have carried the horrible scars of childhood abuse for decades, often shredding their relationships and ruining their lives.
In last week's column, a parent named Sara asked how she should deal with a book she bought on the planets that contains text describing the world as being 15 billion years old. She questioned if she ought to read it to her children and discuss with them the fact that there are people who believe this - while sharing with them our belief that the Torah teaches us that the world is 5,766 years old.