Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
Last time I wrote about the misguided attitude toward sports and exercise that seemingly permeates many frum circles. Some askanim view physical activity as unnecessary, needlessly diverting precious time from Torah study.
I described my own experience with this outlook via a “catch” I was set up with. He asserted after a few dates that should we marry, my kids could no longer indulge in their beloved sports activities “because it would take away time from learning.”
While at first glance this statement was motivated by his “frumkeit,” I quickly came to realize that this matter-of-fact utterance was fueled by a man with a seriously dysfunctional personality that manifested itself in the need to control and dictate.
I mention this because I know that there are many singles in the shidduch parshah – some young, some old, some never married and some spouseless because of death or divorce- whoarealoneandlonely, and riddled with feelings of inadequacy.
Lonely people, especially women or the elderly, can make very foolish choices in a desperate attempt to alleviate their loneliness. They can fall prey to human predators who will only bring emotional – and often financial – misery into their lives.
These predators do so by slowly and insidiously whittling away your self-belief and that of your capabilities, making you feel so inadequate and unsure of yourself that you yield your right to make personal decisions over to them – allowing them total control over your life.
Predators begin by breaking down your spirit: they achieve this by constantly being critical and insulting – both components of verbal abuse. They tell you over and over that you are dumb, stupid, ugly or inept. He (or she) will find fault with everything you do – even something as simple as washing a glass. There will always be something wrong with what you do, to the point that you start believing that you are incompetent and useless.
Often the seeds of self-doubt and the crippling belief that they don’t “measure up” afflicting many adults were sown in their childhood by overly critical parents who wore away any innate self-confidence they might have had. Predators instinctively know how to make these seeds blossom into full-blown dependency and surrender, due to an acute lack of self-belief.
Single adults are often treated – inadvertently or not – in the married world as “outsiders” or “B” list entities. This reality only adds to their sense of inadequacy, and leads them to further question their worth. “Am I not married because there is something wrong with me?” “Did my spouse die because I am a bad person and God punished me?” “Did I get divorced because I am not likeable?”
This, combined with being single, makes them easy prey to master manipulators who have their own dysfunctional need to feel superior. Hence the need to control: “You’re clueless; only I know what’s best for you [and yours].”
When this man with his peyot blowing in the wind declared that my children would have to live according to his dictates, I immediately understood that he was a dictator who would demand absolute obedience from his “subjects.”
My children’s opinions and feelings, along with mine, would have no weight in his kingdom. Unfortunately for him, whatever self-doubt I might have accumulated through my life experiences, whatever loneliness or sense of being left out I might have felt, had not led to the level of desperation that would allow me – and by default, my children – to fall into his conniving clutches. Better to be alone, and free to breathe and live life on my terms, than to be suffocated in a toxic marriage.
Unfortunately many people, single moms in particular, are so anxious to be connected to someone (and thus not be alone) and fit in with the mainstream community – and/or they feel so worthless and inadequate – that they blind themselves to “in your face” warnings as to the evil knocking on their door.
For the sake of your children, proceed with caution.
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Everyone is always looking for cute yet simple and inexpensive ideas to enhance their table at special occasions. Here are some attractive ways to create that festive look. Whether you use china or plastic, your guests will surely be delighted with your charming setup.
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What made an M.I.T. scholarship student, taking time off from his doctorate in medicine, to backpack, and then decide to backtrack, chuck it all… and get a haircut? Perhaps it is easier to understand a Harvard law student becoming enamored with the logic of Gemara and settling down to struggle with the intellectual challenges of Aramaic acrobatics.
JetBlue flew an empty aircraft from Boston to JFK to assist us. The care and concern of the flight attendants was amazing. They were astounded by our group, so much so that at the end of the flight, the captain related for all to hear that he was truly impressed by the care that the HASC counselors provided for the special-needs campers – all of whom have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. We did our best to demonstrate a true kiddush Hashem.
Q: What does twice exceptional or 2e mean?
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Last month’s column outlined some efforts during the first half of the nineteenth century to establish Jewish agricultural colonies in America. In only one case was a colony actually established.
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Having everyone home on a snow day can be a lot of fun – the first few times it happens. Once snow day number six hits, perhaps not so much and the real creativity has to come out.
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Never sacrifice the people who matter for anything of lesser importance…
Hannah believed that one must learn about the evils of the past so that they aren’t repeated.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.
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But even though their medical situations were similar, how they mentally dealt with their new status quo was often as different as night and day.
How confusing it was growing up with conflicting messages. On the one hand, we were told, even admonished, to eat everything on our generously piled up plates (it was a sin to waste food), yet we were made to feel like we were a lower form of human being if we were overweight.
While in New York recently, I was invited to see a performance of “Waiting for Godot” – a multi-layered play on the human condition that I was introduced to in high school. What was fascinating and unique about this particular production was that this renowned play was being performed in Yiddish – with English and Russian subtitles beamed onto a screen for non-Yiddish speakers. (Staged by the New Yiddish Rep, at the Castillo Theatre, and directed by Moshe Yassur, it stars Shane Baker, David Mandelbaum, Rafael Goldwaser, Avi Hoffman and Nicholas Jenkins.)
Now and then my Bubby would open up about what she went through in the camps, of what she witnessed… From time to time she would talk about her baby sisters – twins – and how she would sew them identical dresses and braid their hair the same way challenging everyone to guess who was who.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/beware-the-predators/2009/08/26/
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