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Sadly, bullying is alive and well in the 21st century afflicting all societies and the individuals that comprise them. For those who think that our heimishe communities have been spared the scourge of bullying – it’s time to get their head out of the cholent. Men, women and children in our frum communities are the targets of bullying across the board, from their peers, their educators, their employers, their spouses, their parents, their school boards, their neighbors, etc.

It goes without saying that bullying is usually associated with physical force, as when a big kid knocks a smaller one down and grabs his toy. Or when a husband – or wife- is verbally abusive and belittles and minimizes his or her spouse. But there are more subtle kinds as well. Bullying is disguised as status- our pressure to comply, for example, to the chumras and religious nuances du jour or risk being labeled “not kosher enough for us to eat by you”; or to having to be in kollel when you know that you are not a “gemara kop” and would rather be an “earner” or to having to live beyond your means in order to attract a shadchan‘s attention.

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We allow too many ” Hamans” to dictate how we live our lives. It is time to stand up to the pressure, and not bow down and succumb to it; it is time to reject societal “norms” – that we do not consider normal, and that have become burdensome to us and in many cases, unbearable.

This Purim, it is time to follow the example of the honest Jew, Mordechai, and be true to who we are.

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