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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘ATIME’

A Sense Of Belonging

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

“I just know you are going to love it here…” the sugary voice of the real estate agent broke through my daydream in which our future house featured prominently. “This yishuv is known for its warm and friendly atmosphere; there are several shuls to choose from; you’ll never find a house at this price so close to Yerushalayim; and the schools are some of the best in the country.”

My husband had known from the start that this was where he wanted to live: he had gone to yeshiva right nearby. Besides, his Australian country spirit had never been fully at peace in the city. Now it was up to me. I, on the other hand, had always lived in the city. I liked strolling down the busy boulevards, catching buses home after late-night events, and having the world within walking distance.

I stood silently, gazing out at the glinting sunset reflected in the surrounding mountains’ embrace. I visualized the mikvah the olei regel years ago immersed in that stood just outside the town’s borders, imagined walking up the hill to a morning Tanach shiur at eight and then down at nine. I admired the array of head coverings on the women – bandanas, hats, scarves, sheitels – and the little boys – kipot of blue, white, black, intricately embroidered Yemenite designs. It was a sea of color – past, present and future – nestled within the stark green and brown peaks of Midbar Yehuda. I liked what I saw. “It’s perfect,” I said. “It’ll be home.”

We moved in just before Pesach. I instantly loved my new house. And like any good relationship, it improved consistently with the time and efforts I put in, hanging pictures in the living room, planting impatiens and a real cherry tree in the front garden! My husband was welcomed in shul and soon had his makom kavua. The grocery lady quickly learned my name. And just as the real estate agent had promised, it was indeed the perfect place for raising children. There was just one problem: We didn’t have any.

It wasn’t that we hadn’t noticed until then. The fact that we were already married for five years and had yet to be blessed with children was rather hard to ignore. But the city had been…well… the city. I never knew whether the couple across the hall had two kids or five, or whether the noise over our heads came from a dozen kids under the age of ten or teenage boarders who liked to party. On the yishuv, by contrast, I knew for a fact that of the 278 families living there, we were the only ones without a child. And just in case I wanted to forget, the reminders were constant: In response to my friendly greetings, my new neighbors would immediately inquire “ages and grades,” wanting to know at the outset which of their own children could play with mine. My warm “good mornings” stopped cold.

I set out to shul on our second week. The grandmother in the next chair complimented me on my apparent diligence. “How impressive to see a young mother at shul. What a good example you must set for your children.” The following week I davened at home. The local playground loomed teasingly just a few houses down – at once so near and yet so far away. I started taking the long way up to the bus stop.

Two months after we arrived, the English-speakers’ email list announced the first-ever “women’s get-to-know-you” evening, designed to give all of us newcomers a chance to make friends. Finally, here was an opportunity to meet people that didn’t depend on one’s kids. I literally counted down the days until the big night arrived. I took my place and expectantly looked around at all the other people who would shortly become my friends. The organizer announced that we would go around and give each person a chance to introduce herself. I immediately began mentally planning my introductory speech; after all, I wanted to make a good first impression.

“My name is Esther,” the first woman began, “I moved from Monsey three months ago with my husband and four children, aged 2, 4, 6, and 8.” Linda was the next to speak: she was from Baltimore, had just had a baby, her third child, and celebrated her eldest’s fifth birthday. And she was an accountant.

I was starting to sense a pattern. Apparently, “introducing yourself” meant listing your offspring. With growing uneasiness, I calculated how much longer it would be until my turn. The woman two seats away had just finished holding up a picture of her happy family of seven. I mumbled something about a burner left on – and ran. My poor husband was at a loss as to why his wife had returned from the much-anticipated party weeping. I, in turn, had to force myself to go to the next get-together. I was determined not to let my self-consciousness imprison me inside my very lovely home. Instead, I would go out and mingle − and feel part of everyone around me. In this I rarely succeeded.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 7/30/10

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Infertility: Where do we draw the line?
Re: Is tznius not the hallmark of our lifestyle? (Chronicles 6-18-10)
Part 3

Dear Rachel,

It seems to me that the person who has a problem with the whole issue of infertility treatment is quite insensitive. I wonder if it is because she is bitter about some aspect of this, such as not having any children of her own or maybe she is an older and unmarried single.

I am a senior citizen who had many problems having children. I won’t go into detail but I can tell you that I went to many doctors, clinics, etc. and pursued anything I heard about that may have been able to be of help to me.

Thanks to Hashem, I have two children, many grandchildren and many, many great-grandchildren.

If the medical help in the 1950′s and 1960′s were available as it is today, I may have been able to have many more children than I did.

I tell my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that not everyone is so lucky to be able to have children naturally. They understand that it is a bracha from the Ribono Shel Olam if one has it easy. Many of the people to whom it comes easy don’t know how to appreciate it.

Kol Hakavod to organizations such as Bonei Olam, ATIME, etc. They are Hashem’s emissaries for those who seek them out.

I would suggest that the person go to the Bonei Olam Chinese Auction where there usually are speakers who talk about their difficulties and of how Baruch Hashem they now have a child or children. Many people in attendance understand the pain and can be seen crying openly.

If you have no children and couldn’t be helped, be happy for those who were and pray for those who find themselves in a situation that requires a yeshua.

Being happy for others, even though we may be suffering, will help bring the Geulah, bimheira beyameinu.

From one who’s been there

Dear One,

You sure sound like a sensitive, responsible and caring sweetheart.

Now take a moment, if you will, to step out of your world, the world you and the others preceding you (see Part 1 and 2 of this series) have been fortunate to find yourselves in due to the kindness of Hashem and the help of His “emissaries” – and you may just come to see things from another perspective.

Each of you has indicated in one way or another of “knowing” the pain (of infertility) and of having “been there.” But you speak in the past tense, for you are no longer “there” and can therefore technically no longer claim to be in the shoes of the person who remains childless and who may, moreover, need to live with the certainty that his/her current status will never change.

To be sure, neither you nor I have the slightest knowledge of the personal details, trials or conclusions pertaining to the one who wrote about having issues with the treatment of fertility.

Besides, as much as we were all created equal, we all differ from one another, since there are no two people alike and no two people who will react the same way in any given situation.

I’ve known couples who have had to give up hope of ever having children yet have taken their fate in stride, raised adopted children as their own and are happy and fulfilled in the roles they have obviously been meant to take on in this life.

While some marriages break up under the stress of the emotional burden of infertility, there are childless couples that seek and find joy and fulfillment in other blessings proffered upon them and they wisely make the best of their lot.

Sometimes following testing a woman may be diagnosed as capable of having children and suspicion of “unproductiveness” may fall upon her partner, her husband. Halachic complications can force the couple to abandon any further hope of ever having children.

All this is being said only to point out that as much as one may claim to “feel” another’s pain, it is virtually impossible to do so.

Therefore let us try not to sit in judgment of the letter-writer (the one who engendered all this emotional outpouring by women who have succeeded in their quest to become mothers) and presume him or her to be either bitter or childless or still single or insensitive – for we don’t really know much about the person, to put it mildly.

A commentary by the Karliner Rebbe (referred to as Reb Aharon the Great) to take to heart: If a human is to give his fellow man the benefit of the doubt, doesn’t it stand to reason that we should grant the same benefit to G-d?

When we, as frail earthly creatures, feel that we haven’t received our fair share from heaven, should we not give Hashem the benefit of the doubt – and praise him equally for both the good and the bad (as we may perceive it) that comes our way?

Thank you all for taking the time to write of your own personal feelings and experiences. May Hashem grant us all the strength to cope with whatever He deems best for us.

* * * * *

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. 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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-267/2010/07/28/

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