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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Bat Melech’

Hadassa Dubrofsky: A True Role Model

Friday, February 17th, 2012

One of the many reasons adolescent girls and boys look forward to their bat- and bar-mitzvahs is the presents. Family and friends put a lot of thought into buying the proper, meaningful and memorable gift, and the sight of the many different colorful parcels adds to the anticipation of opening them and discovering their contents.

Hadassa Dubrofsky, a lovely twelve-year old girl from Toronto, Canada however, decided to forgo this form of pleasure, and replace it with something even more meaningful and exciting – an act of chesed (charitable kindness). She asked that her guests, instead of buying her a gift on the occasion of her bat-mitzvah, give a donation to the charity of her choice. The charity she choose was Bat Melech, an organization that helps battered women and their children by giving them a safe shelter, and eventually providing them with a secure permanent home and livelihood. “It is my goal that the funds collected in honor of my bat-mitzvah help build another family unit in the shelter so no mother and child should ever have to be turned away,” Hadassa explains, her words revealing remarkable maturity.

Hadassa reveals that the initial idea for requesting donations for charity in lieu of gifts came from her older brothers, Yehuda and Akiva, both students in Toronto’s Yeshivat Ohr Chaim. Yehuda, who is now sixteen and in 11th grade requested that all donations be made to Emunah Women in Israel, and Akiva, fifteen, in 10th grade, chose Leket Israel as beneficiary of his bar-mitzvah donations.

One cannot help but be deeply impressed by parents who provide such an upbringing for their children. Vivian and Lewis Dubrofsky, both highly trained professionals in managerial positions, seem to be endowed with admirable spiritual dimensions to inculcate these moral Torah values in their children.

To my question as to how she found out about Bat Melech, Hadassa who is in 7th grade at Toronto’s Netivot Hatorah Day School, eagerly replied: “My mother’s very close friend, Yitzchaka Jackson, told us about this charity and how special it is and what important work they do. I had looked for a charity that helped women and children and Bat Melech does both.”

Hadassa’s act of chesed did not end with monetary contributions. She encouraged her friends to join her in creating a personal gift – a hand-painted quilt for Bat Melech. “The basic theme of the quilt was inspirational quotes from the Torah with painted text and images,” Hadassa Dubrofsky enthusiastically depicts the work. “The quilt was made of individual squares that were each painted by a different friend and had its own special message.”

Eventually Hadassa’s extended family – her parents, her aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, made a trip to Israel and hand delivered the magnificent masterpiece to Bat Melech. “We gave them this very big quilt which could be hung up on the wall and would decorate the shelter. They loved it!” Hadassa relates with delight.

“I found the visit to the shelter to be very interesting,” she goes on to say. “ I didn’t know what to expect, but when we got there all the women and children in the shelter welcomed us with a smile. The kids were all really cute.”

I believe Hadassa Dubrofsky’s enthusiasm for her act of loving-kindness has a potential impact on others, whether adolescents or adults. She truly serves as a perfect role model.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 4/01/11

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

 

Freedom At Last

Dear Readers,

Back in June of 2010 we published an article from Isaac Kohn, who has become known to readers of this column for his avid championing for the protection and rights of the abused chareidi wife. Below, we briefly refresh the reader’s memory with an excerpt of that letter which is followed by a recent update from Mr. Kohn.

 

Ad mosay – how long must this ugly situation continue?

Last week at the Miklat, I met another young woman (20-21 years-old!) with a beautiful one-year-old daughter, whose short twenty-something years are tightly compacted with more beatings, terror and over-all mental abuse than most adults can ever imagine! 

Married to a hypocrite (he dresses as a chareidi but keeps absolutely none of the laws!), this girl became an immediate punching bag and the sponge for every imaginable abuse. Raised in a family where evil is considered a virtue, her pipsqueak husband enslaved his young wife (with his mother’s encouragement!) and turned her life into virtual hell. And it all began almost immediately after the wedding and continued in a non-stop pace for many months. The severe mental-abuse was only topped by the extreme physical cruelty visited on this young and innocent girl whose life quickly evolved into a nightmare — until literally extracted from the clutches of death by Bat-Melech.

 

Dear Rachel,

It’s only a crack but one of the best ever!

Back in June you printed one of my letters, which was simply another part of the saga I dubbed “A Visit To Hell.”

As in my previous letters to you, I described the unimaginably horrible situation in which another of our daughters found herself; the beatings and abuse her husband visited upon her may very well have ended in a tragedy had she not finally escaped to find refuge in Miklat-Bat Melech, the only safe-house for abused chareidi women in Israel. Here she found a warm, embracing atmosphere of people who’d give their lives to protect, encourage and rehabilitate the poor and wretched young women who desperately knock on their doors. The trials and tribulations this young 21-year-old (with her year-and-a-half-old daughter) had to endure until last week are beyond description. Escaping from her husband’s clutches was not enough; the evil that lies in the heart of people – particularly in the hearts of men – continued to haunt Shoshana and threatened to drown her. (Yes! I can now reveal her name!)

And here is the gist and focal point of this letter, Rachel. As I noted in my opening sentence, it’s only a crack, but it allowed Shoshana to break her shackles — she’s been set free!

Shoshana herself doesn’t know how it happened; her belief and trust in Hashem that He will sort out the truth from the many lies bore wonderful fruit. No Jewish tear goes to waste and the rivers of tears and endless nights of fear and trepidation that her husband will chas ve’sholom succeed in both taking away her daughter and never set her free were obviously picked-up by Hakodosh Boruch Hu.

In a sudden and inexplicable turn of events, the previous pro-husband biased judge was replaced and the new judge simply shuddered at the treacherous tactics employed by Shoshana’s husband in order to keep her captive. In a barely controlled rage, the judge berated the husband, voided all of his complaints, dismissed his accusations and ordered Shoshana to be set free immediately!

With a get in her hand and baby Leah in her arms, Shoshana arrived in New York a free woman ready to proceed with her life and raise her daughter in the proper way.

Rachel, as an epilogue, give me a few more lines to express Shoshana’s deep gratitude to the wonderful people at Bat-Melech who were there for her every minute of every day. They comforted, calmed and reassured her that Hashem is with her and her trust in Him will pan out. They guided her every step, cried with her and finally celebrated her victory and walked with her towards the plane on her way to freedom. G-d bless them!

 

Isaac Kohn

kohnisaac@optonline.net

 

Dear Mr. Kohn,

May G-d repay you for taking such an active interest in the downtrodden among us. As for the wonderful, selfless people who run Miklat-Bat Melech, allow me to sum it up by relating a short story about an incident that occurred when one of the talmidim of Reb Yosef Soloveitchik zt”l visited his former rosh yeshiva after marrying and becoming a successful businessman.

The Rebbe asked the young man how he was doing (in Yiddish “vos machs du?”), to which the talmid replied that he was doing well and baruch Hashem had much hatzlocha with the candy store he had opened.

A moment later, the RoshYeshiva repeated the question, and his visitor answered basically the same. When the Rebbe asked him for the third time “Vos machs du?” the talmid questioned the repetition of his Rebbe, to which the latter replied, “The store that is doing well is Hashem’s doing, not yours. I asked you about how you’re doing, which is entirely dependant upon you as it is your choice — such as learning Torah, doing mitzvos and performing tzedaka and chessed…”

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 12/02/10

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

AD MOSAY?

Dear Rachel,

You were kind enough to print my previous letters to you in which I had detailed some of the unbelievable horror, the beatings and torture, the pain, fear and intimidation in which young women, our daughters, live.

I wrote to you about our anger and frustration in the face of cold-blooded and corrupt community leaders who support the husbands and family members who shut their eyes to the pain of their own flesh-and-blood. And I wrote to you about the wonderful shelter – Bat-Melech – which is the only shelter serving the women in the chareidi community. Rachel! There is no let-up.

The following is an approximate synopsis and translation from a Hebrew article by Noam Barkan (which appeared in Yediot Achronot) after a heart-rending visit with the young victim described here. I hope you will print this too because the horror must be unveiled and our community must shout: “Ad Mosay?”

In retrospect, Elanor* should have seen what was coming; her days of engagement should have been ones of joy and anticipation. Instead, they were filled with verbal abuse, cursing and degrading in public. Her chosson, Chaim, would follow her to school or pop in unannounced in order to verify her whereabouts. She had to check with him before she went to visit friends, and he curtailed her actions and freedom of movement. And though he hit her too, Elanor’s naiveté excused it all as “pre-marriage jitters and nervousness.” She was sure that once married his attitude would change for the better.

How wrong she was! Today she is only twenty-years-old; a young woman married to an abusive 25-year-old spineless snake who beat her because she is “not behaving properly.” He beat her in order to teach her, and he choked her because of something she might have said.

No longer able to excuse all this as pre-marital jitters, Elanor attributed this horror to the fact that she did not conceive in the first year of her marriage. “I’m sure he’ll change once I get pregnant. After all, if he knows that he’ll be a father, he’ll mature and his behavior towards me will change.”

And when Elanor did get pregnant, his behavior did change – the beatings increased because, he stated with glee, now Elanor was tied to him forever due to the baby she was carrying and she’d never be able to leave him.

He would punch her in the stomach and choke her into semi-consciousness, jeopardizing both Elanor and the unborn child. In her misery, the young would-be-mother wondered why he is punching the baby After all, it was she who was not behaving properly; what wrong did the baby do?

Elanor ran away to her parents, hoping to elicit their help. They were reluctant to let her in because her husband had claimed that she cheated on him. In anger, they insisted that she should return to her abusive husband and try to be a “better wife” and work on “sholom bayis.”

When Elanor finally had enough and had her husband arrested, it was her father who bailed him out.

And once her husband had elicited Elanor’s parents’ tacit and active support, he felt free and unencumbered to continue the abuse. She could not call her friends without his explicit permission, and he listened to all her conversations. There is so much more, the details of which are sickening.

Afraid of losing the baby, Elanor decided that she must run away. A friend took her in for two days and referred her to the authorities where, with G-d’s help, a total stranger took pity on the hapless woman and immediately referred her to Bat-Melech.

The warmth and safety accorded to Elanor by Bat-Melech’s personnel and other residents instilled in Elanor a sense of worth and security, enabling her to plan for her future. The embrace with which she was welcomed let a bit of sun into an otherwise bleak darkness.

Last week, in an atmosphere of warmth and joy, with Bat-Melech counselors and her shelter-friends surrounding her – ensuring her husband would not get near her – Elanor cried tears of happiness as the mohel performed the bris on her new-born son. Holding her baby gently in her arms, Elanor finally saw herself emerging from the depth of despair to a better and healthier future.

Rachel, when will this stop? Elanor is one of the lucky ones – just one of the many abused and tortured young women who found heaven in the midst of the hell they lived in. She was one of the fortunate ones who found their way to the only shelter catering to the religious woman.

Her rehabilitation is going smoothly; soon she will be transferred to a transitory safe-house where she will get every possible help that she will need to begin her new life with her new-born son. Her self-esteem is solid, and she has long discarded the fear of her husband.

Unfortunately, many more of our abused daughters are in desperate need for either a safe haven or urgent emotional/financial help. Regrettably, the limited sources available to Bat-Melech forces the shelter to turn away far too many.

In the five years that Bat-Melech is in existence, the shelter has had a continuous residency count of forty-five women and approximately 150 children. Given every possible support, most of these women go on to a new and better life, a life devoid of the fear and terror they previously were immersed in.

Bat-Melech’s director, Noach Korman, a highly esteemed attorney, has been giving his entire life and heart to save each and every one of the girls who turn to Bat-Melech. Unfortunately, the limited space and funds force so many to remain in the gehennom they are in.

In conclusion, Rachel, while the disease festers without a solution in sight, Bat-Melech needs all the help it can muster. Perhaps families fortunate to be enjoying the warmth of togetherness this Chanukah will take pity on the plight of these girls and find it in their hearts to extend a much-needed financial helping hand to expand the facilities and resources so desperately needed.

More information is easily available at: www.batmelech.org.

Isaac Kohn

kohnisaac@optonline.net

*Names have been changed.

* * * * *

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-482/2010/12/01/

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