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Dear Dr. Yael: I wish to share some thoughts with you and Despondent Daughter-in-Law (Magazine, 10-28-2011). I am a happily married woman who has a great relationship with my mother-in-law. Although it might seem to others that my mother-in-law sometimes favors her other children’s families over mine, I don’t let that bother me – I have a different approach toward the whole situation.
Recently, while doing research for a news article I was writing for The Jewish Press, I found myself watching a YouTube clip concerning Jewish homosexuals. About two minutes into the clip, my heart suddenly dropped. There speaking on my computer screen was a young man I had once known as a sweet frum boy. Today - as I discovered from the YouTube video - he is an open homosexual.
The previous two columns discussed kashrus and bris milah observance in America during the 19th century. The trend was that until about 1860 most Jews were careful to observe these mitzvos. However, in the latter part of the century many Jews abandoned keeping kosher both at home and in public. Bris milah, though, was generally observed throughout the entire century.
Last month's column dealt with the observance of kashrus by Jews in America during the 19th century. Up until about 1870 German Jewish immigrants went to considerable effort to make sure they could eat kosher meat and poultry. Almost every Jewish community of more than 15 families employed a professional shochet. Smaller communities were served by volunteer shochtim. However, with the spread of the Reform movement in the latter half of the century, Jews began to abandon kashrus.
A few months before my family emigrated in 1938 to the United States from Hamburg, Germany, I had the special privilege at the bris of my brother, Micha, to sit on the lap of Chief Rabbi Joseph Carlebach, zt"l, a revered rabbinical giant of his age.
A few years ago I wrote in this column that at the bris of my oldest son - held in a shul whose members were for the most part elderly - a wizened old man approached me, peered into my face and muttered in a raspy voice with a Yiddish accent, "May your children sit shiva for you." I was too stunned to say anything to him and just shook my head as he walked away. I thought, "nebach, he must be demented."
As we saw last week, the response to the articles entitled The Loss of Femininity (July 3, July 10, 2009) showed an overwhelming number of women identifying with the loss of femininity as they care for their ill spouses. Along with this loss came letters expressing the loneliness they feel, because their spouse's illness prevents many caregivers from attending s'machos of friends and family.
One cannot think of Yiddishkeit in Elizabeth, New Jersey, without at the same time recalling the community's longtime leader, Harav Mordechai Pinchas Teitz, zt"l.
My first-born son's recent marriage was a huge simcha for the family, but the wedding was actually the culmination of a simcha that began years ago - at his bris.
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