web analytics
October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Dear Concerned’

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communites – 7/03/09

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Dear Rachel,

Abuse is rampant in the Jewish community. How can I say that it is rampant? Well, I am a survivor of abuse. Including myself, I know of five people who were abused within a two-block radius. That is five people too many.

Dov Hikind has already gotten hundreds of calls from abuse survivors. This means there are probably thousands of Orthodox Jewish people who were, or are still being abused.

The abuse that I suffered could have been entirely prevented if I had been educated about this topic at a young age, but schools don’t address the issue. I went through the Bais Yaakov system and not one teacher discussed this topic. If I had been told the basics, nothing detailed, then my abuse wouldn’t have started in the first place.

As a result of not knowing about this topic, I suffered in silence for four terrible years. I am now traumatized for life. Even just walking out of my house brings horrific memories to my mind. I now suffer every day from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

Schools need to talk about this issue. Without knowledge, the chain just continues. Shoving the topic under the rug does not make it disappear. Is the Jewish community afraid that something terrible will happen if they educate their children?

I asked my therapist why she doesn’t go to schools to teach children on a basic level about the topic of abuse. She replied that schools won’t allow her to.

Jewish children need to be educated on the topic of abuse.

Guy Finley [in his book, The Secret of Letting Go] writes, “Trying to forget a fear is like trying to hold an inflated basketball under the water. It takes all of your strength and attention, and in time it must pop to the surface.” Making believe that abuse does not occur in our communities makes the entire situation one hundred times worse. It rears its ugly head in other ways. For me, my body is covered with scars, since that was the only way I knew how to deal with so much inner pain.

With education, the chain can be broken. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a thousand pounds of cure.

Some people may say, okay, let’s only tell the girls since it occurs only among young girls. Of the five people whom I know to have been abused, two of them are boys. Education is the only road to prevention. Without education, the chain just continues.

Do something about the situation. Stop the chain. Today.

Concerned about the future of Klal Yisrael

Dear Concerned,

Yes, the horrific scourge of abuse has been eating away at our hapless young, the injustice being the longstanding reluctance of individuals in a position of influence to pay heed to the unthinkable occurring in their midst.

Yes, we have been rudely awakened from our innocent slumber. To be sure, ours is a refined culture, one that is shaped by age-old Torah statutes that sculpt our way of life. Many of us, until recent times, would never have believed any of our people capable of perpetrating this type of heinous abuse.

Some will blame naivetĂ©, others tend to accuse us of being ignorant, but even the world-wise among us were (and still are) of the conviction that such deviant behavior is an aberration in our community. As difficult as it may be for a suffering victim to accept, relative to secular society, abuse in our collective communities – though having gone unchecked for too long now – is not as widespread as the concentration of recent news flashes would have us believe.

But, alas, even one victim is too many, and as a charitable and good-natured people, our hearts cry along with every single victim we are made aware of. Every son and daughter is everyone’s son and daughter.

Courageous leaders such as Assemblyman Dov Hikind and noted educator Rabbi Yakov Horowitz are to be lauded for their tireless efforts to weed the bad seed from our beautiful garden. Moreover, they should have the support and backing of every decent, caring and clear-thinking Jewish soul.

You are totally justified in your outrage. You have suffered horrendous physical and emotional pain that most of us, thankfully, cannot begin to fathom.

Yes, we are responsible for one another, and yes, it is the duty of those in whose care we entrust our children to educate and enlighten them. (Parents must do their part and not rely solely on the school system.)

And, yet, the concept of our schools indoctrinating our young and innocent in the subject of abuse, (exposing their pure intellect to the existence of deviancy), is a difficult one to digest and relatively foreign to us as a whole. In this light it is understandable that your teachers did not think to warn you, to alert you and your peers to the ugliness that they never imagined would infiltrate our own private circles.

Now that the stark reality has hit us hard, we have no choice but to accept that we cannot rely on the insulation of our communities to protect our vulnerable young against predators, to concede that the era of innocence (if it ever truly existed outside of wishful thinking) is no more, and to unite in “arming” our children by educating them against unsuspected dangers that can chas v’shalom be their ruin.

Thank you for baring your pain and torment in the hope of sparing others the same.

May you know complete healing and merit to bask in endless joy of your own beautiful garden.

Please send your personal stories, thoughts and opinions to rachel@jewishpress.com

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 9/13/07

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax-deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Rachel,

I realize that my letter may be a little off topic for your column, but it can be a great source of reaching out to our community. I am a social worker in a community center and I work mostly with elderly immigrants, the majority of whom are Jewish.

It pains me greatly to hear day in and day out about how much these people are being mistreated by their landlords and/or managers, the majority of whom are also Jewish. The landlords do not live up to their part of the rent deal, like making repairs every three years as required by law, or making sure the buildings are mice-free, and the garbage is taken out regularly, and so on and so forth.

Don’t get me wrong: I know that there are wonderful and responsible landlords, but apparently they are a minority. I know how ugly it can get: I lived for five years in an apartment building owned by a frum couple and managed by a frum individual, and the only way we could get him to fix anything was by withholding a rent payment. Money talks!

As far as the elderly immigrants are concerned, the landlords raise rent mercilessly knowing upfront that these people are on fixed incomes; they are terrified of being thrown out in the street and will borrow from anyone they could to make that monthly payment – no matter how badly their apartment needs the repair.

Landlords/managers abuse the fact that these tenants are non-English speakers and elderly. However, all of the above is not the main reason I am writing to you today. Since most of my clients and those in similar situations cannot afford the ever-increasing rent, they apply to different housing programs. Section 8 is the most popular. It has been closed for new applications for a few years. Finally, in these past few months, the people who have been waiting for it for 14 years received their vouchers. Unfortunately, they will lose them because they have only six months to rent an apartment with it, and – you guessed it – the landlords refuse to take them.

Now, don’t throw stones at me, but I am pretty sure that the majority of these buildings have been paid for years ago and rental income is a clean income (minus maintenance expenses). Therefore, it is all about money. When I called one such landlord and pleaded with him to change his mind and accept a voucher from a couple that lived in that apartment for 12 years, borrowing left and right to always pay on time, he refused. When I told him that the wife had two brain surgeries and is on dialysis (we had all the letters from doctors and hospitals), and that as per her treating physician, the move would physically kill her (her husband is also disabled, and they are childless and elderly), all I heard was, “It is too much of a headache to deal with the Housing Authority.”

And there are hundreds of similar cases. It is a disgrace and a Chillul Hashem! And some are even taking bribes to accept the vouchers, and we are talking thousands of dollars. Widows, old and disabled are being denied shelter when it is Hashem’s commandment to do the reverse. You have to see the pain in these peoples’ eyes. The desperation is palpable. They have literally nowhere to turn.

I am writing to cry out to our community to treat our fellow Jews (no matter how unobservant, old, or non-English speaking that they may be) the true Torah way. Otherwise, it is just like the saying goes “In G-d we trust. Everyone else pays cash.”

A Concerned Social Worker

Dear Concerned,

It is indeed a heartbreak to watch the helpless suffer, and it is truly appalling that they do so at the hands of those who consider themselves to be Torah-observant.

I have chosen to publish your letter at this juncture – a time of year when minds perk up and hearts are on alert. Soon we will be judged for our deeds and we will be dealt with as we have seen fit to deal with others.

But there is still time for teshuvah, and every person should seek to make amends in order to merit favor in the heavenly courts.

The Midrash Tanchuma relates an awesome narrative. Rabbi Akiva one night observed how a man with a blackened face was hauling a heavy bundle of wood on his shoulder, rushing to and fro. He stopped the person and asked him why he was in such a hurry and whether he was a slave who was being tormented by his master – in which case, Rabbi Akiva offered to redeem him. Or, if it turned out that the man was poverty-stricken, Rabbi Akiva would enrich him.

The man replied that he was neither a slave nor a poor man – but a mes, a dead man dispatched from gehennom every night to chop wood and lug a bundle of it back with him. He would then be set ablaze atop the burning wood and be resuscitated in order to repeat the pattern: Fetch his own wood so that he can be burned and then resurrected only to re-enact the scene over and over again.

Rabbi Akiva asked the man what he did when he was alive. He answered that he was the king’s tariff collector and would curry favor with the rich while he’d harass the poor, not caring if they were left penniless or would die of hunger.

Need more be said?

May we all come to our senses and merit to be written up in the Book of Life for a Sweet and Happy New Year.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 1/19/07

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot please send your tax-deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

* * * * * * * * * *

Reactions To Disappointed Husband And His Critics (Continued)

Dear Rachel,

My take on Disappointed Husband is that he is obviously feeling left out and unloved and may well be justified in feeling so. There are halachic and common sense rules that state that a woman must remain “attractive” to her husband. The actual lashon the Chazal use is “lo tisganeh al ba’alah.” There is even a heter to wear makeup during Niddah times. The late Rav of London, Rav Padwa,z”l once gave a hard hitting drashah against the snood/robe syndrome, which he said has been known to cause men to stray.

It is also clear that the woman is suffering, either because of the husband’s attitude (I do not like his paragraph about “fancy women” which is over the top) or simply because of the massive pressures of motherhood, etc.

Counseling is an absolute necessity to help the woman out of her issues (which may or may not be about him) and to help him to help her. He must also be part of that process to reconcile his needs (which are very real) with being a mentch towards the wife who does so much for him and the kids.

The glamour will then automatically return.

A Concerned Reader

Dear Concerned,

My thanks to all of you who have written to express your concern and advice.

The consensus is that home is where man’s heart should be and that a woman’s way to her man’s heart rests not in her culinary expertise alone. But woman by herself cannot carry the weight of responsibility in keeping their union in tip-top form. We all owe it to our loved ones and ourselves to keep in shape and do our utmost to please our partners – for whom we have pledged everlasting devotion at the outset.

In other words, husbands are equally obliged to stay fit, attractive and attentive to their other halves. Read on.

Dear Rachel,

I am not the type of woman to write to a column, but I need and want help for my situation that I’m not even ashamed of.

I am a married, frum woman, mother of four. I am also a “wow” woman whom other men notice. My husband and I are married 18 years. I love him and he loves me. He let himself go years ago. He’s gained a lot of weight, doesn’t care about his appearance and has developed some disgusting habits along the way. I’ve lost my attraction for him. I love the flattery and attention from the looks I get, and guess what? I’m having an affair! With a man I knew 20 years ago. He is also “happily” married, but his wife doesn’t pay “attention” to him. We are not in love. Our respective families are a big priority to us. We are simply using one another because of what we are lacking from our respective spouses.

Why should I have to suffer because my husband doesn’t keep himself attractive for me? I’m tired of hearing about women who don’t keep themselves attractive for their husbands. What about the men who don’t care about their own appearances? I don’t like what I’m doing and I want to stop, but I’ve been attracted to this guy for years and he called me one day. Even though he’s married, he wants me. I’ve never lied to my spouse about where I’ve been or what I’ve been doing during daytime. I just didn’t tell.

My children are in school all day. They have no clue. I’m the same loving wife and mommy when I’m around them.

Tell me how I can appreciate my “king” at home so I don’t have to live this secret life.

Please print this letter. I’m sure I’m not the only woman out there who feels like the shoe is on the other foot.

Anonymous but not ashamed

Dear Anonymous,

Justifying your unfaithfulness to your spouse is pointless – there is zero tolerance for transgression of the sins of adultery, murder and idolatry. Rationalization only allows you to carry on your liaisons without the accompanying burden of guilt.

Most puzzling is your affirmation of your love for your husband. And yet you claim to feel no shame in stooping to an unethical mode of behavior to gratify your physical needs of the moment.

Did you ever attempt to communicate your feelings to your husband? In the event that you did and it didn’t garner any positive results, did you give marriage counseling any thought or serious consideration before taking up your secret trysts?

What do you suppose your husband’s reaction would be should he stumble upon your infidelity? How would you feel if you were to discover that your husband was being unfaithful to you? If the mere contemplation of such scenarios makes you shudder, then chances are good that you will come to your senses and get your act together.

The first thing you must do is to take off the blinders that offer you short-term vision and to start focusing on what’s in it for you in the long run. Your quest for gratification through forbidden means is hazardous to your long-term well-being and will certainly not solve your marital woes.

Ask yourself how you will go about explaining the stain on your neshamah in the Heavenly Court and defending your foolhardy risk of jeopardizing the outcome of your soul’s ultimate spiritual journey.

As for your potbellied husband, if he declines to get off his rump despite an earnest plea on your part, taking the matter up with a competent therapist will help you decipher the root of your ills and provide you with the realistic options available to you. Resorting to immorality as revenge or self-appeasement is not a viable alternative.

I wish you a speedy refuah shelaimah for all your ills.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 4/07/06

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

*********

Dear Rachel,

I am writing about an extremely painful subject that I’ve never seen before in your chronicles and hope this is the right place to turn to. Truthfully, I’ve never even heard of the concept until recently – but have been made aware that it does exist in our frum community.

A good friend of mine has confided in me that for the past number of years, she has self-injured herself on her arms and legs. There was a point where she did it quite often. Thankfully, now it’s much more under control. From the way she describes it, it stems from a low self-esteem combined with a pain that she feels the need to get out. It’s hard for her to pinpoint exactly what spurs it on. Usually the SI only results in scratches, but there was one incident where her leg did start to bleed.

If you would meet her on the street, you would never know that she has this problem. She tries very hard to keep it on the back burner, not to think about it and to go about her daily life in a normal and healthy way. I think she is often successful at that. But when she does feel the need to self-inflict, it’s scary – to her and to me. She has tried seeing a therapist but did not feel it got her anywhere and, in fact, just made things worse.

In addition, she is young and single and has little money to spend on therapy. Asking her parents is not an option as they aren’t even aware of the problem. In general, she feels very alone in her situation, and that very few (if any) can truly understand her enough to help her. Even I can’t fully comprehend her need to self-injure, though I know it is real.

Rachel, I implore you – my friend is wonderful person who shouldn’t go through this alone. In her words, even therapists are scared off by her condition. Have you ever encountered others in a similar situation? Is there hope and help for someone like her – someone she can speak to that can understand and help her figure out how to rid herself of this horrible situation? Is this something that is curable? I eagerly await your response.

Thank you

A Concerned Friend

Dear Concerned,

Your friend is suffering from a personality disorder. SIV (self-inflicted violence) is her way of distracting herself, preventing her from dealing with bottled-up emotional pain. Somewhere along the line, she has most likely suffered some form of abuse that she has not at all or sufficiently dealt with and cannot let go of. She has yet to learn how to cope with her challenge in a healthy way.

Although your friend could gain tremendous benefit from counseling, the wrong kind can end up doing her more harm. Obviously she has opened up to you and let you in on her lonely struggle. As her confidante, you are in a position to impress upon her that she is one of Hashem’s beautiful creations, and causing herself harm demonstrates a disregard for His handiwork, as well as a lack of respect and hakoras hatov for her Creator. Fortunately, this phenomenon is not generally life-threatening and does not call for extreme measures to be taken in order to save the person from serious harm.

To gain a more helpful perspective on the subject, you may try visiting the site www.selfinjury.org. In answer to your question – yes, it is curable. And the fact that “it’s now much more under control” is encouraging news. The important thing to remember is not to push the panic button, and to refrain from criticizing or threatening the sufferer – who feels isolated enough as it is.

Continue to give your friend an understanding ear and be there for her – in a non-judgmental way. In time, and with the right kind of help and a friend like you, she will overcome.

With the advent of Pesach, we usher in a new spring season – a time of hope, rebirth, and reaffirmation of our faith in our One and Only. As we commemorate our freedom from oppression and hardship, we recognize that suffering has made us a stronger and more resilient lot. With emunah and prayer, hand in hand, we each have the power to overcome adversity and to rise to a loftier level of existence.

May this be the year that Hashem hearkens to our heartfelt plea of l’Shana Habaah b’Yerushalayim. A happy and kosher Passover to all of Klal Yisrael!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-6/2006/04/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: