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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Dear Hopeful’

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 9/24/10

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Dear Readers,

In last week’s column, a reader signed “Hope you understand me ” laments the lack of ahavas Yisrael and expresses disgruntlement with the yeshiva system that indiscriminately rejects children who don’t measure up to its standard of the “acceptable” student.

Due to this column’s space limitation and Yom Tov deadlines, our response was relatively brief, considering the magnitude of the problem the letter addresses. Many readers no doubt identify with the author of the letter, and we welcome feedback from those who have experienced similar dilemmas.

On a positive note: Back in May, this column featured a letter from “Money talks” – written by a distraught woman whose husband had lost his livelihood and was subsequently subjected to scathing criticism and humiliation by their son’s Rosh Yeshiva over an objectionable incident involving one of the yeshiva’s benefactors.

This column is gratified to update readers regarding that particular situation. The well-known educator who had caused this family so much emotional anguish initiated a sit-down with the man whom he had derided.

At the end of a civilized heart-to-heart, the Rosh Yeshiva humbled himself by declaring, “I may have the beard, wear the hat and carry the title, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes.” He then expressed his regrets and sincerely apologized. Kol Hakavod!

At this propitious time of year, we take a cue from this individual and ask the reader’s pardon for any slights that may have made it into this column via letters and especially our responses.

Yes, we are aware that as you read this, the days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have passed us by, and we are in the process of readying ourselves for the beautiful and uplifting holiday of Sukkos. But on Hoshana Rabba, the seventh day of Sukkos, we are afforded another chance to clear the air and to ask for pardon for our wrongdoings – whether deliberate or inadvertent.

Some readers have bashed us for being too harsh; others have admonished us for not being harsh enough. Either way, please forgive us for when the column may not have met your expectations.

To those who occasionally write asking us to take a hard line when it comes to halachic guidelines, we reiterate that we leave that up to the rabbinic authorities. The role of this column is to lend an ear and shoulder and to guide the lost or broken soul along a healing path, to act as a forum for healthy debate and to bring to the fore delicate issues that need to be dealt with rather than ignored.

Our message would be incomplete if we failed to convey our gratitude to the readers who patiently take the time to communicate their thoughts and opinions to this column; whether we see eye-to-eye is irrelevant – we welcome your views, divergent or not. They foster healthy debate and serve to educate those we do not hear from but who pay close attention all the same.

We look forward to a better year and fervently pray that Hashem grant us all good health, good children, good sense and peace in our lifetime. May real achdus and ahavas Yisrael reign supreme in our midst and bring the reign of Moshiach in our day!

Dear Rachel,

I wonder if you might have any suggestions for me. I am a middle-aged single, never-married well-educated, professional, observant woman on my own. Unfortunately, this past year I had aggressive lymphoma, a cancer that is highly curable and seems to now be in remission. I shall still be continuing with chemotherapy treatments for a little while, but am much better and have a superb prognosis. I am completely self-sufficient, walk every day, am completely independent and take care of myself. No one would ever suspect that I had cancer recently.

In the past I had lived alone and worked for many years at prestigious organizations. However, at this time I would really like to live with a family for 6-8 months. This whole year I had been staying with wonderful friends and their family, but at this time they unfortunately no longer have room as their oldest daughter has come home.

I would much prefer to rent a room with a kind, warm family, ideally with children – rather than board with another single lady. Brooklyn, if possible, would be my choice location. I would describe myself as very responsible, quiet, mature, neat, pleasant and easy to get along with.

My hope is to get back to work in six months or so, but in the meantime I am certainly able to pay a moderate rent on time every month. It would really cheer me up to be with a family and to not be alone at this time.

I speak English and Ivrit, am out of the house most days and am often away for Shabbos, although I would like to be able to spend the occasional Shabbos with the family.

You are welcome to publish this letter. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please do let me know.

Many thanks!

Hopeful about things to come

Dear Hopeful,

Hopefully, with the help of Hashem, someone reading this will be moved to make you an offer that will sweeten your life and give you the physical and emotional boost that will accelerate your healing.

Wishing you a speedy and complete refuah shelaima. May we all merit to be sealed in the book of life!

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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.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 2/23/07

Wednesday, February 21st, 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,

In recent years, the Orthodox community has come to acknowledge many G-d-given challenges, such as bi-polar disorder, autism, depression and Down’s syndrome – to name just a few. Families struggling with these issues have been offered countless resources, tools, the newest medical findings and, most of all, much needed support.

I have, Baruch Hashem, several children who have met all the expected milestones in life and continue to bring me tremendous pride and happiness. However, approximately three years ago, one of my children − who at the time was attending a very reputable high school and doing well − began to gradually and mysteriously change.

The first signs were his decline in verbal communication; not building close friendships; classes becoming a greater struggle than before, and his feeling of not fitting in. At the time I believed that it could have been depression, or that the school was academically too competitive. I communicated with his teachers, trying to get my son to express himself more – all to no avail. We were clueless.

It has now been three long tumultuous years, watching my son go through changes I haven’t understood. With time, counseling and testing, we’ve arrived at a general label: Borderline Psychosis – a still unclear and difficult challenge to face. The simplest way to describe the symptoms would be 1) disordered thinking, 2) poor judgment, 3) difficulty understanding nuances in language and social cues. Now on medication, my son maintains the upkeep of a very busy schedule. In fact, the more structure he has, the better he copes.

Despite the symptoms, he is still a very good-natured aidel neshamah trying to be successful in life. He wants what any other “normal” 19-year-old wants: to be married, have a good job, have children and enjoy life.

But what are his options, if any, for a successful future in the frum community? This is the most painful thing about his life – the loneliness and fear of never belonging.

Am I the only parent in the frum world dealing with this? I doubt it. Still, this is one of those G-d-given challenges that are yet to be acknowledged openly. Even though I am now more educated about the nature of this illness, I have not found any resources or support in our community.

I am making an urgent plea to anyone going through such a difficult nisayon – and to professionals who want to offer their time to contact me confidentially in order to form 1) a support group for parents and/or siblings, 2) to form a socialization group (to teach social cues would be ideal), 3) to form a structured and safe framework for job training or education (essential). Out in the world alone, these afflicted souls tend to be bullied or victimized by others.

Please write to chliba@hotmail.com.

I thank you in advance for being a shaliach to get much needed help for myself and others who are struggling with this issue.

Very hopefully yours

Dear Hopeful,

Where would any of us be without hope and faith?

You sound like a most remarkable woman and a super Mom. Your son is fortunate to be enveloped with such warmth and caring. His “aidel neshamah” is a reflection of his roots, and under your loving and nurturing guidance he will no doubt reach his G-d-given potential.

Hopefully your message will be picked up by readers who are facing similar challenges and by those who are in a position to offer you the assistance you seek.

Thank you for sharing – your real life personal story should give us all pause for thought, to reflect upon the things we take for granted, and to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of each and every neshamah whose care we are entrusted with.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-49/2007/02/21/

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