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Posts Tagged ‘SSA’

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 7/21/06

Wednesday, July 19th, 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.

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Dear Rachel,

This letter is written to any bochur or yungerman (unmarried or married young man) who experiences Same Sex Attraction (SSA), as well as to parents, roshei yeshiva, rebbeim and friends of such persons.

I hope and pray to the Ribbono Shel Olam that Jews and others who experience SSA will be spared the suffering that I have endured.

By way of background: I am now well into adult life and a father of several children. Before I switched to a major yeshiva in Brooklyn, I attended a yeshiva that is headed by talmidim of Rabbi Aharon Kotler, zt’l. By the time I left yeshiva, I had been married for a year, and my wife and I were already parents.

My yeshiva experience was a source of great happiness for me, contrary to my home life. My mother was an overbearing presence in my life. As one of several children, it is I who became my mother’s right hand man (maid?), and only in my late teens did I actually began to build a close relationship with my father. He died shortly thereafter. I did not cease mourning for him until April 2006

I’ve always been sensitive-natured (as to the needs and feeling of others); I was never athletic, which caused me to be excluded, and even ridiculed, by my peer group. The element of an over engaged mother, an emotionally absent father, a sensitive personality and peer rejection, are ingredients that are the seeds of homosexual behavior in some boys and men.

In my single years I was certain that after I married, the attraction that I had for men would go away. As is the case with many SSA men, the attraction did not diminish but only grew stronger. No one in the therapy world at the time could explain that my body and brain were signaling my need for legitimate male companionship and friendship. After four years of marriage, I gave up the fight with my yetzer hora and started seeking men.

While I never crossed the line into the behavior categorically forbidden by the Torah, the personal loss of kedushas haguf (personal sanctity) is beyond retelling. I was helpless to stop myself. One of the therapists I saw over the years encouraged me to simply accept who “I was” and “live with it.”

Just when my despair was at its lowest, some web-related research led me to Kedusha.com – and finally to JONAH, whose activities and guidance have given me back my life. Through suggested therapy and books, I came to the realization that my homosexual desires were not ends in themselves but symptoms of a man who had lost his masculinity – and in my case, longed for his father. The more I recognized and acknowledged what the symptoms were telling me, the more the behavior decreased.

The pivotal moment came at a Journey into Manhood (JIM) weekend that I attended in early April 2006. The event is sponsored by an organization called People Can Change (PCC), www.peoplecanchange.com. Though it is a non-religious organization, there was over a minyan of Jews at the event, most of them Sabbath observant.

Coming face to face with the fears that drove my earlier behavior empowered my transformation from frightened boy to courageous man. My low self-esteem that had permitted the undesired behaviors in the first place was gradually swept away. I formed lifetime, healthy friendships with men who are also seeking a path to complete recovery.

I was finally able to come to grips with the loss of the father I knew and to realize that, despite his absence, he loved me very much and was proud of the young man I had become before his death.

I learned that touching another man could be done in a way that is healthy, holy and noble. The Torah speaks openly of such touching, as with Dovid and Yehonasan (related in the Book of Samuel). Their friendship is described in Ethics of the Fathers as a pure love, untainted by desire for reward.

The so-called “gay-lobby” and “gay rights” people would have us believe that homosexuality is normal and that there actually is such an entity as a homosexual. One of my rebbeim taught that the source for all language is in the Torah, where no such word exists – even as the behavior is condemned. In the English language the word did not exist until the mid-19th century. The fact is there is no such entity or identity as a “gay?” person. The behaviors are a matter of choice, though sometimes driven by intense desire.

Even in the frum world some believe that there is a genetic basis to the condition. In reality, there is no evidence to that effect. When the American Psychological Association (APA) removed homosexuality from the list of conditions considered worthy of treatment, they did so because of political pressure, not based on research. There are millions of people who have an attraction to members of their own sex, but there is no valid research that shows that they are a biological group in any sense of the term.

The Torah’s ways are pleasant. There is no way that G-d would give a person a biology that is diametrically opposed to the mitzvot G-d bids us to fulfill.

Anyone faced with this condition should not assume that he must live with homosexual longings indefinitely. Marriage is not the cure. The repair comes from within, knowing what the cravings are messaging. Please, L’ma’an HaShem (for G-d’s sake) do not accept what the gay community wants you to believe. Their interest lies in pandering to desires that fit in with a selfish worldview and is certainly not in line with the Torah’s teaching. Possessing a Jewish neshamah requires you to guard the sanctity of your life. There is a way to do so that will liberate one from SSA and actually enable the sufferer to have insight into his innermost needs.

Grateful to have found the holiness within

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 6/16/06

Wednesday, June 14th, 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.

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Dear Rachel,

As a long-time avid reader of your column, I have been particularly intrigued by the many who had written of their conviction that SSA cannot be changed.

Years ago, I too suffered from this illness, struggling for a long time to understand its cause. I tried a number of therapists to no avail, and my cure finally came from years of self-searching. However, in addition to SSA, I also suffered with Pedophilia. I have discovered that its root is essentially the same as that of SSA. Whereas in SSA one feels less of a man than his peers, with Pedophilia an adult man feels himself to be less of a male than a 10-year old boy. The proof of the validity of this concept: Once I figured it out and worked on the underlying issues, the problem entirely disappeared.

A number of years ago, I read an article written by a well-known frum professional who claimed that there is no cure for this illness and the best we can hope for is to teach these people how to control their impulses. With all due respect to a professional of his caliber, this is completely untrue. How sad for those suffering with this problem to hear this! Such an attitude comes from the secular society and is totally not in line with Torah hashkofas – and by writing and telling people that there is no cure for this illness we exacerbate their problem? How fortunate for me that when I suffered from this malady years ago, I did not read or hear that it was considered incurable. I shudder to think what I would have done at the time had I come across such an article.

Unfortunately, the more repulsive a particular illness is to society, the more likely it is to be considered “incurable.” It is so much easier to tolerate the afflicted individuals this way. Consider this: If a pedophile would be deemed curable and would seek the appropriate treatment and be cured, we would have to accept him as part of society. We are, however, so disgusted with what he has done to our children, so horrified and so utterly enraged, that we cannot tolerate the thought of ever having this person be a part of our community. While it is certainly appropriate to be angry and repulsed by this individual – very much so – don’t we, as frum Jews, believe in teshuva, in change?

Yet certain problems are so repulsive that it is extremely difficult for us to consider the likelihood of change. We rather want nothing to do with the person and, therefore, label his problem as ‘incurable’ – thus sparing ourselves from ever having to associate with him. This attitude is unfair to the suffering individual. How many less pedophiles we would have if only their illness would be perceived as being curable!

I offer two proofs that this illness is indeed very much curable.

A) Scenario: An individual suffers with this illness and is told that it is incurable. He attends a program to learn how to control his impulses, and despite the fact that this person never again acts upon his impulses, the mere fact that he has them makes it impossible for him to feel that he is a normal part of society – let alone frum society. Now, when a person walks around feeling abnormal and different, how can he possibly succeed in life? Well, we all know that Hashem does not present a person with a nisayon that s/he cannot overcome. If this illness is incurable, how can Hashem expect this individual to achieve success? Hence, we are forced to conclude that this problem can be cured.

How so? With three steps:

1) Completely accept the fact that, if you work hard enough, you have the ability to entirely overcome this illness and be fully cured.

2) Understand the root cause of this illness, as described above.

3) Work with a skilled technician to overcome the root problem.

By sincerely following these steps, one can most definitely look forward to getting to the point of no longer feeling these impulses and being completely cured. He can even look forward to a time when he will fail to fathom how it was that he could ever have felt such impulses.

B) The author of this presentation is a frum 45 year-old happily married man, with children – overall successful in life.

From the age of 13-21, this writer suffered from this supposedly incurable illness.

After much intense soul-searching, I arrived at the understanding described above and have not had a pedophilic impulse for 24 years. In fact, I can hardly recall ever having had this problem. Does this not qualify as cured?

It is my sincere hope that this letter serves to dispel the widespread notion that this is an incurable disease – and to encourage those suffering with this illness to seek help*, with the assurance that they can be fully cured and begin to lead a normal life. Yes, you really can put this all behind you.

* An organization that dedicates itself to helping people with this type of problem has helped me realize my true potential as a human being – and for that I owe a debt of gratitude to JONAH.

An anonymous individual who wishes to convey to you that as long as you are alive, no matter what you have done – and I mean no matter what – you can change and put it all behind you.

Dear Anonymous,

Congratulations – albeit belated – are in order! You have triumphed in your quest to seek the truth and to discover your true self – the one intended especially for you by your Creator. Your valiant conquest of the “enemy within” is nothing short of stupendous. You’ve set a shining example and course for others to follow. May good mazal shine upon you and yours forever!

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 12/23/05

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

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,

First, thanks for allowing your column to be a forum for SSA. You have done a great service to the frum men and women who are struggling with this issue.

In your reply to the divorcee in your recent column (Chronicles 11-25), I believe you stated that our educational institutions are not to be faulted for (at least some of) the problems we have, and that SSA is relatively rare.

It isn’t. And it is becoming an increasingly rampant problem. It was a problem when I was a bochur 35 years ago, and it is much worse now. Our Roshei Yeshiva need to be enlightened on how to deal with this issue appropriately and how to help young men and women deal with its devastation.

Second, the Jewish (read: frum) educational world is as slow as molasses in dealing with the issues facing our youth. I have been involved in special ed for years and feel the author of the letter makes a valid point – under the umbrella of Torah education we need to teach our children about budgeting, about relating to the opposite sex (and that’s more than just a “chossen’s schmooze”), and about raising children. Sure, a bulk of this education should come from home. But our Roshei Yeshiva often supplant the parents, and our kids end up leaving yeshiva with almost no appreciation of the struggles that are involved in raising a family.

To buttress my point, permit me to share with you that several of my boys (I have eleven, b’li ayin horah) are married. Two of the more “yeshivishe” ones had a “chossen’s schmooze” the week before they got married. One of them mentioned that the “schmoozer” generally charges a fee. I was floored.

“Shuey,” I asked my son, “what does this man know that I don’t? Why should I pay for something I can do myself? What am I . . . chopped liver? Did HE change your diapers, take you to school, help you with your homework, play ball with you and come to your school plays?”

“Well, Ta, it’s just not done that way!”

Why not? Because the yeshiva system usurps the parents. I’m okay with that, because the Torah teaches us that teaching your chaver’s son Torah is as if you have borne him. But if that’s the case, then go the whole nine yards. Teach my son the value of money. Teach my son that women are human beings and are to be treasured, cared for and loved. Teach my son how to act as a father. Teach my son that marriage is hard work and not a perpetual sheva brachos.

Sorry for being so long winded. But our Yeshivos and Batei Yaakov DO have a responsibility in these areas. When the mussar movement was introduced, it was a revolution…. after all, why couldn’t we just get mussar from a blatt Gemara? It simply doesn’t work that way. The same applies to learning how to relate to spouses and to be a responsible parent. Education is the key, and yeshivos have fallen flat.

Keep up your good work of educating the public.

Even educators need to be educated

Dear Educator,

How can I argue with one who’s out there and is a witness to the goings on, both as an educator and a dad? It’s just that I’d been under the impression that a parent who brings a child into the world takes upon him/herself the responsibility of sustaining that child and ensuring its survival in this world. Does such (awesome) function not encapsulate the teachings of the basics of human behavior?

Granted, the task of parenting has become most challenging in our day. Besides being exposed to decadence in all areas on all sides, we seem to be caught up in a whirlpool of activity, constantly on the run to accomplish and acquire … exactly what may need to be explored (but that’s another topic for another day). So where does all this leave our children? In schools and yeshivos, where we trust that they are continuing to learn from where we left off with them the night before. And you have elucidated the shortcomings of our educators’ role in our children’s lives – which clearly illustrates one thing for certain: We all are culpable.

Hopefully, educators AND parents are taking stock … and reappraising their priorities. The first lesson in all of this is to look within. We are all accountable, and this does not mean shifting the weight of responsibility to others. Parents relying on educators and teachers depending on parents can be likened to one person doing the praying for another. There is some merit therein, but not nearly enough. Each of us must do our own “praying” in order for every yiddishe neshama to reap maximum potential. Every one of our child’s future is at stake.

Despite your show of modesty, I am willing to bet that your sons have gleaned from you more than the “schmoozers” could ever instill. Thank you for your part in lighting the way.

Each wick lit, every tiny flame awakened, multiplied by eight, times billions all over the globe, creates a brilliance radiating from our midst – “a light unto the nations.” Hatzlacha and the brightest of Chanukahs to you and all!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-22/2005/12/21/

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