Dear Mrs. Bluth,
I am a young rebbitzen of a congregation in the Midwest, not very large by New York standards, but large enough so that my husband and I are always busy with our kehilla. I hope the following story, which I feel compelled to share, does not embarrass you.
In our congregation, of late, there has been a noticeable increase in problems of shalom bayis, issues with children going off the derech and a marked up tick in cases of depression amongst the teens and young adults. There are many questions that Daas Torah doesn’t seem to answer to the congregants, which often leads to their leaving the congregation because their tests are too heavy to bear. There are also some people who are suffering with their own ailments or struggling to deal with the afflictions of their children, and here too, we are at a loss for how to help them.
In my frustration, I reached out to my mother who lives in New Jersey and is an avid reader of The Jewish Press. She has often told me it wouldn’t feel as much like Shabbos if she didn’t have the paper to read. After speaking with her about the many problems we were facing, she told me about your column. Subsequently, I shared with the women in my Shabbos shiur a column in which you featured a letter from a woman whose child was suffering from a disease similar to what one woman in the group was experiencing with her own child. Let me tell you that this woman wept to know that she was not alone and there might be a solution to her child’s problem.
The whole group of thirty women were in awe that there was indeed a place where they can pour their hearts in complete safety and anonymity, ask personal questions about halacha without being ashamed and have the added bonus of getting resources that would be of help to them.
To make a long story short, the woman with the sick child went to her pediatrician with the article in hand and the doctor, dumb-founded at first because he had never heard of the connection between her child’s condition and a childhood illness, then prescribed the special blood tests that could detect the virus that was causing this horrible malady. Once the child was placed on a regimen of specific antibiotics and medications, the symptoms began to lessen.
Since then, quite a few of our congregants have written to you with their issues and have received help and chizuk from your timely and empathetic response. Hashem has His shluchim who will help and whom He sends to us in our eis tzara with the refuah. Thank you and The Jewish Press for opening a portal of hope and help to the many who suffer in silence, wander in confusion and cry alone in the darkness. May Hashem continue to give you the koach to pursue this holy work.
Rebitzen Y. S—–feld.
Thank you so much for your kind and informative letter. It is so encouraging to receive feedback from readers who have benefited from the information and resources we have provided. It gives us hope that in sharing our own issues, we, in turn, can help others find hope, peace and comfort. Hakadosh Baruch Hu sends to us those who have the means to answer the need.
I am not embarrassed by your story; I feel honored to be able to appear in The Jewish Press, a publication that offers all things to our brothers and sisters in outlying communities across the globe. I have heard, from time to time, similar sentiments from people who read the column and seinge themselves in a letter-writer’s plight, took the advise offered and were helped by it. But a whole Kehilla has got to be a first. May we be zoche to see the coming of Moshiach in our day, so that there will no longer be a need for the column.