Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Hello, Mrs. Bluth,

I have read and generally enjoyed your column in The Jewish Press for years. However, I was concerned regarding your reply to the Rabbi in the 8/27 issue.

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This gentleman clearly has severe depression and should have been advised to seek the care of a psychiatrist ASAP. Indeed, this appeared to be a textbook case of depression. I do not feel that religious advice was appropriate. I am a physician and, if I encountered such an individual, would have made an immediate referral. You have made appropriate recommendations for such referrals to others, making this case very puzzling. I can only hope that you actually did make such a recommendation to seek psychiatric care on an emergent basis. If not, it should be done.

Regards,
One of your readers

 

Dear Friend,

Thank you for sharing your expert thoughts on this column, they are both valid and timely. It also gives me a chance to explain, collectively, to all the readers who have written in regards to current and past letters because they were upset or did not agree with my advice to a published letter.

Very often, letters come in three categories which require a great deal of my attention. They either comprise several pages, some even would be small novellas, and, in my endeavors to modify them to fit into my column allowance and still keep the integrity of their issues pristine and truthful takes hours of work. Quite often I get letters that are written in “YinGlish“, a combination of mostly Yiddish diluted with some English or other language which I may or may not be familiar with. Here too, many hours are spent interpreting and reconstructing the letter in understandable English, so that both letter-writer and reader will benefit from both problem and answer. Lastly, there is the issue of balance, meaning if the letter takes up too much space, then I must scale back the answer I give, but the answer they often get back is far more in depth and with more resources. So, you see, very often you don’t get the writer’s full letter with all the bells and whistles thrown in or if you do, my reply will be minimized for the general public but the writer will have gotten every benefit of solving his or her problem in the private reply I sent them. I hope this brings everyone some peace of mind and explains why there may appear to be some short-falling in my response.

Rest assured that the Rabbi has indeed been encouraged to seek professional help and I even sent him contacts in his city that came highly recommended. It was my call to omit this from my public reply because I did not want to make him feel anymore anxious, embarrassed and put-upon than he already was. Basically, I would never make a judgment call as to what the root cause of his problems were without his being seen by a psychologist first. But my gut instinct is that he is just strung out from the way life has turned in the last almost two years. This is a malady so many of us are suffering from as we deal with life in a dysfunctional world, I dare say, any one of us could be that Rabbi!

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