Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I don’t know if you can remember me, as our history together began during your early years writing the Agunah Chronicles for The Jewish Press. I attended your weekly chizuk group when it started in Boro Park, then shifted to Flatbush and it was your talks and the uplifting sensation that I left with each time that got me through the week. So here I am these many years later after reading your column religiously every week and waiting for your return when your column did not appear, to let your readers know how the Agunah Chronicles/Life Chronicles saved my sanity and my life. Almost every week your column is filled with so much grief and heartache, tzaras and illness, loneliness and loss, I just felt, at this time, to write to your readers about the hope and the help I gleaned from your personal and warm advice. This starts out being such a letter but, thanks to HaKadosh Baruch Hu and the wonderful shlichim He sends us in our darkest hour, of which you are one, I wish to say “Thank You” to you in this special way.


I was married later than was proper for girls in my day and settled for a man who, of course, came highly lauded as a Ben Torah, an ohaiv Yisrael, a ba’al tzedakah v’chesed, and in the words of the shadchan, “a catch,” “a prize’ and nothing short of a prince without a hoarse or a kingdom” who had found in me all the things he sought in life. The fact that he was married for a short time once before should mean absolutely nothing and I would be a fool to let him get away since I was not exactly a princess. It was those last three words that made me accept the shidduch and sign away my life as I knew it for a life of abuse, servitude and constant misery.

We had six children, one stillborn and the rest, all boys, in a short span of time, making my life unbearable, what with trying to meet his needs and take care of his elderly mother as well. One late afternoon, I found myself grasping a bottle of pills and, I don’t know why or how I had the wherewithal, I reached for the phone and dialed your number. Through a torrent of tears I managed to say I couldn’t go on anymore and you were the soothing voice I so needed to hear. You told me to take a deep breath and put away the pill bottle, that you knew exactly what I needed and it didn’t come from a bottle. You told me there was to be a meeting for agunos that same night and that I must come. Still weeping, I told you that if you come and you hear screaming children and no one answers the door, know that I was no longer in this life. There was a long, heavy pause… and then you said, “Who gives you the right to end your life? Your job is to live the best life you can and, not you or anyone else has the right to take that from you. You are coming to the meeting tonight and you will come away from it with a whole new perspective.” As if that wasn’t enough, you sent two babysitters to sit with my children and you came to pick me up. And that is when my life began to change.

There were anywhere between 10 and 40 ladies at those meetings and everyone had a story, some even worse than my own, if that was possible. But there was laughter and love for everyone and you supplied the amazing will we all had lost and the faith that Hashem has not abandoned us and never will abandon us. You gave us a taste of what life could be if we only placed our faith in the right place, with Hashem Yisborach. But also, that there was much that we could and should do for ourselves. Those of the women who were already in the get/divorce parsha, you accompanied them to bais din and to court whenever you were asked. And you held our hands tight when rabbonim and crooked judges ruled against us, still telling us that great things are yet to come. I, for one, believed you… even when my husband was given full custody of my boys and the house I had to vacate after my get.

I moved away and kept in touch with you just to hear your voice and to feed off your strength and believed you when you said that my children would find there way back to me when they were old enough. You encouraged me to keep busy and seek out my own happiness. And so, year after year passed, but I had found peace in a community of warm, loving and accepting people. I even found a gentleman who was kind and caring and made me feel like I was a queen and we got married.

During this time too, two of my sons sought me out. They had gotten married to two wonderful, sweet girls who were influential in their doing so and I met two grandchildren and one on the way. From that meeting my three younger sons also contacted me and came to visit. To say that I was ecstatic and euphoric would be an understatement. And just last week, when we had a family gathering that included my two married couples, their children, my younger three boys, one with his kallah and my husband’s children whom I have grown to love and they me, all together, laughing and hugging like one massive human unit, my heart was full and that is when I heard you whispering in my ear all those many years ago.

Thank you for not hanging up on me that fateful night and force-feeding me so much hope and faith and the will to live. To live and see this day. To live and feel blessed beyond blessed. May you have the strength, health and energy to continue guiding lost and broken people back to the light. I am forever grateful to Hashem for sending you into my life.


Dearest Friend,

You succeeded in making me cry. I didn’t think I had any tears left, but you found a fresh source. We’re going back more than forty years, you and I, and the realization of all the wars fought, all the bloodshed and all the hopes and will to live gone, there are horrible stories with beautiful endings. It has been a long road, that one. Sadly, there are still many chapters waiting to be written in that book by agunos and women in despair, there are still many wars left to fight and your letter has just made many broken and abused women (and men) take a step back, inhale a deep breath and stiffen their will and there backs in order to carry on and forge ahead towards a good and meaningful life where happiness and love is waiting. It is not easy, far from it. It is not always successful when we have no more juice left to push on, but your letter has done great things today, I’m sure. You have managed to highlight what emunah and bitachon in Hashem can bring forth. It is never too late to right the wrongs, to fix the cracks and to strive for the love, respect and devotion that every person in every marriage is entitled to. May all good deeds merit the coming of Mashiach Bimhayra Beyamainu. Amen!


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