Thursday, August 30, 2018

No more shame: Abuse and infidelity in the Jewish home

Shifra" married the man who spoke so beautifully about building relationships through Torah. But the charismatic chessed-activist turned out to be an abuser -- and unfaithful.
A web of lies and secrets was carefully woven within her own home, where her children were being told that Shifra was crazy, and "Don't tell Mommy" was the mantra.
It was the wise advice of an elderly rabbi and his wife that set Shifra and her family free. "Lashon Harah (avoiding speaking negatively of others) was never meant to protect the guilty," he instructed her.
Despite the fear of the reaction of the community, despite the humiliation Shifra brought upon herself, and despite the mountains she needed to climb, she was finally free to share the secrets, free to seek a divorce, and free to believe in herself.
It took six years for Shifra to acquire a Get (Jewish writ of divorce), and many more years to heal herself and her family. She not only survived, but thrived, as did her children, as they rebuilt their lives together and individually.
Shifra tells her painful story, gives tips on how to recognize an abuser early on, and asks the readers for feedback on her pending book on the subject.


  1. This book has an anonymous author.
    Her supposed subjects will be anonymous.
    Her supposed rabbi is anonymous.

    We do know that this author had to 'wait' six years for a get - which is clearly abusive. A woman deserves a get on demand, regardless of circumstances and halacha.


    "Don't tell Mommy" is definitely a bad sign, if used often. Don't tell Mommy about a surprise birthday party, or even about the extra danish he's eating is pretty 'normal'.

    Real data presented from a verifiable source on a subject is certainly helpful and healthy. That's even if the presenter/author is anonymous, as the source is not anonymous and is verifiable.

    Anecdotal ideas are also often healthy and meaningful - if they come from a reliable source. However, Anecdotal 'evidence' from an anonymous person is simply unreliable and not conversation worthy. Well, not in a meaningful conversation. The book will still be as entertaining as novel.

  2. "A woman deserves a get on demand, regardless of circumstances and halacha."


    What women don't realize who actually hold like that, though, is what they lose.

    Why should a man invest time, energy and money to love his wife, when he knows that she expects him to release her any time she demands? Feelings are not water to be shut off by a mere turn of the spigot.

    So, ultimately, the smart man will harbor a cool wall of ice around his heart to protect himself in time of duress.

    That certainly cannot contribute to Shalom Bayis.


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