Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fainy Sukenik - A formerly abused ultra-Orthodox woman has started a support network to women seeking divorce

“Every culture has its own fairy tales,” she says. “Haredim have their own, too.”[...]

“Our fairy tales promised me a life that would be simple, beautiful,” she continues, flicking the bangs of her well-coiffed wig away from her face. “One marries young, the wife works while the husband learns Torah, children are born right away, and together they build a ‘Torah home’ with not a single want or flaw.” She pauses.

“So I trusted them. I married at 22, had three children right away, but things were not working out for us ... I heard there were other women whose husbands beat them, but who stayed anyway. But I decided I’m not going to be that woman ... I picked up the phone and called the police. That was the beginning of the end.”

Sukenik was then working at a religious seminary for women in Haifa, a fresh-eyed teacher and mentor for young women, many of whom were engaged to marry. With the news of her separation from her husband spreading, voices began to murmur: How could a woman who calls the police on her husband teach the young girls, serve as an example for the next generation of wives and mothers? How can we let her stay here?

“They wanted to fire me,” Sukenik tells me. “They forgot that Sarah Schenirer, the founder of Bais Yaakov [a network of schools for young religious women, founded a century ago], was divorced, too. Later, when I had more courage, I said to one of the teachers that Sarah Schenirer would be rolling in her grave if she heard them. You’re telling me that a divorced woman cannot teach in Bais Yaakov? How does that make sense?”

Letters were sent to the principal by parents concerned about her questionable influence on their daughters, but Sukenik was able to keep her job. “I told them, ‘I am exactly the kind of woman you need as an example for the girls.’ And I stayed. I would cry all night, but wake up in the morning, force myself to smile, to dress well.”

The change began in the quiet of solitary evenings at home, during the two years of separation and another year of the divorce process. With three small children asleep, Sukenik would spend hours reading divorce advice and online forums, looking for people going through similar experiences. She soon became active on the Facebook page “Haredim Naim L’hakir” (Ultra-Orthodox, Pleased to Meet You) and started blogging for the women’s online magazine Saloona under the name “Separated Haredia.”

“One should never have to deal with this alone, and in our community, no one speaks of divorce,” Sukenik explains. “No one knows how to deal with it. Tragedy, yes, death, yes, but not this. No one speaks with you about important things, no one asks if you need help, people don’t want to even get close to you, as if it’s a contagious disease. You become a pariah, people stop acknowledging you, they stop saying hello in the street. No one asked me, ‘Where are you on Shabbat?’ Now, I understand them, I forgive them. People are afraid.”[...]

Several times she repeats the same familiar mantra: “I was naive, naive, I was so naive.” Sukenik smiles sadly. “I was a young girl, and I truly believed in a perfect Torah world: Torah, justice, straightforwardness, judges! I didn’t realize what I was dealing with ... until all this evil came upon me. I began to understand the real corrupt workings of the beit din [religious court], and all I could think was: Where is the religion? It was a crisis for me: I believe in God, I believe in Torah, but when one sees people acting in an opposite manner, one loses faith.”

The waitress brings out coffee and tiramisu, and places it timidly on our table; Sukenik continues, impassioned: “And I couldn’t speak to anyone, to friends, to my parents – what would I tell them about? About the judges, the courthouse, the rabbis, the humiliations I’m enduring? Why make them suffer more? ” Her voice grows suddenly soft: “What would I tell them: ‘Abba, Ima, this world is corrupt’?”[...]

Based on polls and meetings with other divorcees, Sukenik began to build a network that would offer everything a religious woman needs when going through a divorce: assistance from lawyers, psychologists, family counselors, rabbinic advisors and lobbyists, social workers, as well as a growing, supportive community of other Orthodox divorcees and recently separated women. [...]

With the assistance of the Orthodox-oriented B'Asher Telchi organization, supported by some leading figures in that community and run by religious women, Sukenik hopes a woman will worry less about the stigma that comes with seeking help. She has been working tirelessly to secure rabbinic support for her project. [...]

הכנס שיעצים את הגרושות החרדיות, והגרושות שבדרך

פייני סוקניק ובאשר תלכי יקיימו כנס לגרושות חרדיות ובו יעניקו להם כלים מעצימים ויקיימו סדרת סדנאות והרצאות - כל הפרטים וגם הסבר קצר של סוקניק בעצמה

"הכנס יתחיל בברכות - דיין שיבוא לברך את הנשים - מבחינתי מדובר על אקט חשוב מאד.. סוג של 'אמירה' של בית הדין. יש דבר כזה. והוא מעוגן לחלוטין מכל הבחינות. הרצאה של דבורי וקשטוק - איך הופכים חושך לאור? ואחר כך הנשים תשתתפנה בסדנאות - כל אישה יכולה לבחור שתי סדנאות: אימון אישי לקראת פרק ב', אימון אישי לגלות כוחות נפש, גישור- כללי, תקשורת עם ילדים ומתבגרים, סדנת הגנה עצמית, סדנה של ניהול כלכלי נכון בזמן הגירושין ואחריו, ניהול עסקי - בניית עסק קטן וסדנה לבישול בריא ואורח חיים נכון.

:לאחר מכן - ארוחת צהריים מפנקת, ואז מופע סטאנד אפ של עידית לכטנפלד. לבסוף, הן יוצאות עם מתנה כשהן יודעות להביע את תחושותיהן, להבין את עצמן ולהוציא החוצה, להבין שהיא מתמודדת עם אתגר, ותעביר את המסר לסביבתה - ילדיה ומשפחתה".

פייני - "בכנס ישתתפו עורכות דין וטוענות רבניות, פסיכולוגיות יועצות, עוסיות ומטפלות, שגם הן צריכות לדעת אי להתייחס נכון , וגם הן שותפות מבחינתי לשינוי של מבט קהילתי וחברתי אחר".

"זהו יום עיון מקצועי. לא רחמנות, אומללות והסתתרות. אלא התמודדות וחוזק עם תקווה גדולה. לפרק ב'", אומרת סוקניק, "המגמה היא להוציא שכל אישה תצא מהכנס הזה מחוזקת ומועצמת, תרחש כבוד לעצמה, וכך באופן טבעי גם תקרין לסביבתה. כל אישה שהייתה בכנס תהיה נציגה ושגרירה של המהפך – מצקצוק בלשון, רחמים ופחד, להתמודדות ואתגר, עם לימוד איך מאחדים את המשפחה ה"שבורה", ואיך יש, יש תקנה ובעיקר תקווה".

האירוע יתקיים בנר חמישי של חנוכה, יום חמישי כ"ט בכסליו (29.12.) ב"יד לאישה" – רחוב לייב יפה 51, שכונת ארנונה תלפיות ירושלים.

טלפונים לרישום:

המחיר הוא מאה שקלים. נשים שמתקשות לשלם מתבקשות לציין את זה בטלפון(הבטחה של פייני - אף אחת לא תישאר בחוץ בגלל חוסר יכולת כספית!)

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