Monday, October 22, 2012

Sad, Sad World

This may be old news for those of you more on top of current events, but I just found out about the suicide of 15-year-old Amanda Todd in Vancouver, Canada. She killed herself after suffering sexual abuse at the hands of an anonymous internet user and then being bullied, harassed, and generally mistreated by her peers.  The tragedy of the story is too big to be contained.

Amanda posted a video on YouTube shortly before she died.  You can see it here.  (Some may want to avoid viewing this - while it is not explicit, it is not so tzniusdik either.)  It is terribly sad, but perhaps it is a good reminder to all of us that we have a lot of work to do in this world - and if you think this kind of thing doesn't happen in the frum world, think again. It is also a good reminder to parents that children and teens need guidance and monitoring around their internet use, and especially around use of social media.

I am working on creating a program for middle schools so that we can avoid exactly this kind of tragedy in the future.  It is just too, too sad.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Post-presentation report

Yesterday’s presentation at ORA went swimmingly.  We all gained some valuable information, myself included.

While I was preparing for yesterday’s presentation to ORA earlier this week, I came across this very interesting article about gett refusal in Israel. It’s in Hebrew, and though you can use Google to translate it, I will share with you what I found to be the most interesting points:
  1. Despite claims that there are thousands of agunot in Israel, the actual number (this is from a 2006 report) is 180.
  2. Even more interesting is that the number of agunim in Israel is 190
I brought this up at the presentation and it was suggested to me that the situation in Israel is different because the entire divorce process is bound up with the gett, such that if a woman doesn’t like the terms of the divorce that have been presented and doesn’t want to accept them, the husband is considered “chained.” I.e., it may not be a case of “gett refusal” as much as a case of willingness to divorce but wanting better terms.  ORA told me that out of the hundreds of cases they have dealt with, only a handful have been men.  Similarly, another organization that works with agunot also told me that in 30 years of working with gett issues, they have only been contacted once by a man whose wife refused to accept the gett.
Unrelatedly, another interesting point that came up during the discussion yesterday was the infamous Rambam apparently condoning wife-beating.  I referred to questioner to this essay, which I think is a brilliant elucidation of that puzzling statement.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I am presenting in Manhattan tomorrow for ORA, the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot, on domestic violence in the Jewish community.  Obviously the problem of husbands refusing to gives their wives a divorce is intertwined with this issue.  Should be an interesting discussion!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Therapy Needs Some Therapy

An article of mine was published this week on the OU Life website (unrelated to the fact that I coincidentally posted another article on that site a few days ago). Check it out here.  (Note: they chose the title and the accompanying photo, not me!)