Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"For Anyone who wishes to participate"

I got this e-mail today, I'm putting it up here for anyone who would like to speak out.


My name is Jennifer and I am a freelance reporter based in New York City. Over the past few years I have become increasingly aware about the issue of sexual abuse within the ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic worlds. I would very much like to write a story about this topic that would aim to show how the authorities are failing to protect children and that would explore various solutions to this problem. In order to write this story, I need to speak with men and women who experienced the travesty of sexual abuse and have an interest in speaking out. If you wish, your anonymity would be protected in any future article but I would need to meet with you in person.

If you have an interest in speaking with me, you can reach me by e-mail or phone at:

P.S by begreatfull: I removed the email and phone number from this article, since I dont want to be responsible for her getting harrasing phone calls, but if you wish to contact her by email or phone please e-mail me at I will provide the info.

Many thanks for your help.


Friday, January 20, 2006

" A bad image with out a purpose"

This week they showed an interview on CNN anderson cooper about the rebels from satmar, I personally left satmar a couple years ago, I found it to be very badly portrayed, I think it was misleading and served no purpose, they said that in satmar they don't teach them math or science, they only learn out from there holy scriptures the Torah, that is just plain ridicules to say, when you talking about chassdim of course they will learn more Jewish studies than learning about the outside world, this are religious observant people who want there kids to grow up religious, if they are to teach them everything it will contradict there own believe, besides who is to say that the ones who only learn Torah are not educated or learned from it? to me it seemed like they are saying that chassidim are not learned or educated at all, I personally know more than a few chassidim who are very educated, intelligent and learned, both men and woman, who treat me with respect and compassion, even thou I'm not living there life style.

I'm not saying here that there aren't things that needs to be said, I strongly urge that people should bring awareness to some of the very pressing issues that's going on the the chassidish communities, for those who leave the folds and don't have where to turn to, those who suffer a great deal when there parents cut them out of there life's, or to talk about how parents can deal with there kids who rebel, but that was not even mentioned in the interview, to me they made the rebels look like (pity) nebech cases, the abuse that some of the rebels go through with there families as nothing to do with satmar as a whole, this type of abuse happens every where, they just made a bad generalization of all chassidim, I honestly think it was more like a personal issue for them to say what they said on public television, or maybe even for revenge on there families, for me it didn't look like it was anything about helping those who leave, or bring awareness for things that need to change.

to go on cnn and generalize a all community, even for me who is not observant today, was just plain embarassing to watch, I would never say that satmar as a whole treats everyone the way they portrayed it, yes you can share your individual experience that you had, your pain your suffering and of course it is real and very sad, but that doesn't necessarily have to do with satmar as a whole, its how your parents raised you, how it effected your life.

when you watch it they talk about satmar, and they show you lubavitch/chabbad walking on the street, they had Mr, Niderman as a spokesperson for satmar who said quote "god loves all of us, everyone makes mistakes and can be forgiven if you want to come back your always welcomed " wow- think about it... niderman a spokesperson for satmar says your welcomed if you come back? how come I never thought of it?
first they portray a harsh image, and than they take a spokesperson from satmar to say that your welcomed to come back, not one thing they said had a connection to the other, they also interviewed a carlbach rabbi who said that the reason they are so closed is because they killed ten million Jews in the war, oh please..
basically they failed to really bring out the real important issues and what should have been said was left out, I'm glad I didn't do it when I was asked.

If your going on public television to talk about chassidim/rebels you need more than just three four minutes of really bad edited footage to really be able to give a honest view of the lives of chassidim vs' the rebels.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

"The Art of Communication"

Words is something we use to communicate on a daily basis, most of us don't really relate to the words that our coming out of our mouth, we don't have a relationship with what we say, we talk has if word mean nothing, and creates nothing, we don't value the power of words, the question is what is the true art of communication? How can we gain communication skills? Do we really know how to communicate?

All of us have that little voice in our heads that never shuts off, there is always an on going conversation, if you don't think so- try this out, stay still- and listen to that little voice for a minute.... Now- some of you might say I don't have a little voice in my head- this is exactly that little voice in your head saying it, most of the time when we communicate we already assume what the other person is saying, we think where are a step ahead, we start fabricating an answer before the person is even done speaking, we jump in, in middle of the conversation, or we think of what to say while the other is still talking, we think of what to say, or how to give the perfect answer, so that we look/sound good to the other person, mean while we fail to really listen, we so don't know how to communicate or listen, even when we think we are listening we are not.

The way to gain a powerful communication is to catch our self's and stop that little voice, the moment we notice our self's drifting off again, at that specific moment we can come to a place of fully being present in a conversation, with nothing going on in the background, we can have the ability to gain the real art of communication, it does require work to bring your self to a place of nothing there- just that person in front of you, and you being present to them, its a powerful place to be, just to listen.

communicating in it self does not necessarily mean that words are being spoken, communication is more in the listening than the talking, when we actually listen in a conversation, we get much more out of it, and really get to know the other person.

communication shapes the relationships we have with others and everything alse in our life, ever notice how you can decide who you want to talk to, and who you choose not to talk to, how you will manipulate the conversation so it ends in the exact moment you want it to?
Example: someone calls you on the phone, you might say- I have to go, my kids need me, or you'll say- I'm just about to step out the door, and what happens? Most of the time the conversation ends abruptly.

the people we do want to talk to, we can stay on the phone for hours, we use words to create or destroy wonderful relationships, our words can destroy or build it, bring people closer or further away from us, all with communication.

ever wonder why some people in your life are not really close to you? Its only because they mirror our self's, who we are being with them, how much we actually share with them, that allows them to get closer or further away from us.

notice that with a good friend who you really share openly and honestly your communication is much more authentic and real, and they in return are the same way with you? Every single relationship we have, and the way it is , is exactly the way we created it to be, by not opening up to the people around us, they wont know us as good as the people we do open up to- will, its all in how we communicate with others.

What are we with out words? When you meet someone for the first time and they have not spoken yet, you can only assume who they might be, maybe from there look you might think they are intelligent, or not? or we can assume they are friendly or not? the minute that person opens there mouth and starts speaking they create who they are to you, words create you- with out words where just a body.

take for instants a chair- its a chair because we call it a chair, to someone in the desert who never saw a chair, doesn't know what its called? they might think a chair is used as a tool for gardening, if you ever watched the movie "God most be crazy" at some point they show a pilot flying above the dessert, he throws out a bottle and it ends up landing between a group of people who have never seen an object like this, they start using it as a tool to dig the ground, they start fighting over it, they think god sent them an evil object, because it brings them to fight over it, who should use it first, and for what? To us- its just a bottle, we know its a bottle because we call it a bottle, by agreement of Language/words its a bottle.

there is so many ways to communicate, but how we do- and what we say, shapes everything in our life's.

This particular topic that I shared on communication, is what I was inspired from in different seminars that I took, Don't think that I'm a master in communication, it applies to me, just as much as it can apply to you my dear readers.

"It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen"
Author Unknown:

Monday, January 02, 2006

'Happy New Years "

I was sitting in the car on the way back from Canada yesterday, I had time to think and reflect upon the year that past, its the first year in my life where I truly feel that I have a lot to be thank full for, I've been at my current job for a full year, and have been doing pretty good on my own thank god, supporting my self and my kids, I have gained a lot of prospective in my life and achieved many goals just in this short period, its a very satisfying feeling, especially the fact that I've been clean and sober for this long, even though I've been clean for more than 2 years now, it took me a while to get on my feet, when your on drugs and drinking for the period that I have, it takes a lot to learn how to live with out being depended on it, to learn how to really be responsible, or to have a good time with out getting wasted.

I was out with friends in down town Montreal and I did have a great time without drinking or drugging, I find that I don't really enjoy being in a bar or club the way I use to in the past, I don't feel that I belong in a place where everyone drinks, very rarely I will go out and dance cause I still love to dance, its not that I cant have a good time there, It's just that I feel that I don't relate to this any more, In a way its a good experience for me to be around drunks just so that I can really appreciate where I'm today, the fact that when I leave I don't fall off my face, I'm able to remember who I spoke to, what I said to who, I don't wake up with hangovers, I enjoy that I can have a great time with out being wasted,

I find that the things I use to consider fun and enjoyment does not really appeal to me today, I find that having a good time can be with friends over dinner, a get together at home, being present to life, and what ever comes up, even if its a difficult thing I will deal with it in a much more healthier way, rather than running away and using, I find pleasure when I'm able to sit down with my kids and pay attention to there needs, do there homework, play with them, talk with them,
I have gained many friends who are truly there for me, unlike those who where just there for using together, and using me for getting drugs, those where never really friendships, they never once called me to check if I'm alive when I stopped using, not one person called to say hello, today I have peace and serenity in my life, no matter what happens I find that I have where to turn, I don't run or hide under a blanket not to see day light.

I went to visit my parent for chanukah, and surprisingly it went very well, I did end up wearing a hat instead of a turban, and my hair was sticking out a bit amazingly my parent didn't say anything about it, not what I thought before I went, I don't know if my mother ended up reading my chapter in the book unchosen, but she was very nice this time, I wish I can put up the pictures on my blog of me and my mom, and another picture of my father sitting on the floor playing kugelech with my son at the chanukah party, I did the peace sign from behind him when my sister took the picture ;-) my father naturally looking down, I was pulling him to look upward, but well- I think this will do for now, believe me its a great picture him sitting on the floor playing with my son in his lange talis koten, and the black stocking, like they wear in Scotland, its a pretty good picture.

one of my sisters asked me if I can make her a CD when I come for the chanukah party, but of course she asked that I shouldn't tell my parents about it, I reassured her not to worry, she asks me to make her something romantish- so I made her a CD I wrote down, mix music Sade & more, when I gave it to her she tried reading it and asks me what is this? Sad & more ? whats more? I never heard of more she says? I bursted out laughing... than she chaps (catches on) I tell her No- its more.

she is very funny and very innocent in a way, even though she is open minded enough to listen to tryfena (outside) music or watch an episode of friends on her lap top, she does it so innocently, I love her- she is a total riot, she can imitate any person, or teacher from class she ever had, a real comedian, she never even realizes how funny she is, she asks me why are you laughing? I think if she would be in the outside world she would make a perfect stand up comedian for comedy central, but that's a all other story.

she shleped me around from one room to the next to show me her new furniture, the linen closets and all, I looked in and I gasped- wow everything was lined up like in a magazine, not one thing was sticking out of place, I reminded my self of when I use to put a lot of effort on how my linen looked in the closet, or how the cloth match everything, the tichel to the dress the shoes, I'm thinking to my self oh god- this use to be me, everything is in exact order, the kids closet the linen the cloth, the towels , it would take me a all day to do this, if not more, I see that my sister truly finds satisfaction in having her linen closet and her house look tip top out of a home decorating magazine.

she proceeds showing me around the house giving me every detail in great length- she tells me she wants to put fringes and tassels hanging down from each shelf, I started laughing Fringes?? I didn't hear the word FRINGES in a very long time.

believe me that being shleped around from one room to the next was not much fun for me, but I allowed my self to really get into her world with her, I made sure to compliment her organisation skills, and tell her how proud I'm of her to keep up a house like this with 5 kinder lech, inside I was thinking I can never be satisfied with this, I don't give a damn if my linen closet is not in perfect order, or if my furniture is not top of the notch or the latest style, but to her its her all chaiyus naches (fulfillment) I most have gotten 5 recipes in the kitchen while she gave me some eggplant parmesan to taste.

I was thinking to my self is she really content with this? with having a beautiful linen closet or nice furniture? and living in a very closet chassidish community? maybe that is all she knows so she makes the best of living it? maybe she gave up on different dreams and just tells her self that this is her life and she has to be happy? I never found happiness there, I would never be happy with a beautiful house and nice furniture, to me it has no value, I'm not saying I don't enjoy nice things, its just not what makes me happy and content in life.

never the less I did have a great time with my family and since I shared about my chanukah preparation in my previous post, I wanted to let you all know that the visit with my family went very smoothly, and I had a great time during the visit, "Happy new years everyone"