No more shame: Abuse and infidelity in the Jewish home

Even in the "best of homes" there may be secrets lurking. Shifra is a survivor.

Judy Simon,

Abuse victim (stock image)
Abuse victim (stock image)
i-Stock

"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.



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