Defamation! They're Being Snatched Away From Me: My Husband Slandered Me and Said I'm Not Competent to Raise My Children
After years of physical, emotional, and financial abuse, and innumerable scars which blemish her body, her husband, the neglectful father of their children who left religious observance, is trying to take their five children from her by force. Now she is pleading with us to help her fight for the bodies and souls of her children
I know that one of the least-mentioned topics in the religious community is that of violence in the family, but I don't care what's socially acceptable and what isn't- when I'm fighting for my life I'm ready to disclose everything. I'm Racheli, a chareidi (Torah-observant) woman from Jerusalem. I have five children, sweet, pure, and sensitive, who are my entire world, and for them I'm ready to do everything. Everything.
I've been married for fifteen years. It began like a nice story of a sweet shidduch, but soon enough I discovered I'd married a hurtful, good-for-nothing young man. It didn't take long before his nasty behavior towards me turned into actual violence. Screaming, blows, and curses became part of my day-to-day life. I have black-and-blue marks which are seared into my body and will never entirely fade. He rapidly became the sole manager of the bank account and of our wallets, and every shekel I requested had to receive his approval- an approval which generally wasn't given. He needed the money to live like a prince, to squander on a showy lifestyle of entertainment and parties. The children were lower priority, and I wasn't on his ladder of priorities at all. When it came to me, there was nothing to talk about.
I worked around the clock in order to provide my children with food to eat, but most of the time the money never made it to the grocery store- he spent most of it first. I stretched myself to the limit by working two jobs, day and night, in order that they should have at least the minimum. The few hours at night that were left for me to sleep I would spend crying alone on my bed, into the pillow that soaked up all my tears and heartbreak. In the morning I would get up, wash my face with cold water, and put on the biggest smile I could muster so that the children shouldn't see anything, and I'd send them to school with a hug, and if we had it in the house- a sandwich. I don't know what they did on the days that there was no food, and I preferred not to ask them about it, in order not to hear answers that would break my heart even more.
For myself, I didn't buy clothes or anything else for at least a year, and I got used to eating the minimum of the minimum in order to survive. Today, I weigh 105 pounds, and this is after five births. People say I look like a skeleton, and only I know why; only I know that I also feel like a skeleton- like the living dead.
A few years ago my husband began to deteriorate spiritually, until he completely stopped observing Torah and mitzvot. At this stage I understood that I had to leave him. If until that point I'd agreed to survive with him in order that my children should have a father, now I understood that I needed to fight an all-out war for their souls. After the birth of my youngest, half a year ago, I experienced a severe post-partum depression and was hospitalized for a number of months. He used this opportunity to declare me officially as a mentally incompetent person and not qualified to raise my children, and initiated a fight whose purpose was to have them removed from my custody.
He did this in order not to pay child support, and in order to raise the children in consonance with his new secular lifestyle. These are my children, and it kills me- the thought that they are being raised by a father who doesn't give them a shekel to buy food, and abandons them to grow up alone while he's busy with his life of leisure. I myself am already a living widow, but if my children are torn away from me they will be orphans. Abandoned, miserable, alone, and neglected. Far from their Mommy and far from Hashem.
I don't intend to lose this war. With my emaciated body and with no financial means, I will fight until the last drop of blood in order that my children should remain with me. This is no longer only a war for their bodies, it's a war for their souls. I will do everything in order to ensure that my children will grow up as kosher Jews, with a warm mother who loves them and is prepared to do anything for them.
I need your help in order to live! In order to buy my children food! In order to pay for suitable representation in court in order to retain my children in my custody!
My body is full of blue scars, my spirit is torn to pieces, but I'm a tiger inside, and I don't intend to permit my children to reach my state. They're pure; they're innocent; they're young- they deserve the best life a child could wish for himself. I swear by all that's dear to me that I'll turn over the world for them, and beg you with all my being to join with me in this war for their bodies and souls.
Please, don’t close your ears to my plea. Don't shut your eyes so as not to see my poor children. Help me win; help me give my children their Mommy; help me leave them in the lap of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. I am certain that E-lokim will not abandon me and won't leave me. What about you? Will you abandon my children?
Defamation! My husband slandered me and said I'm not competent in order to snatch my children away
Will I need to abandon my children?