Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stop Teasing the Y Children

Hardly a week goes by that I fail to receive at least one solicitation letter from one or more rabbis, imploring me to help some family in distress. For the record, I do open my wallet to them now and then; some of the solicitors are very suspect, while others I know and trust. Like everything else, these have to be evaluated on their individual merits, and on the merits of my own financial situation.

More often than not, the family at issue is headed by an individual who has taken up a life of learning Torah, to the extent that he has not prepared himself to earn a living to support his family. This is a departure from some of the great Rabbis of yore who had gainful employment in their occupations, including, but not limited to, Maimonides, Rashi, Hillel, Yochanan HaSandalar, et cetera.

The one I received this week begins with a particularly troubling passage:

"The Y. children of Yerushalayim have a deep dark secret that they guard fiercely. Their mother is emotionally not well, and their father is buckling under the burden. The children keep the situation quiet, because they don't want to be teased or ostracized."

Hold it right there! They are telling me that this Jerusalem family lives in a social group where it is the norm to tease and ostracize the families of those with mental illnesses!

Okay, so it is hardly unusual for people to make mock of mental illness. But deep in my heart, I do believe that if the rabbinical leaders of this Jerusalem community would take a stand, then the taunting and teasing of families of mentally ill people would instantaneously cease.

When I was in junior high school, there were some tensions amongst the guys on the track team (these tensions happen to have had racial undertones). Our coach put his foot down very early on, and very definitively, and made it clear that no taunts or other derogatory statements would be tolerated. The negative comments stopped, as did most of the tensions.

If my track coach did it, then the rabbis of the Holy City of Jerusalem can also do it.

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