Jul 1, 2012

Echoes of a Previous Post

In the Spring issue of Jewish Action magazine there was a symposium on the Orthodox Family of the 21st century.  One of the respondents, Rivkah Rabinowitz, is a social worker who is a family therapist.  I found it interesting that she wrote precisely what I wrote in a post of two and a half years ago: here, although she does not give any explanation as to the reasoning behind her wondering.

In her words:

"There are daily, weekly and monthly “kosher” newspapers and magazines published and distributed worldwide. Many of them publish well-written articles exposing important social issues and raising communal awareness. Formerly taboo subjects are often openly discussed ...

"And yet, while the proliferation of such frank discussions in frum media outlets clearly indicates revolutionary growth and thinking, perhaps there is a negative side to all of this as well.

The prevalence of divorce is one such example.

Divorce used to be a taboo topic. When I attended school in the Sixties and Seventies, I did not have a single classmate whose parents had divorced. Out of my high school graduating class of thirty-two girls, one of my classmates divorced early on, and a second after twenty years of marriage.

Out of my twenty-four-year-old daughter’s graduating class of thirty-eight, five classmates have parents who are divorced and there are already four divorces in the class itself. That’s a huge change from my day...

"I cannot help but wonder: were some vulnerable young people influenced by the constant flow of articles on divorce? Were they convinced that their marriages were so bad because they mirrored the stories in certain frum publications where the spouses divorced and then “lived happily ever after”? Did such articles provide a false sense of support and reassurance?

"These are tough questions. By bringing issues to the forefront, people are surely helped. But have we contributed to the creation of broken homes? Is all the frum media attention on the tough issues in our society a contributing factor? Does naming the pain, with titles such as “shidduch crisis,” “kids on the fringe,” “abusive spouse” and “Internet addiction,” somehow unleash a monster that feeds on itself? Is the media reporting on a particular phenomenon, or is it in fact helping to create it? This is an age-old dilemma, and the proliferation of frum newspapers, magazines, and other forms of media makes this question more relevant today than ever."


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I removed a comment due to misspelled words but basically I wanted to agree that magazines sell with sensational articles. We don't just want to know what to cook for yom tov; we want our curiosity satisfied. This gives us the perspective that lots of frum people have serious problems.