“BA’ASHER TELCHI…” (“WHERE YOU GO…”)
The process of separation, divorce and the breakdown of the family unit is a painful process for all the sides involved.
In addition to the complex difficulties and challenges that face every woman involved in this process, there are many other difficulties if the woman is ultra-Orthodox or religious.
The statistics and reality in the field show that there is a continuous rise in the number of couples who get divorced in religious and ultra-Orthodox society.
Often the religious/ultra-Orthodox woman feels a lack of social acceptance and even a lack of family support when she begins this process. It does not matter if it is her initiative or that of her spouse, or even if they both agree.
In addition to this, often women in these sectors (especially in the ultra-Orthodox sector, which is more conservative) there is a lack of relevant information regarding important topics. They are not exposed to media of any kind: they do not surf on the Internet and because of this the knowledge they have is minimal or greatly reduced, something which makes it difficult to make decisions, especially during periods of pressure and crisis.
In light of this we initiated the establishment of a non-profit organization that will meet the individual needs of these same women in the religious / ultra-Orthodox sector prior to and during divorce proceedings.
We believe that there is strength in numbers; that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The change in the situation of ultra-Orthodox women in general and of “second-class” ultra-Orthodox women who are separated and divorced will come when they themselves unite and demand the rights and respect that they deserve in the correct and appropriate way. As soon as this unification is correct, not only separated and divorced women will benefit from it, but so will their children, who will feel better, and in general the whole family will suffer less.
Social awareness of and sensitivity to this subject will add only good to religious /ultra-Orthodox society, and to society in general.
One must take note of and emphasize that we are talking about a totally new initiative in the religious/ ultra-Orthodox sector, which is causing many people to think again about things that until today were accepted and taken for granted. (The “Mother of Children” organization in Jerusalem does this successfully, however it is a local organization. The women helped by it are mainly women from the Jerusalem area and its environs. For Fainy, who is from Haifa, or her divorced friends from Ashdod, it is impossible to receive aid and support from this organization. And in the meantime it is the only one in the ultra-Orthodox sector, while the number of separated and divorced women is only continuing to grow.)
We believe that support for our organization can cause many significant changes. In the lives of individual women in the religious and ultra-Orthodox sectors in an immediate way, and in the entire society – by a gradual process of change that will be accomplished in small, wise, well thought out steps and the aspiration to create a new situation and new way of relating to women in our society, with no connection to their family status. In supporting an organization that aids religious and ultra-Orthodox women in crisis, you can show female solidarity that transcends sectors, and it is this that connects between societies in the most positive way.
In our humble opinion it is not relevant to look at the separation of women in Orthodox societies or to criticize women who are inside them and don’t do anything to change the situation. The correct thing to do is to help those same women within this society, who believe in change and are capable of making it, from within, in the best possible manner.
THE AIMS OF THE ORGANIZATION
Professional /legal assistance and direction – women in these sectors (mainly in the ultra-Orthodox sector) are less exposed to information on the subject of divorce and are apt to lose a great deal because of this.
- Emotional support – in the wake of lack of social legitimization and sometimes lack of familial support for the woman getting divorced. There is a need for a supportive friend who will give the woman a shoulder to cry on, and significant emotional support.
- Training in correct conduct and coping with the children during this complicated period.
- Direction regarding correct conduct when dealing with welfare agencies, police, etc.
- Aid in giving loans and scholarships in order to help women who are single parents to continue with higher education.
- Aid and support in finding workplaces that support divorced mothers who are single parents.