Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Disgrace in Our Community

Some days it hurts to read the paper. Some problems in the Jewish community embarrass me so much that I like to ignore them. I am writing this post carefully to avoid giving useful publicity to the people it concerns. I will not be posting this article outside Jewish circles as I do with many of my articles.

A couple purporting to be "frum" started a web site to promote adultery. It is essentially a "dating" site for people to "hook up" and have affairs. It is bad enough to identify such a site as Jewish, but to identify it as "frum" is downright obscene. It reduces being religious to a matter of zip code and being part of some kind of "in crowd". It strips Jewishness down to some sort of hollow shell devoid of any spirituality or meaning.

Adultery is not a victimless crime. It undermines the stability of homes. It is in fact child abuse. People who are frustrated in their marriage should have the opportunity to reach the breaking point, to confront the imperfections of their life together and make needed changes. If that is not possible, then there is the Torah prescribed remedy of divorce.

What good is the respectable facade of a stable marriage if it conceals rot and filth? Spouses who take care of their relationship with each other are ultimately taking care of their children. I looked at the site before sitting down to writing thius article. Some of the people described themselves as chassidic, orthodox etc. Who are they trying to kid? Is clothing everything? They are working overtime to put up a respectable facade while they turn their marriages into a sham and feign loyalty to Jewish values.

My parents thought that my generation would make the world a better place. Time has proven them wrong. With all its faults, my generation does not measure up to theirs. I feel a deep sadness looking at the people running ads on the adultery web site. Most of them are about twenty years younger that I am. Some are young enough to be my children. What sort of children will come from the membership of the cheater's web site? What sort of social problems will make inroads in our community from the actions of such individuals?

Adultery used to be considered a crime according to the laws of most states. It was a misguided idea to declare it a victimless crime. If anything, its impact is like a nuclear blast, which leaves toxic waste that continues to cause injury decades later. Children in such a home can sense something in the air without knowing what it is.

It would be far better for the patrons of the adultery web site to work on their relationships with their own spouses. Happy marriages are good for our community. They lessen the likelihood of children straying. The site purported to be "frum". I would guess that to mean "foll rishus uvenig mitzvos" (full of wickedness, few mitzvos) .

Did I mention anything about G-d? Shouldn't G-d matter to people desribing themselves as "frum"?

I hope the web site is hacked. I hope that somehow it is shut down. There are some creative people out there. I wish them luck in shutting down this evil web site.

On the positive side, I hope that more community resources are put into helping couples find and maintain happiness with each other. Building a Jewish home does not refer to a physical domicile, it refers to the happiness within the home.

I feel personal shame that such a web site exists and purports to be "frum". It is a disgrace to me that such a site was covered in a non Jewish news outlet. I hope that the organised response of our community is not a new set of tsnius chumras (edicts of strict modesty) but a re dedication to happiness within our homes.

It is clear from the profiles on the web site that its patrons come from all sectors of our community. No one has the right to be smug. This is our collective disgrace. We can and must face it and correct it together

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