Lines Of Communication

From My Tzedakah Box

To the Editor:

I emptied my tzedakah box this month and decided to send it to LILITH. You seem to be coming more regularly now. Congratulations. I have always loved the magazine.

by Eleanor Kretzer, North Hollywood CA

Abuse in Jewish Families

To the Editor:

We were pleased to see LILITH [#20] address the serious issue of wife abuse in the Jewish family It is important to debunk the myth that Jewish men do not beat their wives, and we were happy to be listed as a resource.

We must, however, comment on several parts of the article. First, Toby Myers is a member of the board of Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA), here in Houston, and the director of PIVOT, AVDA’s counseling program for batterers. She is not a California resident, nor, as far as we know, is there an AVDA in California or anywhere else. Second, although Dr. Myers is quoted correctly, the attributes in the article are misleading. Those who have worked in the battered women’s movement for a long time, including Dr. Myers, believe the safety of battered women must be considered first and foremost, including shelter, counseling, and legal advocacy.

Finally, we are concerned by Marcia Cohn Spiegel’s comment that those who have been abused reach out to change the world, to do teshuvah, which is translated to mean repentance. “Repentance” indicates that the victim was to blame for the abuse. If teshuvah is correctly translated, we would suggest it is an inappropriate term to attribute to battered women who want to help others.

by Rhonda Gerson and Toby Myers, Houston

Considering The Birth Mother

To the Editor:

Adoption is not a simple solution that solves the problem of infertility. [See LILITH #19] It is the irrevocable transference of a child that permanently affects the lives of not just the adopters, but also the child who will grow into an adult; the birth family; grandparents, both adoptive and by birth; siblings, both adoptive and by birth; etc. For many of these people, adoption adds joy to their lives. For others, it adds pain.

Rabbi Michael Gold states that adoption is a mitzvah. Yes, adoption as it was practiced in the past — finding homes for homeless children — is a mitzvah. But one can only wonder if adoption as it is practiced today — finding children for childless couples — is really a mitzvah.

If the goal of adoption is to help homeless children, why then are there 36,000 children awaiting adoption in this country? If the goal is to stave off hunger in far-off lands, why do we not send food, clothing or money? If the goal is to provide help for women experiencing untimely pregnancies, then why do we not provide them with the services they and their children need to remain together as a family?

Next to world peace and world hunger, there is nothing else I can think of that is more important than saving the American Jewish family. By continuing to encourage young women to postpone childbearing, to abort, or adopt-out untimely, unplanned pregnancies, are we solving problems or creating new ones?

Perhaps we need to reevaluate values. Parenting is life’s most difficult, most challenging, most rewarding and most worthwhile profession.

by Marsha Riben, Old Bridge NJ

Editor’s note: Marsha Riben is the author of shedding light on … The Dark Side of Adoption (Detroit: Harlo, 1988).

Israel Corrected

To the Editor:

Congratulations on the Summer 1988 edition of LILITH [#20], which was even more attractive than your earlier numbers.

Of course, time overtakes any periodical. Both Leah Shakdiel and the women on the Tel Aviv municipality have won their law suits, but much still remains to be done here.

Permit me to point out some errors in two of the sections in your invaluable “57 Reasons to Get in Touch” item: in “Government”, you list the address of the Council of Women’s Organizations as the Prime Minister’s Office. In fact it is 1 Mapu Street, Jerusalem. The member organizations of this body are Na’amat, WIZO, Emunah, Association of University Women, Soroptimist, B’nai B’rith and the Liberal Party Women’s Division. Under “General” you refer to the Forum of Women’s Organizations as the “most inclusive of all umbrella organizations”. In fact, only seven groups collaborate in this Forum. The term “umbrella” organization, so far as one exists, applies to the Forum of Heads of Women’s Organizations, set up at the beginning of 1988 by Etya Simcha, the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Women’s Status. An unprecedented number of members — 27 heads of organizations — makes this a very significant forum, potentially an important source of networking.

Keep up the good work!

by Alice Shalvi, Jerusalem

To the Editor:

We’re astounded that PEF Israel Endowment Funds isn’t included in the section on Israeli women’s groups in the Summer 1988 LILITH [#20] received today.

We cannot understand why LILITH omits the only charitable organization to which tax-deductible contributions may be made with a recommendation that it be used for any tax-exempt, non-profit women’s group in Israel. The two organizations listed [U.S.Israel Women-to~Women and the New Israel Fund—Ed], which do fine work, assist only specified groups.

by Lydia Feinsod Herz and Roger J. Herz, New York City

Chana’s Mission

To the Editor:

Your article on Chana Senesh [LILITH #20] was very meaningful, as in this country we tend to admire only those who achieve a successful mission. We ignore the sweat and blood that is part of the endeavor

It might interest you to know that the former grounds of the parachute jumping and commando training is now the campus of the University of Haifa. In those days there were no buildings in the surrounding area; that was wild and remote, and a well kept secret by the British Army. A friend of mine, Patrick Leigh Fermor, was stationed there before his assignment to parachute behind enemy lines in Crete. He too, was captured by the Nazis and reported killed, only to emerge some time later alive and well. One wonders if men were given better training than women.

by Adina Etkes, Los Angeles