Friday, April 11, 2008

They Are All Our Boys

The Brooklyn Wolf and Ezzie have both put up terrific posts that discuss the "forgotten boys" of our community- those who do not have a father or grandfather to take them to shul, learn with them, or attend "father-son" nights with them at school. These children feel left out, marginalized, forgotten. The pain is also felt acutely by their mothers, whose ability to help is severely restricted by mechitzas and male-only Orthodox rituals, and whose sense of pride or guilt often prevents them from directly asking for help (trust me on this one).
But make no mistake about it. These mothers do want you to help. Look around your shuls and your neighborhoods and find the boys who sit awkwardly in shul by themselves, or worse, don't come to shul at all because they are too young or unhappy to go by themselves. Invite them to sit with you, help them find the right page, introduce them to other members of the shul. Treat them as you would treat your own son, because after all, they are all "our" boys.

4 comments:

ilanadavita said...

Thanks for raising the issue and linking to these two interesting posts.

Leora said...

I read it on other blogs, but it seems to carry much more power and emotion coming from you.

SuperRaizy said...

Leora-
Wow. Thank you.
While I have been telling bits and pieces of my story on this blog, I'm still reluctant to rehash all the difficulties caused by my marriage and divorce. But this issue hits so close to home because it has affected my son's life so directly. To be a 7 year old boy without a Daddy around is not easy, and I worried endlessly over how on earth I could fill that role for him. But it seems that God is a real good buddy of mine, because he sent us the most kind, thoughtful neighbor in the world, who immediately stepped in to act as a surrogate father to Flash. It is now 7 years later, and this wonderful man and his wife are still there for Flash every step of the way. Most people are not as lucky as we have been.

ptjew said...

You're truly correct that would be a very powerful mitzvah something we all should consider...

"These mothers do want you to help.... Invite them to sit with you, help them find the right page, introduce them to other members of the shul. Treat them as you would treat your own son, because after all, they are all "our" boys."