April 19, 2024
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April 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Calling Attention to the Single Moms

Recently I have found myself working with a few women in the community whose plight I’d like to bring to everyone’s attention. These women, some middle aged and some past that point, have unique struggles that despite so much time invested and so much effort expended, we can’t seem to get them through.

Most of the women I’m referring to were divorced during a time when divorce was frowned upon even more severely than it is these days; so their journey started as a very lonely one. They raised their children to the best of their abilities, alone on an island with minimal support both emotional and financial.

Now their children are grown, remarriage seemed too scary a prospect year after year, match after match. Now the loneliness and solitude is creeping in. Many of their children moved out of state; they tried to leave their painful past behind. The single moms are now completely alone.

They dread every Shabbos and every Shabbos meal that they’re alone. They dread every Yom Tov and every Yom Tov meal when they’re alone. They don’t have a shul to call their own being that they’ve never forged a real connection with a rabbi or rebbetzin. Going to shul is in itself a lonely pursuit. No child to sit with, no spouse to wait for. Just trying to look relevant and like they belong to someone, while knowing inside that they’re going home alone to sit alone.

The women will think back to the days when they were relevant to the community, an important part of their shul’s women’s league, their children’s schools’ PTA. They remember how their phone rang non-stop with important tasks being assigned to them. Now the phone is quiet.

These women’s loneliness is so profound that it affects their jobs (if they’re lucky enough to have one); their mental health and even their physical health suffer.

Please look around you. Please notice the women who are alone. Please include them in your life. Invite a single to a Shabbos or Yom Tov meal with your family friends who you’ve hosted many times. You may literally be saving a life.

Esther Miller
Project Director, Success Space for Women
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