July 24, 2024
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July 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I am writing in response to Esther Miller’s letter about single moms (“Calling Attention to the Single Moms,” March 10, 2022).

First of all, I’m happy to report that I am not the sad, lonely creature the writer assumes me to be. I got divorced not very long ago at the age of 47, after being married my entire adult life.

I invite the women Esther knows to reach out to me. In the months since my divorce I have discovered and grown a huge network of “single again” middle-aged women and men. We barbecue, kumzitz, celebrate birthdays and chagim and go away for weekends. And on and on. We are often together several times a week. The people are there and the support is there. I’m at 908-249-3382.

I personally, thank God, have many Shabbat invitations and I host as well. Invitations should definitely be encouraged. The community at large, in my opinion, can help us in many other ways.

Greater community—Greatly reduce or forgive us shul dues, some tuition, Yom Tov seats and the like. The writer mentions the community work we did. Many of us raised tens of thousands of dollars for our shuls and schools. I know I did! Now many of us are in financial tight spots. Be kind and give us a break.

Friends—Understand the financial situation most of us are in. When you’re collecting for a candy platter for this or that, don’t ask us for $40. Ask us for $5. If you invite us to your child’s wedding, tell us not to worry about the gift. Repeat that. And mean it. If we invite you for a seuda, suggest a potluck so the burden is shared.

Divorce is crazy expensive and it’s nobody’s first choice. For many or most it’s no choice at all. Legal bills are beyond belief. The burden of suddenly supporting two households is tremendous. Often the lead-up to the split has already put the family in huge debt. And there’s no insurance for divorce like there is for health, accidents, death etc.

What I could really use, when my kids are away—someone to put the heavy garbage cans on the curb for pickup day. Someone to shovel the snow and not charge me $70 for 20 minutes of work. Funnily enough, someone to make the beds with me after I’ve washed all the linen from sleepover guests!

One final thought: Have the women reach out to me for help in mentally putting themselves in a place where they might look forward to a quiet Shabbat meal eating Fruity Pebbles in sweats and reading an amazing book. Every Shabbat meal doesn’t have to include chicken soup and 10 people. I’ll end with words I saw and inhaled shortly after my divorce some one-and-a-half years ago. They changed my perspective in a profound way:

“Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you’re living.”

Efrona Hagler

Elizabeth

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