May 22, 2024
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May 22, 2024
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Thoughts on Family Estrangement

We have the greatest respect and reverence for Alan M. Singer, Ph.D.; we always read his articles with anticipation and curiosity. He is brilliant, caring and considerate. A true mensch.

In regard to his article “My Fear That You Won’t Seek Help for Estrangement” in the February 4, 2021 issue of The Jewish Link, our family knows firsthand the experience of having an estranged child.

At first it was a shock and we were all in disbelief. How could this have happened?

With the utmost respect to Dr. Singer, there are two other factors that were not included:

1) Spousal influence. The estranged child is so influenced by their spouse that “perception is reality.”

2) The spouse’s parents add more zeros to the checks. This is, unfortunately, a generation of entitlement.

In our situation, after leaving no stone unturned, we all had to turn a page and move forward.

This is our concern: Will the children who had their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins removed from their lives need counseling one day?

I personally had my grandparents taken away, but that was in the Shoah.

At school on grandparents’ and family day, how do the administrators handle a situation where only half the family is present? What are these children writing for their family tree? Is half the tree empty?

And most importantly, what stories are parents telling these innocent children about why they only have one set of grandparents? Or where the aunts and uncles and cousins whom they might remember went?

After enduring this situation for many, many years, we have all decided the following: We daven that the estranged child will one day realize what harm this does to their children. We also daven that the estranged child has peace of mind with their decision, and that the children who all bear our parents’ names are always healthy and safe.

We are grateful for the mitzvot and chesed that we are able to perform and we thank HKBH always for everything, but we are at a point where we focus on our children who love and respect us and are close to us, and hope that iyH beH the estranged child has a completely clear conscience when they do not attend family smachot.

Family is everything. Derech eretz kadmah l’Torah. Kibud av va’em. This is what we grew up learning and followed to the letter.

May Chodesh Adar bring klal Yisrael happiness and yeshuos.

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