Anat Gopstein’s latest column in the Shabbat weekly Gilui Da’at:
“I don’t understand how she started a connection with Arabs and with Islam. She’s a good girl, from a good home”, the girl’s mother said to me. It turns out that today, you don’t have to leave home to be hurt. For today, even home is no longer a safe fortress.
You can get hurt at home, too; from the computer or telephone, you can travel all over the world, and everybody can get to us. Whoever thinks that he’s protected, and blames the internet for problems – that doesn’t help him, for even the street is dangerous. There is no safe, protected place. You should learn how to protect yourself, to understand, to internalize and to know how to set clear boundaries for ourselves and others. We live in a broken world. Everything is permissible. No law and no judge.
So the earth is full of violence, and we should know how to conduct ourselves safely in it. We must talk with the children, create a healthy connection and be with them. Because if we won’t talk – somebody else will talk with them, and then it might be too late.
Now that we’re still at home gathered with the family, before leaving the ark for the larger world, the tools to cope should be given to the children. There is a flood of information out there, and we are trying to be normal in a world full of stimuli. They don’t always understand what their actions really mean. It’s hard not to fall, and a lot of them stumble on the way.
When a child falls, we have to try not to judge them. The children are growing up in a world full of temptations, and there are those who exploit the emotional distress of young people, giving them drugs and and creating strong dependency and control over them. We should be there for them, and always be with our hand on the pulse, to see, to abate the waters. There are situations where you have to send out a dove and at times the crow, because the outside world is not always nice. And even open a window to see what’s happening outside.
That girl who fell, took a long road, I remember the mother’s cries and frustration, and especially the helplessness in situations like these. They turned to the authorities, but there was no one to talk to. We complained for them, but the system was sealed up tight. We tried to be there for them. The parents’ pain was unbearable. For them, their world was destroyed. A relationship with a non-Jew means a total cutoff from the Jewish people. But we know that Israel finds no rest for her feet among the nations, and comes back home. This girl, too, took the long road, but she managed to fix it and to make a kosher Jewish home. There are times in life when we need to gather and come into our private ark with the family, whether because of disease or plague. And a time to leave the ark. There are times we are required to go out into the world, even if we’re not protected out there, because we’ve got a job to do.
Hashem promised there would not be another flood, and we have the possibility to repair. In spite of all the corruption in law enforcement, despite all the bad conduct of the country’s various systems – we cannot get discouraged. The time has come to leave the ark and try to repair things, to get to a better world.
LEHAVA - Preventing Asimilation
In light of the growing severity of assimilation in the country, several community organizations have focused their energy, for many years, to save Jewish girls. We have established an organization named Lehava which fights assimilation in the Holy Land. Together, the experienced leadership of Lehava has made it their mission to reach these girls, before they reach villages and are gone.