Saturday, March 3, 2012

Standing up for Pearl Perry Reich and her children — I'm so proud of you

Today, I learned of an incredibly inspiring woman on Doctor Phil. Pearl Perry Reich and her four children have been put in limbo by Jewish courts, which refuse to grant her a divorce from her abusive husband, because she chooses not to be as religious as her community is. 

When she was 18, her parents introduced her to the man that she would marry. She has suffered from his abuse since. Now, she's blowing the whistle on some of the ridiculously abusive, harmful and abhorrent practices of some ultra Orthodox communities. Many people in Orthodox circles have been shunning her both publicly and privately, dismissing her as just an angry woman who doesn't care about her kids or have their best interest at heart. A man who wasn’t even from Pearl’s Satmer community attempted a "shame on you, Pearl". This is incredibly disturbing. How in the world can a self-proclaimed "Jewish brother" tell a woman, who has suffered at the hands of her husband and been harassed and abused by rabbinical authority, that she should be ashamed of herself for simply telling the truth. By shaming the people who have the chutzpah to expose evil, one only condones the evil and will stand on the wrong side of history.


With all the exposure of abuse, sexual abuse and violence in other extreme fundamentalist religions, it's no shocker that people in these communities are similarly harmed. What's happening now what inspires me every day are people like Pearl Perry Reich taking bold and brave stances. She is trying to put an end end to the silence, a deafening silence that destroys the lives of so many people who are forced into marriages without any choice. Just as even the mainstream Orthodox community has shunned the extremists in Israel for spitting on little girls that weren't dressed according to their standards of modesty, we should do everything we can to make sure that diversity is tolerated and that such practices are stopped before others are hurt.

While some people lambasted her and attempted to shame her for being truthful about her experiences, others took issue for her still bringing up her children in a community whose beliefs she does not share. Given her circumstance, she should not be judged for doing what she believes is in children’s best interest. By denying her a real divorce, the rabbis are only continuing to enslave her and her children to uphold their standards, or suffer serious consequences.

Over my dead body would I ever send my kids to the school I attended a school that didn't teach us even the basic skills of reading, writing, spelling, math, science or history. Bible related study was the only education I had until I was 17. If I were a parent, I would do everything in my power to make sure that my kids had a better upbringing than I did.

Pearl should have the right as a mother to provide her kids with a richer, fuller life a life in which they are not segregated from the opposite sex, deprived of basic education, sheltered from the outside world in every sense of the word. No "secular" books, no TV, no non-Jewish music and definitely no friends that do not share the beliefs of the Satmer. That’s the life she had, and, at the tender young age of 18, she was forced to marry someone that she hardly knew and now cannot get a divorce from her abusive husband.

14 comments:

  1. Perry- on the Dr.Phil show- you said you want to PREVENT pain because of you pain. Here’s how u can do that . A. Choose a more respectable, long- lasting career that does not involve just selling your body, and contradicting the life your children know. B. Focus on the children ( not your new friends, social ,love life, etc. - sacrifice for them- put your needs last- it’s hard, but if you love them like you say you do…) C. Go to therapy. Admit you are in a manic state. And get treated so you can be a more stable person. D. Find a better partner – not someone who denies GODS existence. This is assuming you believe in G-d- and if you do- there is no way that partner cant have a negative influence on whats left of your spirituality substance. E. Focus on the bigger LONG TERM picture. When your looks will be gone. F. Remove all slander DON’T GO ON TV, and ask your bloggers to remove the nastiness. I’m sure this group will go away too…

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    1. Anonymous: why don't you just shut up and enjoy your life? get busy with something else instead of giving unsolicited advice in things you have no knowledge about what you are talking about?

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    2. It's true that there are all kinds of abuse in Jewish community. Tens if not hundreds of wives are unhappy in their marriages be they arranged or not. However I think that Pearl Perry Reich is the last person I would choose as their representative.

      Having a boyfriend before you get a Jewish divorce is a very serious transgression, much more serious than wearing pants or watching TV or even posing semi-nude. Kids will not be kids forever and I wonder how their mother is going to explain her lifestyle when they reach adolescence/adulthood. It doesn't matter if they will stay Orthodox or they will go "off the derech" - they will eventually see clearly that their mother is a hypocrite - claiming that she wants to raise them Orthodox while having totally un-Orthodox lifestyle.

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    3. i love you how you judge her. if someone told you that you couldnt be in a relationship for gd knows how many years to come and your life is as sad as hers and you needed supporters and people who care about you trust me oh hypocritical one that you would be in a relationship too. i love how you just openly judge her when you have never been in her place. let gd do the judging you just worry about yourself

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  2. Even though I am a big supported and an advocate for Pearl Reich, I want to make something clear, to everyone, in regards to how we and even the Non-Jewish people "protect" their own children. Most, and I mean 90 percent of Americans and regular Human beings, keep the internet and violence on TV, newspapers and the library, at some kind of close guard, which means their are parental controls on computers and TVs and they watch what they were, to some extent, and are careful what they read, because it is not child appropriate. So I will ask you and all of the people out there, why are we, as Frum Jews any different from the average American Family? We are not, and the Ultra Chassidish Frum world, and I am talking about the fanatics, where most of Monroe and only parts of Boro Park, and Williamsburg are, doesn't mean for a second that they are the minority. Today's day and age, families are much different and are trying to instill better values to there children. Most, even all schools by now have internet, and very few families force their children into getting married, and yet divorce is more now a days too, because it's more accepted. Just as I believe that Ms Reich has the free choice to live how she wants, so do we. I personally WILL NOT and haven't let my own children live in a box, but they are allowed to know just so much about the outside world at their young age, as I see fit.

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    1. You want to sit there and act like everything is ok? go ahead but when you're behind closed doors looking in a mirror i know you are saying "finally, someone had to say it!"

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  3. Thanks Chaim. Do you know if there is a way to watch the whole episode?

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  4. I STAND WITH PEARL! To the two angry anonymous posters saying Pearl is selling her body, that she a hypocrite and all kinds of other nonsense, I say please get off your high horses and get real.I would say it is your own souls you need to be concerned about. Pearl has courage, she has beauty, she has humanity. I have no doubt that she is a good mother. Should she be stuck in an impossibly male dominated community with rules that have nothing whatsover to do with God but with the men's twisted views of sexuality and what a woman is allowed and what she is not? I say it is those men who need therapy. And I say it is you who need therapy for your lack of empathy and your inability to face the truth. If Pearl needs therapy it is so she can feel supported in who she is, what she wants for herself and her children. She has courage, intelligence and heart. I pray she keeps moving forward. I stand with Pearl.

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  5. Has anyone tried to make illegal and close hassidic schools that do not teach secular studies? Do we not have a moral obligation towards the children in them?

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    1. yes we absolutely do have even a torah obligation the fact that these fathers are not teaching their children any parnassah is believe it or not prohibited in the gemmarah and will cause them to steal. you have a kid? teach them to swim and teach them to work. you are one person and so am i and we are both angry at this so now we are two people who can start a war. you in?

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  6. I never thought of myself as a smart person but I often wonder if I am the only person in this world with the understanding and sensitivity that I think every person should have.
    Pearl may be lost right now, but that does not mean she will be lost forever. She will find herself back if she gets the proper support from every frum person out there. She may not be doing the right thing, she may be doing the most despicable actions, but she is pained. And if you add fuel to the fire, her actions will get worse. If you embrace her, and show her theres a light at the end of the tunnel, she will come back. Spewing hateful comments aint gonna help.

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    1. but it makes all of those pathetic denying hypocrits feel so much better

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. where did pearl go to high school? where did she teach?

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