On this date two years ago, a young man named Shua Finkelstein, 20, from Lakewood, NJ was found dead from an overdose of pain killers. Shua and I went to the same yeshiva in Israel in 2007. Although I’d spent the previous year there, I returned for six weeks and it was during that time I met Shua, who was in the middle of his year at the yeshiva.
Although I barely knew him and didn’t really get a chance to get to know him, when the news came to me that he had died, I felt like I had lost a member of the family.
And while I’m honestly ignorant in regards to what troubled Shua in life, I would like to share something he wrote shortly before he died. He wanted it to be shared with the public, and so I hope I can honour his memory by fulfilling this wish.
(I’ve posted the piece at the bottom of the post)
After reading such a strong piece of writing, I can’t help but wonder, where are we now as Jewish people? Have we taken to heart Shua’s words or have we continued our laissez-faire attitude in dealing with atypical and taboo subjects and concerns in the Jewish community? Are we freer today to openly discuss difficult questions such as the existence of sexual abuse, suicide, depression and substance abuse in the orthodox-Jewish community?
Personally, I don’t know…. And I don’t think I am capable of providing an educated answer to any of these questions. But that won’t stop me from looking…
The best I can is publicize Shua’s words, with the hope that someone is listening, and is willing to find out answers for themselves and to spread the word about these issues.
There is thing called child molestation that we have all heard of we all know it happens in different places we all know maybe priests or that creepy uncle.
Let me tell you a little about this thing and first hand what it can do to a kid. A frum child is molested he knows nothing about tummah and kedusha all he knows is that he was violated that his body is a toy thats what gets engraved into his brain not that he is a person worthy of respect but that he is an object a tool. This kid grows up he knows nothing of sex all he knows is that he is dirty and that his rabbis say sex is bad he doesn’t understand he thinks he is bad any mussar shmooz he hears it directly at him and this innocent kid begins to believe of himself as a bad person.
Nobody likes being bad he will look for a place with no expectations of him a place were he can be free to fit in a world where everybody is bad….Chances are he will either convince himself this is the normal and pass it in to another innocent child or he will resort to rebelling to prove to himself he is as bad as he thinks he is……Often he will find drugs to take him away to give him an escape from his horrible reality….That being said…
Did you ever notice a support our troops symbol on the back of somebody’s car? do you know what that represents? that means that thousands of miles there are people no different then yourself fighting a war and that we support them that gives them the morals they need to keep doing what they must do in order to protect us.
I dont expect to see “save our kids” on the back of all of our cars but is it too much to ask that each and everyone of us do our part???I will not mention names but there was one play group accused cased closed and dealt with. thats a start but that should send a chill down your spine theses are kids we are talking about…. there is another play group that is still open after over 5 cases have been brought against it!!!!! do you love your kids???? theses are the same kids that some vaad in lakewood will put in ad in the paper to protect from cellphone texting or god forbid a concert but did you see an ad saying
Guard your kids!!!!?DO research!!!!! If your in doubt dont send them there!
A play group that has had 5 allegations against it is still open????? Of course its there parnasah we are so worried about…
Maybe i should fill you in on some facts there is a jewish rehab whose name i will not mention that deals with kids whose lives are in danger i spoke to the intake administrator there about the cliental from Lakewood and i was told 99.% of all kids from lakewood Yes lakewood our holy town who doesn’t allow text messaging were molested in this town!!!!! and that is what led to there addiction! now some facts of this rehab which has a high success rate 50% dont stay clean and out of all the jewish kids there that leave and relapse there is an average of 3 jewish souls that die a year!!! Murdered by you and me and all of us unwilling to take a stand against these people in our community the rabbis are scared to do anything? its political?? how dare they say that?? this is life and death we are killing kids over here we are condemning them to a life of misery of lonely depression and god forbid of passing on this horrible sickness.
IT IS YOUR DUTY as a Jew, As a Human to find these people in our community and no longer let them live among us!!!! ‘Oy le rosha Oy le schayno’ I think over here we are all the reshoim if we sit back and do nothing!! and if you dare say you are worried that people in play groups will lose there jobs there is some math you may want to do. a rehab a 6 month program to give a molested kid a chance $5,000 per months totals $30,000 now this place on average has 20 kids per six months thats $60,000 do you want me to count in the average fee of therapy $150-per hour????? or maybe you want the numbers i got from the local funeral homes?????? WAKE UP!!!!!! Ask yourself honestly is it that you are truly concerned about this just isn’t your place or do you just not know what to do? I think trying to be worried about innocent money just went the window….
This cannot be hidden any more!!!!! you know something speak up!!! have you been thru this??? share your story, help create support groups Help publicize this letter share your story…. If you are an offender seek help it can be done your amends will not be easy but it can be done.
You can make one fatal mistake and that is to try and hide and think you will get passed by come out help fix the wrong before you will no longer have that chance EVER.
If we all get together as a town to help weed this community it can be done with minimal damage. Anybody innocent who may receive slight setbacks because of this consider it your part in saving a life. ASHRECHA