The attendees at a lecture for Orthodox single parents were shy initially, but conversations developed, as they spoke of greater acceptance of divorcees in the community.
“It’s coming together, people who have gone through tough divorces seeking to give back by guiding people undergoing divorce in peace and maintaining their families,” said Benny Rogosnitzky, who organized a lecture last Sunday in Brooklyn.
A cantor at Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue, Rogosnitzky is also a divorced father of three children. “Acceptance is going to take a long time, but it starts with self-acceptance, knowing that there are good fathers and mothers.” he said.
FrumDivorce.org, a group of Orthodox consultants that guide divorcees through the process, sponsored the lecture. It is not alone among such groups. Divorced Chevra keeps a website forum and a Facebook page with a variety of topics discussed. As one example, Shayna asks about her ex-husband, who still has her prayer books. Responses range from making a list and hiring a lawyer, to moving on and purchasing new books.
More immediate concerns include what to do with the children on holidays, where responses also range from “avoiding them” to “asking my mother to babysit.” Rogosnitzky said that such online forums help observant single parents find support. “We take our collective experiences and offer guidance so that children suffer as little as possible.”
Speaking at the FrumDivorce event, Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff said that with children, divorced parents are compelled to have a longterm vision. “It takes incredible emunah and stability. This is what Ha Kosdesh Baruch Hu wanted and it’s about what you do with what happen,” Rabbi Lieff said. Offering encouragement, he described the single parent as someone with a responsibility. “Giving up is not in our dictionary. You’re not alone in raising the future of klal Yisrael.”