I have heard this song before. I know I will hear it again. My personal belief is that this tune applies mainly to women who go off the derech, but maybe it’s just that I’ve been more familiar with women leaving the fold than men. The song goes something like this –
There’s a pretty young mother who lives down the street,
Always a smile and kind word for each soul she meets.
She wears her skirts, her long sleeved shirts, her hair is never shown,
She scrubs away the live long day and keeps a kosher home.
She works each day, for half the pay, at the bais yaakov teaching Ivrit,
The problem is the life she lives, no longer seems as sweet.
Her kids are needy, the neighbors are greedy, the bills are all left unpaid,
Her husband grumbles, she answers in mumbles, there are always papers to grade.
If only she could leave this life for awhile, take a break from this daily routine,
She might get relief, a hard-won reprieve, if she nurtures this secret new dream.
In the parking lot behind a white van, she begins changing clothes each day,
Switching into white shoes and a colorful pink skirt, and best of all, a ponytail to sway.
She sees neighborhoods outside of her own and people she doesn’t recognize,
She wonders if someone will see her out here, and if what she is doing is wise?
She can’t go back, she can’t stay here, she is lost in a merry go round of pain,
The faster she spins, the dizzier she feels, until her thoughts explode inside her brain.
Her husband is shocked, her children are scared, where will Mommy go?
Mommy will be but a train ride away, and the kids can stay 4 days a week, no?
The rabbis come over, they pound on the door, they call on the phone night and day.
Her husband must put his foot down! A bayis neeman b’yisroel is not something to throw away!
We have therapists, mashpias, and ravs who will solve this problem lickety split!
If your wife won’t see reason we will start with the threats, and that will stop her plans real quick!
She’s made her decision, we can’t change her mind? Let the lawyers hash it out then!
She’ll be lucky to see her kids every few years after she deals with our hired men!
Those small holy neshamas cannot be exposed to a crazed banshee such as she!
Our very own doctors have declared her unfit to parent or be part of civil society!
Leave her to her illness, her orgies, her disgrace. Think of your mother no more.
We are sorry to say, but the evidence is clear, that your mother has become a whore.
I read a comment on a tribute to Deb Tambor that was so reminiscent of the labelling and slandering I have heard before to describe OTD (off the derech) parents, that it really made me sick.
“Am Yisroel Chai
What could’ve been avoided was, thank G-d, avoided, namely the inevitable future homicide of the spiritual, mental and possibly physical being of her children, by the decisions she made and the actions she took, if only she’d gotten custody.
Thankfully, the courts backed by mental practitioners have increasingly been able to see through the thin veil of the so-called benefits of allowing the deviating parent shared custody, and recognized the great harm caused to their young minds by having to cope with the trauma of contrasting life cultures and contradictory messages in their most vulnerable years, let alone when they’re very often also used as a stick against their former communities and spouse.
I don’t wish the pain and agony of a parent loosing custody on anyone, regardless of their choice of faith, but let it be very clear – especially to anyone still contemplating leaving their current (if outwardly) affiliation – you are entitled to live your life as you wish so long as you don’t mess up your child’s life in the process. (Mind you, children from divorced parents where religion does not come into play, have their share of trauma as is, yet when religion is a factor the trauma is amplified and multiplied by factors of tens.) Do not expect the world to see the glee and glamor that you envision, as promising and worth the risk as you think. You will be taking your chances knowing fully in advance that your prior children are not to be dragged through the turmoil of the journey that you choose to embark on. Expect and be ready to go without them.
And, should this tragic episode bring awareness to any potential OTD parents (or a solo BT parent, for that matter) contemplating their choices and thus help avoid any potential trauma due to child-custody battles by knowing what to expect and making the choices accordingly; then surely it will be a big zchus for the ailing neshama of this unfortunate Deb Tambor.”
The pompous words of this commenter only illustrate the kind of cruelty that someone like Deb Tambor had to endure on a daily basis. The kind of words and attitude that likely drove her to an early grave. The only person whose “spiritual, mental and possibly physical being” was threatened was Deb Tambor’s. To label her as someone who would murder her own children, when she herself was essentially murdered by the vitriol of her former community is despicable.
A while ago someone was mentioning a divorcee she knew. She was lamenting this poor woman’s fate to have been married to a crazy man, and now having to deal with him as a co-parent to her children for the rest of their lives. I happened to know the ex husband in question, and that his ex wife drove him into his craziness by bad mouthing him all over the community, and having prominent people threaten and pressure him until he had to give up the majority of custody of his children. I have known this guy since he was a teenager, and he was never crazy until she came into his life.
Perhaps I have said too much, and perhaps I haven’t said enough. However, I think it’s interesting that a common opinion within the orthodox community about people going off the derech is that they are all mentally ill, potentially dangerous to others, and seeking a life of wild and unabandoned pleasure (which will surely come back to burn them). The above commenter Am Yisroel Chai touched upon all of these points. Part of me wonders if there is an underlying sense of jealously in some of these particularly judgmental types. It almost sounds as if they are trying to convince themselves of the folly of submitting to the horrors and forbidden pleasures that lie outside their own little boroughs.
As someone who grew up in a non-frum world, I can tell you that it is not filled with people who are all mentally ill, violent, and hedonistic. Statistically it might even be less filled with those types of people than within the orthodox world. However, I am no statistician. What I can say, with first hand knowledge, that it is possible to live a moral, ethical, and quiet life in the non orthodox world. My family did.