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Unhappy Families

11/16/2022 07:41:58 PM


A special guest post from Rabbi Judith Beiner, the Community Chaplain for Jewish Family and Career Services of Atlanta

Tolstoy said:  Happy families are all alike; Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. 

Those ‘unhappy families’ are as old as the bible. As we’ve been reading the cycle of stories in Genesis, we see the matriarchs and patriarchs in situations where jealously, sibling rivalry, parental favoritism and acts of cruelty are evident in family relationships. Each year as we read these stories, we can reflect and heed important lessons.

It is undeniable that in our day, there are those same ‘unhappy families’, who experience strife between siblings, parents and children and between spouses. In contrast to the biblical stories in which our ancestors ‘tsoris’ is in plain sight for all to see, many of our neighbors’ experiencing conflicts keep to themselves (appropriately so in many cases), leaving those affected isolated, often without support 

Family Estrangement is such a situation, occurring with surprising frequency in our Jewish community, and yet remains in the shadows. There are a variety of situations which fall into the category of estrangements: including physical separation, conditional interactions, and emotional distance, and the presence of tensions and negative emotions. As a result of estrangement, parents might be denied relationships with their adult children and grandchildren, unable to participate in holiday or life-cycle celebrations; aging elders may be left with no-one to care for them in their declining years; or siblings cut off from one another lose connection to their shared past. 

I hope you’ll join me for a workshop on November 28 at 7pm In bringing the topic of Family Estrangement to light, members of our congregation can be able to support and care for those affected. For those experiencing estrangements, this workshop will provide resources and strategies for coping and resilience.

Tue, December 5 2023 22 Kislev 5784