• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

"Empower Them to Live With Their Choice"


Shared with me and shared here with permission:

“I had known within a month after our wedding that I did not want to be in this marriage. And, I was already pregnant. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I did what I was told to be the right way to handle marriage issues in my ultra-orthodox world. I went to my Kallah teacher (the female wise person who advises young women before they get married) for advice.

After explaining how I was feeling, her advice was ‘go back and work on yourself. HaShem (G-d) will help you if you as Him for help.’

So, I went back to work on myself.

I did so even though I did not believe in our relationship. The person who dated me and asked me to marry him was not the man I was living with. He has promised a normal life. A life of building our Bayit Ne’eman B’Yisrael (faithful house in Israel) in this wonderful family-oriented community. And for him that meant that whatever he wanted, whatever he needed, in every way, is what I needed to provide. There was no room for me and my needs in his world.


Not at all.


And I held on to the words of my advisor. If I work hard on myself, G-d will make it better.

How long should I work on myself?”


We ask women all the time, ‘if it really was that bad why didn’t you leave sooner?’ Well, because it is very, very, complicated. It is not just about admitting failure. Or even admitting defeat. It is understanding that your place in your community will be questioned, scrutinized, and judged. In religious communities, it means your children will be pitied, at best, and isolated.

We ask women all the time, ‘if it really was that bad why didn’t you leave sooner?’ Well, because it is very, very, complicated. It is not just about admitting failure. Or even admitting defeat.

It is understanding that your place in your community will be questioned, scrutinized, and judged.


In religious communities, it means your children will be pitied, at best, and isolated. The young boy who has to go to services without his Dad. No one to sit next to.


The girl who isn’t invited because she might talk about that terrible thing, divorce. The people who stop talking to you as if divorce is contagious. Well, maybe it is. And maybe it should be.


Don’t even get me started with the long list of people standing in line with the “I told you so.....”

So, when you see someone, who has chosen to remove themselves from a marriage, don’t be so quick to judge. Just be there for them. Empower them to live with their choice. There are enough people on the other side making it just a zillion times worse.”


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