It’s been two years since her abortion, but Lilah* is still grieving. After seeing an article about In Shifra’s Arms (ISA), her husband Benny emails me, desperate for help.
In Shifra’s Arms is the American-Jewish lifeline that nurtures women through unplanned pregnancy crises and helps them and their children to flourish. In cases of miscarriage or abortion, we always provide sensitive follow-up, and that’s what Lilah needed.
Lilah aborted early in her first trimester. Identifying as modern Orthodox, Benny emails that they have several children in day school and felt they could not bring another child into their family. It seems to me that they felt too ashamed to tell their family about the pregnancy or the abortion and so they are very isolated. He doesn’t mention if they consulted a Rav.
Now the abortion’s emotional fallout is wreaking havoc on their lives. Benny writes, “She feels tremendous depression over what we have done. She blames me for my encouragement, but I had no idea she would be in this kind of pain.” At the time, Benny felt like it was just an embryo and thought Lilah would be okay. Now, Lilah is grieving because she feels she’s lost something precious and resents feeling pressured into “murdering my baby.” Her unmitigated grief creates a deep divide between them.
This story is tragic. Even if Lilah’s grief is not universal, it is not unique.
If Lilah and Benny had had access to the emotional and tangible resources they needed, perhaps they would have felt they had another choice. Lilah’s world could have been different. And our world too.
When Daniella became pregnant, she had a nine-month-old baby. Her emotionally abusive marriage was crumbling. Her living situation was unstable and she didn’t have a job. Adoption was off the table because her soon-to-be ex-husband could refuse to sign the papers. Everything was falling apart. She had no idea how she would manage. The prospect of a new baby, tying her further to a bad marriage, was terrifying. She felt anxious, lost, trapped. When she asked her rabbi for an abortion heter, she got one.
Yet despite her fear and the heter, Daniella felt conflicted about aborting. She reached out to ISA. On the other end of our Helpline stood our professional counselors and small team, ready to do whatever we could to be of service.
“What would you need to continue your pregnancy, before and after birth?” we’ve asked hundreds of Jewish women in crisis. Most women like Daniella need emotional support that’s nurturing and strengthening as well as financial support for things like diapers and more.
“My [ISA] counselor was priceless,” Daniella says. “She gave me the strength to realize I had the strength to be able to do this. And so that’s why I ruled out the abortion.” The same ISA counselor who takes a woman’s first call will support her through the baby’s first birthday with free one-on-one support.
There are at least 10,000** Jewish abortions in the United States each year. There are even more women who may not abort but are still very vulnerable and struggling. While many have the stereotype that “unplanned pregnancy crises” mainly involve secular or “off-the-derech” teenagers, fully half of ISA’s clients are married and Orthodox. We are far more likely to hear from a 38-year-old whose IUD fell out than a teenager in trouble.
* Name changed to protect privacy.
Full story at The Jewish Press.
Democrat economic policies hurt families and put them in positions where they can’t afford children. Democrats are anti-life in so many ways.
Make America safe again. Fire a Democrat in November.
I once had a relative– now gone– who was from a big farming family. Growing up, when harvests and other important seasons occurred, the kids were all pulled out of school, to help. This relative, a lady, worked as a waitress after high school, and met and married a returning soldier from WWII, who used to come to eat at the restaurant where she worked. They had a modest Catholic wedding, due to scarcity of goods, after the war. When the lady got pregnant on their honeymoon, she didn’t know how they were going to afford their new baby– but the couple was so thrilled, and very proud, with a baby-on-the-way! They didn’t have much– and when the baby was born, they brought him home, and put him in a little sturdy basket, like a knitting basket, right next to their bed– and were able to get him a crib, later. It reminded me of the Christ-child, lying in the manger. As it turned out– their new baby had some unforeseen genetic issues that required surgery– and they were poor– and scared. But they were able to figure out how to get all his medical needs met. Extended family also helped. You have to just go with God, and trust. Life won’t be perfect, there are always problems– but somehow, everything will work out. Some things– like abortion– killing a baby, because things have all gone wrong in your life– should never be available, for you to even consider. Instead– good, free pre-natal care, and counseling and adoption services, should be available.
The little boy who was the “baby-in-a-basket” went to Catholic school, and served as an Altar Boy (for the old Latin Mass). He was very smart, and ended up in a fine job in Silicon Valley (now retired). All children– rich or poor– have great potentials, given by their Creator.
Be pro-woman and pro-baby. God is love.
I once held a little Jewish baby boy in my arms in a Macys bathroom while the mother used the restroom. People came in and told me what a cute baby I had, and I told them I was just holding it for the mother. I wondered later why she trusted me. Perhaps it was the Miraculous Medal that I was wearing at that time around my neck.
I once cared for four small children– including a newborn!– of neighbors who were Orthododox Jews. The father was a Jewish Cantor, with a beautiful voice! He and his wife had to go to the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur) — and the Cantor always assists the Rabbi, in a very important liturgical role. They had ancient Biblical rules that stated they could do no work, no housework, no food preparation– all of it had to already be done, prior to their High Holy Days. But if they needed extra help, a Gentile could assist them. I, too, have worn a blessed Miraculous Medal, along with a blessed Brown Scapular, lifelong.
Orthodox Jews– and most other types of Jews– do not believe in birth control. But married couples can ask the Rabbi about it, if they have an extreme case, and think it may be necessary to use birth control. They believe it is a Jewish man’s duty to “be fruitful and multiply,” as the Bible states. Orthodox– and all other Jews– do not accept abortion at all– except in cases to save the life of a mother. Observant Jews (practicing Jews) follow their faith. Orthodox and other Observant Jews keep a kosher kitchen, and follow all the rules and teachings of their religion. But there are also many Jews who are non-Observant, and have fallen away from their religion– they are Jews in name only.
There is a Star of David on the bottom of Our Lady of Fatima’s dress. It must be there for a reason. I, too, was invested in and wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. As I am sure you know, the Prophet Elias (Elijah) is the patron saint of the Carmelites.
From what I have read on some Catholic websites, that star is also called the Star of Esther. There is a yellow or gold star on the bottom of Our Lady of Fatima’s gown. Queen Esther was the Jewish queen who saved her people. Our Lady co-operated with God in our salvation when she gave her Fiat.