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  • Writer's pictureAnnon

A Divided Family

Divorce results in a divided family

Maya’s parents went through a bitter and protracted divorce resulting in a divided family.  When the papers were finally signed, Maya, her father and her younger sister all made Aliyah. Maya’s mother remained in Philadelphia, along with her two older brothers. 

Back in Philadelphia, the kitchen was kosher and there were candles lit on Friday nights, but Maya had never considered her family to be particularly observant. Yet on arrival in Israel, Maya’s father chose an apartment in one of Jerusalem’s strictly orthodox neighborhoods.  Maya and her sister were enrolled in a religious school,.  “We will do things properly from now on” their father announced. 

Starting Over

Maya wasn’t completely against the lifestyle change. She found comfort and meaning in the Torah teachings. But she also feared that she was losing her connection to her mother and brothers.  In addition Maya felt disloyal and torn about who she really was.

Maya’s father approached Kav L’Noar because he was worried that Maya was becoming depressed. He thought that there was an emotional component holding her back from settling down in Israel. He was very adamant about how he thought Maya should be behaving. 

Maya was assigned a Kav L’Noar mentor called Tali. They started to meet but it seemed like almost every time they got together, they were interrupted by Maya’s father or his new girlfriend. One time, Tali and Maya were in a make your own jewelry store, and the girlfriend came right up to them with her own tray of beads and joined in. On another occasion, Maya’s father just happened to be walking through the local park at the same time as Maya and Tali were sitting talking on the grass. He would often call Maya even when he knew she was in the middle of a meeting with Tali.

The Gentle Intervention of a Mentor

Maya was very protective of her father. She knew that he loved her and was trying to help her however he could. It hadn’t been easy for him either to start all over again.  Her father had the heavy responsibility of bringing up two girls who were 6,000 miles away from their mother and everything they had ever known. But Tali very gently encouraged Maya to start setting some boundaries, both practically and emotionally.

Tali also worked with Maya to find things that she still had in common with her brothers enabling her to maintain that all important sense of connection. One time, Tali took Maya to a Superbowl screening so that she could stay up half the night and whatsapp her brothers celebratory messages after every touchdown. Tali also helped Maya to feel more secure about her life in Israel.  She became more confident about making friends, even with girls with very different backgrounds to her own.

It was clear that Maya needed additional professional support.  Maya was ready to deal with the trauma and mend the damage caused by her divided family. Tali’s commitment and kindness helped Maya reach a point where she was willing to see a Kav L’Noar therapist.  Maya was truly committed to putting her own emotional health first.

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