Justice, Politics

Peace in the home

Beliefnet.com is pitching Rabbi Shmuley’s new show “Shalom in the Home” as “a new reality TV show drawing on Judaism’s idea of Shalom Bayit to heal America’s frazzled families.”
Now I don’t know about you, but if we’re going to start talking about Shalom Bayit, or peace in the home, lets give kudos to groups like Jewish Women International of Canada who launched a three-month public campaign on “domestic” abuse in Jewish communities yesterday; Jewish Council for Public affairs and others who are protesting the Congressional budget proposals for slashes in domestic spending or Jews for Racial and Economic Justice for their Shalom Bayit: Justice for Domestic Workers campaign that supports domestic workers, immigrant rights and organizes synagogue members to provide fair contracts to workers in the home. Not another “reality” show from a rabbi who calls himself “the marriage missionary.”

12 thoughts on “Peace in the home

  1. You’re stretching the term way too much. Shalom bayit refers to interfamily relationships, and most of all between husband and wife. Domestic violence certainly belongs there, but the other two are misuses of the phrase. The domestic worker campaign would be more accurate if they had called themselves Tzedek b’Bayit. Or Tzedek l’Abadim.

  2. can’t we watch the show first? We know SB ain’t perfect, but still… maybe it’s positive programming?

  3. it’s true without tzedik there is no peace, but it’s not a stretch to me to think about how slashes in social services, treatment of domestic workers and domestic violence are all about peace in the home.
    and yes, by all means, watch the show–the difference for me is a queer perspective, and ultimately this show is defined by a man who calls himself a missionary around marriage–do i hear ringings of Bush’s evangelical dogma around the sanctity of marriage?

  4. Maybe you do hear that, but maybe you shouldn’t. I mean, I’m in no position to discuss SB’s politics, because frankly I don’t know what they are. But it irks me that you think the “queer persepective” (as if that’s a monolithic group) would somehow automatically view the promotion of stable family life within pre-existing families as an endorsement of evangelical christianity’s stance on homosexuality/gay marriage etc. It’s almost like you’re looking to get pissed off, and I really don’t get that.
    On the basis of nothing but the title (because really I know nothing about the program), it sounds like a show that is looking to find a way to increase love and stability and reduce domestic conflict. I’m sure SB’s methods will be… interesting. But just because his politics don’t jive with yours does not mean that he is incapable of creating a show that avoids or transcends political issues. You’re siccing the attack dogs on this guy and trashing his material, which on the face of it seems intended to do good, based on your conflation of SB with evangelical anti-gay stances. What if his show actually improves these families’ lives? Does it matter if he’s a jackass? Doesn’t everyone deserve the opportunity to do good?

  5. i’m not claiming a monolithic perspective, but i’m naming an angle for ME–and maybe there will be good–but offering critique is not siccing dogs on someone either

  6. I’m sorry, what critique did you offer exactly? Noting that there are other valuable topics for media to engage does not really serve as a critique of this topic or this program in and of itself. And then how do you critique a show that you’ve never seen? By attacking the show’s creator? I’m just saying I think you may have jumped the gun.

  7. Just what is it you are quibbling about? I was married to a closeted gay who beat the shit out of me…queer perspective? cut me a @#$%!@#%!#$%^%& break! I had to learn how to break a cycle of violence and heal myself and my family, because for more than 40 years, no one gave a @#$$%@$%@#$%1 about domestic violence even in the most Orthodox observant families NO ONE CARED. Now they care. You guys all act like this is some theoretical horse pocky. I don’t give a hoot who is giving out that message as long as that message is getting out.
    it’s only in the last 10 anyone even noticed. So you guys, what is YOUR problem?
    god, you make me tired.

  8. I am uncomfortable with linking the concepts of shalom bayit and domestic violence. Shalom bayit is about partners respecting each other, putting the other’s person needs 1st and learning to communicate constructively. Domestic violence is violence. There is no constructive engagement with a batterer nor should victms be made to feel like they can “work it out.” Our entire society (Jewish, non-J, frum, not) needs to do more to address the scourage of DV.

  9. i’m with adam on this one. as it is, shalom bayit is a great value-concept for discussing more nuanced and interesting forms of human relations. domestic violence falls under a whole other rubric, i.e. don’t hit people. we already have lots of other concepts more appropriate for DV.

  10. So here’s this organization, founded in BP in 1990’s, still going (under the covers (cough cogh)) called Shalom Bayis. It’s headed by a distant cousin of mine, a menuvel, a rosha called Menashe Ha Katon Klein. In the name of Shalom Bayis, this POS set up a number of chookim and mespatim (laws ans ordinances) including the following:
    A concubine hotline
    A moratorium on gets (for ten years)
    Excuses about why it’s ok to have sex outside of marriage
    Marriage by Proxy for pre-adolescents
    This is a man who refused to give his wife a get. beat up his students in his yeshiva and on the streets of BP (I know someone who felt his magic touch–bam across the brain, ya know) and actually DID marry off a kid against her will via proxy.
    Now this man is considered a holy saint by none other that Nobel Peace Prize Winner Dr. Elie Wiesel, because this POS treated him well in Auschwitz. He is also regarded as a brilliant posek by most of the chassidic rabbis in Brooklyn (like my first cousins Moishe Leib and Yankel–you know M&D Rabbinic Dynasty, Inc)
    Get this, folks, Shalom Bayis means Peace in the House. It doesn’t mean touchy feely let’s have a nice relationship.
    It means what it says, PEACE IN THE HOUSE. and if some sumbabitch is beating the crap out of you, cursing your kids, locking the kitchen cabinets (that’s a BIG one in BP, because they don’t want fat wives), getting a concubine, because the Reb said it was kosher, not giving a get cause the reb said it was kosher, beating the piss out of your wife because the RAMBAM says its kosher.
    You know what? I am willing to bet I am the only commentator on this thread so far who has actually been married, beaten, turned into an agunah for six years, made case law in NY called the Silver Get Law by taking on the POS rabbis like Klein, and married again and had a passle of kids–who had to learn Shalom Bayis the hardway.
    I love theoretics.
    And no matter what the POS rabbis and our vaunted Beis Yakkov teacher say to innocent girls who don’t even know that they are the lowest form of human life and the highest form of “beheyma” (Beasts) in the eyes of the (cough cough) “halachists,”
    PEACE IN THE HOUSE, is not solely the responsibility of the wife, regardless of what these girls are taught. They aren’t even taught that the minute a pig raises his hand to hit them, they can leave and never go back and the beis din HAS to give them a get.
    So I don’t care what happy dippy hippie peace and love activists want.
    the sad fact is that in Orthodox Jewish homes the rate of domestic violence is highter than 30%, where in “informed” societies it is slightly lower.
    So I really don’t care how you children define it, but get over yourselves. When ortho Jews says they are working on Shalom Bayis they mean they are putting Peace back into the House.

  11. Thank you Kyle’s Mom! Im with you until the end (hmmhmm when the ageism comes out) but also I am curious when you declare that when orthodox Jews say they working on Shalom Bayit they mean it–it seems to run counter to what you were saying the whole way through. Can you clarify?

  12. sorry about the ageism, but it comes from “al tashlicheyni le ais ziknah,” and (don’t toss us out as we age) the problem is that what the “elders”say is usually discounted, and the lack of experience with domestic violence literally came screaming off the posts…and thank God that’s good.
    But, on the other hand, when I see some of the silliness. but let’s get back to the inyan, to the crux…
    before a certain group of people began making noise in different communities, i think in Texas of all places and Toronto, even OHEL, the main agency dealing with this stuff, was sweeping it under the rug. No one heard of Twersky, even and stuff was under the covers.
    Frankly, about 10 years ago or so, I started a stink on AOL, and at the same time called every connection I had in the old hood, including certain people involved with social welfare agencies and told them this couldn’t stay in the closet anymore. I agitated and yakked, got right into the faces of leadership–even those who said it wasn’t their “area” or priority. I called rebbes and rebbetzins and made lots and lots of noise (ask Kyle :-D) and things began to change. Mikvah ladies began checking for bruises outside of Toronto, where Rabbi Baruch Taub came up with the idea. The Forward did a story. CLAL did a story on the front page of the SHMA journal called Our Dirty Little Secret Is No More.
    I personally created and handed out a booklet on Shalom Bayis to all the rabbis in the Teaneck area, etc. etc. etc., and the issue finally took on a life of its own and it’s now on a front burner.
    At Last! But more work needs to be done, and there is still resistance in certain circles, but there is also an increasing awareness that this stuff doesn’t fly “between the goyim” so it sure as heck shouldn’t fly in the Jewish community.

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