Some Key Points to Talk to Your Children About Sexual Abuse

B”H

In light of the recent murder if Leiby Kletzky, as a former counselor for over ten years to men, women, and children who have been sexually abused and Director of a Sexual Assault & Abuse Services Program, I would like to share some information that may be helpful in talking with children about this issue. Since most children are sexually abused by someone they know, not a stranger, it is important to make sure all bases are covered when talking about this issue with your children.

A few personal safety training items I encourage parents to review with their children follow.

1) When talking about parts of the body no one is supposed to touch or look at, such as the parts of the body the bathing suit covers, I include that even if Abba/Imma, Mom or Dad, Grandma/Grandpa, or a doctor touch you while cleaning/examining you and that makes you feel uncomfortable, then the child is to tell a trusted adult such as the other parent/ grandparent. I encourage parents to teach this together and to both say If I (Imma) do something please tell (Abba) and vise versa, saying this in front of each other.

2) I also make up a slew of examples of people the kids know who may try to get them to go with them in a variety of circumstances. An acquaintance or family member may try to get a child to leave their home, a playground, or school to look for a puppy, buy surprise ice cream for the family, go for a walk. I include grandparents, neighbors, the Rabbi/Rebbetzin, anyone who the children see to have any form of authority over them and likely feel quite comfortable with, and stress the following:
Under no circumstances may you leave with anyone without Abba or Imma’s permission. Some examples I used with the kids teaching recently on Shabbat were…
A–You are playing in your front yard, I (Mrs.Murphy) drive up and get out of the car. Then I offer to take the child to HEB to go get ( ice cream) as a surprise for the rest of the family who are inside the house. What would you do?
B–Another example was helping someone who approaches you in the bathroom at the neighborhood pool and who is somewhat familiar to you. The person (maybe a lifeguard or neighbor) wants you to help search for their new lost puppy. What would you do?

3) Children must have permission to say no to an adult. It is not safe to teach children that they must always obey all adults. Adults must earn trust and respect and an fault should never make or ask a child to break the parents rules!

4) Also discuss how doing a mitzvah (a good deed), must be done with parental consent, because helping can sometimes lead to danger!

Since the majority of children are sexually abused by someone they know; these teaching points are key to a child’s personal safety.

May HaShem guard and protect the children He has entrusted to us!

Shalom,
Rebbetzin Lynette Murphy

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Disgusted by Victim Blaming Statement Regarding the Murder of Leiby Kletzky

B”H

I can’t express how disgusted and appalled I am at the statement Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly made after the discovery of Leiby’s dismembered body.

Commissioner Kelly said that the massive search launched to find Leiby spooked [Levi] Aron into doing the unthinkable: “He panicked, and that is why he killed the boy.” That is why he killed Lieby? No! Aron killed Leiby because he is a psychologically unstable man. In case you are wondering if this is a misquote, the Commissioner’s statement can be found in multiple sources including the following link:
http://m.ibtimes.com/leiby-kletzky-murderer-confession-180539.html

The Huffington Post quotes Kelly saying Aron panicked when he saw the massive search led by the Brooklyn Hasidic Jewish community to find Kletzy and “that’s why he killed the boy.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/13/levi-aron-arrested-lieby-kletzky_n_897184.html

Again in International Business Times “Police Commissioner Kelly said that the massive search launched to find Leiby spooked Aron into doing the unthinkable: “He panicked, and that is why he killed the boy.”

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/179516/20110713/levi-aron-brooklyn-boy-murder-leiby-kletzky.htm

I’ve been shocked that I have not heard one response to this horrific statement against the Brooklyn Jewish community and the greater Jewish community of New York and the world.

As a former director of sexual services and board member of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, we often encountered community members and law enforcement blaming a rape victim for being assaulted. It is just as appalling to me to blame an entire community; thousands of people who immediately and intensely searched for a missing little boy, for the murder of Leiby Kletzsky. Is the Commisioner saying we shouldn’t look for lost children? Is he demeaning the Jewish community for displaying the mizvot of Achdut (sticking together) and V’ahavta (love for one another)? How can it be wrong to live out Torah principals, especially for the hope of finding a missing/kidnapped eight year old? IT’S NOT!!!

I have been extremely touched by the outpouring of time, energy, and expenses that were freely given in search for Leiby. Watch a video response to the Jewish community’s efforts by Rabbi Yaakov Salomon entitled “Leiby Kletzky’s Final Gift.”

It was the Shomrim (watchers) who first received a call from Leiby’s Imma that he was missing. This group of 150 volunteers began searching immediately and within 120 minutes they had thousands helping in the search on foot, by posting flyers, and reviewing surveillance tapes. It was one of these volunteers, who stayed up and searched until Leiby’s body was found, that discovered Leiby getting into Aron’s Honda on a surveillance tape and another volunteer who gathered Aron’s physical address from
Aron’s dentist. It was reported that this info was put together at 2 am and law enforcement was informed. At 2:30 law enforcement arrived at Aron’s home to find Leiby’s body dismembered in Aron’s refrigerator.

If you are as appalled and disturbed as I am about the Commissioner’s inappropriate, callous, statement, please join me in telling him so directly through the following web contact form:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mailnypd.html

I pray, the Kletzky family never read or hear Commissioner Kelly’s words and that they find comfort in knowing and experiencing the sacrifice their community was willing to make in hopes of Leiby’s safe return!

Shalom,
Rebbetzin Lynette Murphy, M.A., LPC

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In Memory of Leiby Kletzky

B”H

Missing Person Report for Leiby KletzkyIn hearing of the tragic death of Orthodox eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky of Brooklyn, New York, I am grief-stricken. Only two days ago his parents made the difficult decision to allow Lieby to walk halfway home from day camp (his Imma was supposed to meet him halfway) as a result of Leiby’s request to be allowed to walk home by himself. Only Leiby never met up with his Imma; he disappeared.

Within several hours literally thousands of people were frantically searching for him and emails went out world-wide requesting prayer for his safe return to his family. Approximately 12 FBI agents, in addition to local law enforcement, were actively participating in the search.

Unfortunately, early this morning, a man was arrested and confessed to murdering Leiby. Baruch HaShem Leiby’s body was found quickly!

The family is now sitting shivah with no hopes of ever hugging their dear Leiby again. Words can not express the anguish his family, his community, and the Jewish community world-wide is feeling.

When I first learned Leiby was missing, I was amazed at the sheer numbers of people searching for Leiby. There wasn’t time to waste and thousands of folks dropped their daily activities and began searching yards and knocking on doors as well as combing through surveillance tapes. When I read how fast the community responded, I thought, now that’s community! In a matter of 120 minutes, thousands were searching for dear Leiby! I want to be part of a community like that, both locally and in a global sense!

May we all learn from Leiby’s horrifying death. HaShem should cause us to draw near to each other, regardless of the circumstances, and form a solidified community that glorified His name always! May HaShem also guide us as parents to know when to allow our precious children that He has entrusted to us, to be independent and when to keep them close to us.

May Hashem, Who is everywhere, comfort the Kletzky family amongst the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Amen.

Here is a link to an excellent article about these events written by Rabbi Benjamin Blech: http://www.aish.com/jw/s/In_Memory_of_Leiby_Kletzky.html?mobile=yes&c=y

In peace,
Rebbetzin Murphy

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Teaching Children Mitzvot

The children of Beit Shalom have been learning some Hebrew words that define various mitzvot and we encourage others to learn these words too! It’s a great way for adults in your community to teach and/or reinforce good character in our children. It also is a simple way to redirect children when their behavior may be missing the mark!

These Hebrew words and definitions are from the following book:
We Can Do Mitzvot from Aleph to Tav By Yael Zoldan (Feldheim Publishing).

א–Achdut–together as one we stick

ב–Bikur Cholim–visiting the sick

ג–Gemilut Chesed–being kind and good

ד–Derech Eretz–acting the way we should

ה–Hachnasat Orchim–welcoming a guest

ו–V’ahavta–loving each other best

ז–Zerizut–to do a mitzvah, RUN!

ח–Chanukah–menorahs, latkes, fun!

ט–Tallit–men wear in shul each day

י– HaShem–serve HaShem in every way

כ–Kosher–the only food we eat

ל–Limud Torah–learning Torah is so sweet

מ–Megillah–which we read on Purim day

נ–Nikayon–clean and neat we stay

ס–Sukkot–when we eat outside all week

ע–Anavah–be humble and be meek

פ–Pesach–with matzah, maror and more

צ–Tzedakah–that’s helping out the poor

ק–Keriyat Shema–we say in bed each night

ר–Rodef Shalom–that’s trying not to fight or pursuing peace

ש–Shabbat–our favorite day of the week

ת–Tefillah–to HaShem Himself we speak (pray)

After teaching these words and concepts to the children you are around, an easy way to redirect a child who is misbehaving is to say, “Derech Eretz.” No other words are needed! It’s really nice to communicate our expectations so clearly and directly, with few words, in a positive manner. If a child needs to clean their room or place setting, one can simply say, “Nikayon.”

I highly recommend We Can Do Mitzvot from Aleph to Tav; it’s well worth the investment and the illustrations are great!

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Simple Sayings to Make Parenting Easier

I find myself often saying short phrases to remind my 2 year old of our expectations. Dr. William Sears suggests using short, rhyming phrases to remind children of family expectations and to avoid lecturing. Redirecting my 2 year old with the following phrases seems to be effective.

Shema means to hear & obey right away!

If you don’t obey, Imma/Abba takes away. (relating to a particular toy or activity)

When you obey, everything is okay!

Please share any short phrases you use in your family to redirect your children in the comment section.

Shavua Tov!

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What’s the difference between Torah parenting and helicopter parenting?

Torah parenting is making your children your number one priority in order to teach them HaShem’s ways at every opportunity and guard them from being taught the ways of the world at all costs. Talmud says we should not allow our children to be taught by someone who has less observance of the Torah and Oral Torah then the parents do.

How many families who are Torah-observant send their children to daycare, school, or leave them in the care of others who do not follow Torah? Who did HaShem
entrust our children to? Us–the parents! That is why we should be involved in every aspect of our children’s lives; not to be an interference in their development, but to fulfill our G-d-given role as parents guiding them to be righteous, holy individuals who value their relationship with HaShem and His ways over today’s culture.

Torah parenting can get confused with the term “Helicopter Parenting.” Helicopter Parenting describes parents who hover over their children and become too involved in their lives, interfering in developing social skills and problem solving, including interfering in college or career decisions later in life. Torah parenting encourages parental involvement to protect children from danger, the secular world, and to teach Torah principals and values in order for children to have Derek Ertez (G-dly behavior). This is part of l’dor v’dor, passing our Torah learning and hertitage on to our children, grandchildren and so on. May HaShem cause each of us to be so involved in our children’s lives that we don’t miss an opportunity to teach His ways. Yet, as our children grow and reach bar/bat mitzvah, as parents our role shifts. Torah parenting instills a foundation in a youngster’s life for decision making such as choosing a college, career, spouse, etc. May our children always seek our guidance and follow the Torah when making major decisions.

HaShem does not promote self-centeredness, independence, nor entitlement but loving-kindness, interdependence with family and community, and a giving spirit. What are you willing to sacrifice in order to ensure your children are learning Torah values at every opportunity in order to instill a solid foundation for their future? Is there a place in your life you can make a change in order to decrease the influence of the secular world in your children’s lives? What do your children view as your priorities? Are your actions congruent with your words? Does your value of Torah shine through all aspects of your life?

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis wrote in The Jewish Soul On Fire,
“…it is those mothers [fathers] who shirk their responsibility by rationalizing that youngsters have to be made strong and self-reliant, who, in their selfishness, remain deaf and blind to the cries of their troubled children, who run off to distant places, abandoning their youngsters to the care of strangers. It is they who have to apologize, for the harm that they have inflicted will be felt for generations and generations to come.”

Let us, as Immas and Abbas, mothers and fathers, in partnership with G-d, make our job of parenting the children entrusted to us our highest priority so they will be a blessing to the world!

May you have a wonderful Shabbat!
Rebbetzin Lynette Murphy

Beit Shalom

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Moroccan Chicken Stew

Here is the recipe for the chicken dish Beit Shalom is having for oneg this week. It will be served with Jerusalem Artichoke Pasta.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 1/2 hours
Serves: 6
Yield: 8 cups

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces, about 1 pound

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)

1 red onion, peeled and diced

2 cups diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup vegetable broth

15 prunes

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups frozen cauliflower florets (no need to defrost)

1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Preparation:
In a crock pot, combine chicken, sweet potato, onions, tomatoes, broth, prunes, garlic, ginger and spices. Cook on high for 3 hours.

If cooking for Shabbat, add cauliflower with ingredients above. If not, add cauliflower after 3 hours and cook on high for 1 more hour.

To serve, garnish with cashews and cilantro.

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