The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Where Do We Start?

Like many people I know, I am paradoxically very structured and organized yet, at the same time, very sloppy. Nowhere is this more evident than in my office at work (and, sadly for MHW, my office at home as well). There are piles and piles of paper, journals, trade magazines, pens, pencils, and sticky notes all over my desk. Every so often, when it begins to bother even me, I decide it's time to clean up. But when I assess the situation, I'm usually paralyzed by the thought, "where do I start?". The situation is so out of control that it seems useless to even try since, at best, all I can do is make a dent in the mess. That is basically the situation confronting us with respect to abuse in the Chareidi community. There are so many institutional issues in the way of a solution, from insularity to concerns about shidduchim to a fundamental distrust of outsiders to the influence of kanoim (zealots) to widespread cognitive dissonance (it can't happen here), that one doesn't know where to start. This can easily result in the paralysis I experience when I contemplate cleaning up my hopelessly messy office. Since I don't know where to start, I often don't start. So, the queestion is, "where do we start"? I have been giving that issue some thought and I will try to post some ideas in the near future.


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