The following letter was posted to Facebook (see below) by a pediatrician, Dr. Staurt Ditchek, and submitted to YWN:
“Hey Dad, Please Stay Home With Us For Rosh Hashana”
At the risk of alienating many people who I am close with and a few who are patient families in my practice, I write this op-ed at great peril. However, certain things must be said when an issue runs the risk of negatively affecting families.
As we approach Rosh Hashana many fathers in our communities are picking up and flying to Uman under the claim that they need to be there to pray for their families well- being throughout the year. We have all heard the arguments pro and con of why this annual trip to Uman is justified or not. My perspective is that of a pediatrician. Children who are privileged to have a living father and wives who are fortunate enough to have a living spouse, should not lose those benefits at such a critical time of the year. The argument that Yom Tov prayers can only be heard properly in Uman is frankly contrary to all Jewish thought and practice. The argument that a father is not needed in the home over Rosh Hashana is a bizarre and empty argument for obvious reasons. The argument that their spouses all support their missions without concern for the pressures of spending Yom Tov as a single parent is disingenuine.
You, as a father belong at home with your children, to guide them to love them and to cherish them. It is NOT a Jewish concept to disappear on Rosh Hashana. I have heard all of the excuses, sometimes reinforced by the wives of these dedicated travelers. (Sic) davening at the rebbes kever is a guarantee that our family will be successful, the davening has so much more meaning in Uman, 30,000 Jews can’t be wrong, my wife supports me going, my kids will be with their grandparents to make up for me not being there, my kids don’t need their father at their side to daven on Rosh Hashana, I go for my family’s benefit, there is no drinking in Uman, there is no drug use in Uman, there is no inappropriate behavior in Uman and on and on.
As far as the wives are concerned, you control much of the decision process. Your husband belongs at home on Rosh Hashana with you and your kids. There is no excuse. Furthermore, allowing your husband to take your boys to Uman especially at young ages is a very bad idea. The behavior of some in Uman can have a very negative effect on young minds. While many do go for inspiration and achdus, both important concepts in prayer, many are there for the party, drinking and lack of responsibility to their families. Inspiration and achdus can happen at home and should.
It’s not personal, it’s parenting….
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.
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