Psycho-therapist Donna Burstyn writes:
A girl moved into town and joined a family in my religious community. She’s an Orthodox girl from an Orthodox family. She’s rebelling.
Away from home, she’s very happy to be in Los Angeles. Her Orthodox day school lays down many rules, including prohibitions of dating and parties with girls. One-on-one dating is particularly prohibited. It usually involves sexuality, self-esteem, distraction from schoolwork and things the Orthodox community opposes.
The 15-year old girl became my client. I can see her mother and grandmother in her.
I talked to her about the sacrifices we make to stay in school and to be a part of our Orthodox community. Her boyfriend seems supportive of this but I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.
There are many Orthodox boys and girls who are experimenting with their sexuality and they have no place to talk about it because it is so taboo in their community. They’re getting false information about how to avoid pregnancy and venereal disease. They’re nervous and going at it alone. Some would say that is fine because she should not engage in this behavior. I say, if she is doing something, she should be educated in it.
This week I will meet with one of the principals of a major Jewish day school for women. I hope she doesn’t expect that I will transform my client into someone who only wants to keep G-d’s commandments as her teachers interpret them.
These issues come up all the time. We’re at different levels at different times in our lives. And that’s OK. We have to trust the process.