The Compassionate Side Of Our Readers
11/05/2010 - 12:28
James Besser

The communal impact of The Jewish Week and the compassion of our readers make for a story worth sharing.

We published a poignant essay in our Oct. 29 issue, on the Back of the Book page, by a single young woman who has MS, and is reluctant to go public about her condition for fear that it will hurt her chances to find a mate in the Orthodox community. She signed the piece Anonymous, and given the circumstances, we suspended our usual rule about not publishing unsigned Letters or Opinion submissions.

What was heartwarming was that we received several responses reaching out to Anonymous, through us, expressing support and friendship.

One person asked us to let me know the Hebrew name of Anonymous so that he could include her in his prayers for those who are ill.

Another reader wrote to say that his young wife has MS, and that he knew before they married. He asked that we forward his letter to Anonymous (which we did), saying he and his wife would like to meet with her and offer her encouragement and friendship.
Similarly, a reader wrote to us to say that his sister has MS, and when she was seriously dating a young man, she agonized over telling him, worried that he would break off the relationship.

When she worked up the nerve to tell her boyfriend of her condition, the brother said he was prepared to offer his sister comfort. But he was pleased and relieved to learn that, on hearing the news, the boyfriend “told her he loved her and that diseases are a part of life and that he was more comfortable knowing about it now than later. The two have been married for a dozen years and are very happy.”

He asked that we forward his letter to Anonymous, and we did.

A few weeks ago I vented in my column about the increasingly nasty and partisan tone of letters we receive, ranging from Mideast peace to domestic politics.

The exchanges over the Back of the Book piece by Anonymous restored my faith in our readers, most of whom, I’m sure, are more inclined to reach out than lash out.

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