Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Airbrushing Problems

R' Horowitz has an excellent piece on how to tackle problems - applicable from personal issues to communal ones. Excerpt from the communal side:
When a girl becomes very ill or worse as a result of anorexia, chas v’shalom, parents of teenage girls in that community who suspect that their daughter is anorexic reach out for help. A percentage of the girls will actually have eating disorders – upping the numbers of reported kids with such conditions. (This does not mean that more girls came down with eating disorders, only that the awareness caused more of them to reach out for help.)

But, then good things start happening. Schools bring in specialists to speak to the kids. Girls become more self-aware of their own eating habits. Peers eventually become informed enough that they can help their friends who are bingeing and purging. Eventually, eating disorder rates drop significantly, as the short-term publicity results in the long-term benefit of awareness and the creation of solution-oriented programs, that remain in place as the pain of the publicity subsides.


  1. R' Horowitz is correct that making problems public, raising public awareness, can result in a reduction of the problem. Unfortunately he picked a bad example--the one on eating disorders. The numbers don't support his conclusion. A few of the reasons why anorexia and bullemia are still problematic in the frum community are: 1)they are still problematic in the general secural community. Society as a whole has bought into hyper thinness as a style to be emulated. Frum Jews are not immune to the outside influence; 2)Shidduchim have encapsulated this idea of "thin is in," with mothers of boys shopping for kallahs by dress size; 3)there may be more discussion about the problem but there are lots of people who say that is someone else's problem, I'm just naturally skinny; 4)nutrition is not considered an important element to be taught in school, nor does it appear to be tops on the list in many frum families--because of skewed knowledge of what the body needs girls are eschewing all fats, all starches because they don't know what they really need in order to be healthy.

  2. It was a good piece. Rabbi Horowitx always addresses current issues directly and without mincing words. (while not being vindicative and accusatory, a rare feat)

    Another things schools should teach besides for nutrition is finances. People need to know what they're getting themselves into when they get married, and they may as well be prepared starting high school on. ProfK, I believe you have a budget you drew up?