Comments On A Difficult Custody Case

Yesterday I read the following article, which has generated a firestorm of controversy, mostly anti-Chassidic. Been following the comments and adding my own., May 20, 2013
By Shulem Deen
Link here.

It's interesting to observe what happens when social media meets insular community. One thing is clear: people want transparency.

Below are my thoughts on reading the various threads. Bottom line: Nobody knows "the truth" except those who were there and information is more helpful than using gossip and hearsay to advance one's personal agenda.


Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal on May 22, 2013 at 6:27 am

Those who oppose the ruling and attack the judge are missing the bigger picture.

While it is true that the mother is entitled to be nonreligious, what is in the best interest OF THE CHILDREN?

The children have a right to be raised in a physically and psychologically SAFE environment.

* Physically = no beatings (“corporal punishment”) and no sexual abuse. Clearly the children were put in foster care for their physical safety. People other than the mother reported SOMETHING so the children were removed.

* Psychologically = In most of the United States, parents of varying observance level and even varying faiths is normal. In MONSEY, where the children will be living, consistency is CRITICAL.

Add to the potential psychological damage:

* The mother appears to be engaged in a physical relationship while engaged in divorce proceedings, with small children, with a member of the extended family (“one of the children’s cousins”).

* In ANY family court in America, I would imagine that a judge and/or psychologist would take issue with that.

The options here seem to range between bad and terrible.

–Forcing the children to live with an unstable, violent parent does not seem right.

–But neither does putting them into a situation where they will be told one thing (at the extreme) by the ENTIRE community, IMMERSED in religion – and then with mom, told the complete opposite and in the most hateful and angry way as would be natural after a divorce. Then ADD that she has apparently embarked on a course of action that is far outside the norms of the community.

The children would not have refuge anywhere, even in their minds…how can your most beloved life object, your mother/caregiver, also be the personification of evil? That is a cruelty they can not ever understand, but that a judge can.

This family’s personal tragedy has become fodder for hateful gossip about the father, the mother, the community, the judge, etc. etc. If people really cared as much as they said they did, they would apply the common sense test here.

Most important of all, it seems wrong to use their misery as an excuse for someone’s own personal vendetta, be it for or against the Chasidim. They have a right to live their life their way too. (Even if the insularity they created to protect themselves, has led to more harm than good.)
Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal on May 21, 2013 at 11:58 pm
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Possibly original documents:

Posted By Shauli Gro’s
Excerpts from Kelly Myzner’s court transcripts.

.. With respect to which parent provides for the intellectual and emotional development of the children, the Mother was far more involved and vigilant in identifying the children’s special education needs and issues. She was integral in getting the children help they needed, except for not providing the private school with a copy of ******’* lEP, while the Father was more reserved or perhaps even in some level of denial about his sons’ issues, particularly ******. This Court believes that the Mother spearheaded the campaign to obtain services for ******, and that while the Father was present for the administration of the services, he was much more passive. The testimony of the forensic evaluator regarding the Father’s attention deficit issues calls into questions whether the Father has the capacity to pursue treatment for ******’* needs, but this Court is convinced that overall, the Father has been a caring and responsible parent. The Mother, while the more tenacious parent in securing assistance for the children’s issues, seems to lack insight into how her own choices and conduct, i.e. residing with the children’s cousin in a romantic relationship, stating that she would not have the children observe religious rules in her home, affects the children’s emotional health.

..This Court cannot conceive of how the Mother would think it would be beneficial to her children, who have been raised in a very strict religious manner, to see her living out-of-wedlock..
If the Mother were to ignore the rules and requirements that the children are forced to follow to remain in their current community and school while with the children, it could lead to catastrophic consequences for children who are already clearly struggling with a multitude of issues.

..If she is no longer religious, she may change the children’s conservative attire and grooming, change her appearance when she is with the children, permit the child children to view television and access the internet and permit the children to violate the rules of the Sabbath and the kosher dietary restrictions, all strictly prohibited in the world of Hasidic Judaism.

Given all of the facts and circumstances in this case, the Court awards the Father custody of the children, as joint custody is not possible “because of the antagonistic relationship between the parties.” Chamberlain v. Chamberlain, 24 A.D.3d 589,591, 808 N.Y.S.2d 352 (2dDept. 2005). The Father must keep the Mother informed of his decisions, and shall endeavor toPage: 29 of 32 include her in the decision making process to best of his ability. The Court recognizes that the children are extremely bonded to their mother, and that two of the children expressed that they did not want to live with their father. Despite the children’s expressed wishes, the Court finds that the children are to commence residing with the Father as soon as the Father secures a residence in Rockland County, preferably in the’ former marital home as the Mother expressed her intentions to leave that residence. Given the Mother’s actions in this case, which served to alienate the children from the Father, the Court finds that the children’s time with the Mother should not be extended at this juncture. Perhaps as the relationship improves between the Father and children after a period of time of the children residing with the Father, additional time with the Mother may be appropriate. Further, the Father shall provide the Mother with the rules of conduct that the children’s school requires the children to follow for their continued attendance. The Mother is directed to ensure that the children follow those rules whenever possible when the children are in her care. Indig v. Indig, 90 A.D.3d 1050, 934 N.Y.S.2d 843 (2d Dept. 2011

Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal on May 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm

This whole spectacle is so sad. Jew vs. Jew.

Post the public information so that we can see what was said.

If the judge did the wrong thing then investigate that.

But don’t use a marriage gone wrong as an excuse to rail for or against G-d, Judaism, men, women, or the moon.

We have not learned anything from all these years in Golus unfortunately…it does not help to spread hatred.

Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal on May 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Before saying anything I want to comment that any child who has been assaulted or sexually abused by a parent should immediately be removed from that parent no questions asked.

Having said that – there are two sides to every story and I would like to see the public record too. While everybody reading this is familiar with religious extremism by Satmar, and they are extreme and crazy  (look at Weberman’s victim, look at Deborah Feldman’s experience) her side of the story doesn’t ring true completely.

For example, she says she changed her views on religion AFTER splitting up rather than BEFORE. Usually a breakup is the culmination of a lot of fighting, negativity, etc.

Also, and I don’t know the law on this, she did choose a community that is very insular and different than the rest of the world. It is more than confusing to take a child out of that world – it can be shattering. I was Modern Orthodox and basically gave it up for being Conservadox, and that was extremely tough on my family. To go from Chasidish to secular is much more extreme.

Instead of scapegoating Satmar (doesn’t that seem a little too easy) how about people look at the facts, go by the facts, and try to do right by everyone here.


Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, and, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.