בית דין צדק דק״ק מנשסתר
Manchester Beth Din
JEWISH ECCLESIASTICAL COURT FOR GREATER MANCHESTER
Registrar: Rabbi Y. Brodie BA (Hons)
27th February 2014
As Registrar for the Manchester Beth Din I have followed the tragic case of the Schelsinger twins with great dismay, but with overwhelming respect and admiration for the heroic way in which Beth has remained focussed on the need to do her utmost for the children’s development.
It is obviously not for the Beth Din to comment on the Austrian judicial system save as to say that in all the decades of experience of dealing with issues of this nature I have never ever seen a mother deprived of an ability to relate meaningfully with her children or indeed of such tender young children being placed with their father. This goes against all the norms of child welfare where the interests of the child are primary and where it is almost without exception that young children are placed with their mother. The fact that she has to pay to visit her children and to maintain them when her ability to relate to them is kept to a minimum beggars belief.
I know Beth personally and if anyone can be commended for being mentally and emotionally stable it is she. She has gone through nightmare after nightmare and whereas others would have capitulated or worse she has remained strong, steadfast and highly motivated to protect her children. This does not sound like the type of mother who ought to be denied the right to bring up her children. The concerns about the physical and emotional development of the children only seek to highlight the tragedy of this case.
Whilst, as stated above, our influence on the judicial system in Austria is extremely limited, we do feel however that there needs to be a wakeup call to the Jewish Community in Vienna who have abandoned Beth and shattered her expectations of what a community ought to provide for those experiencing difficulties. I knew Beth prior to her marriage and know that her hopes and desires were to set up a Torah true Jewish home. The fact that this was not possible with Dr Schlesinger is hard enough for her to bear, but the fact that she equally hoped to be a staunch member of an Orthodox community and now feels totally bereft and lacking any meaningful support, is something which she finds even more concerning.
It is the sincere hope of Manchester Beth Din that the community will see Beth for what she is, a true heroine and devoted mother, who could bring so much happiness to her children and ensure their proper development. The community is asked to support her in every conceivable way and to ensure that the obvious miscarriage of justice is rectified at the earliest opportunity thereby enabling her to relate properly and meaningfully with her children.
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