Dear readers, lurkers and awesome people who leave comments,
The June Caption Contest got some incredibly interesting, insightful and funny submissions. The contest cartoon was of a Hasidic woman lying on the Freudian therapy bed and a very unreligious looking, goateed doctor listening to her lamant. I always enjoy drawing the contest and wondering where the readers will take it. All over the place, is the answer. You guys rock! Thank you for all your contributions. It was so fun! Ideally, every one who contributed should win $25, but ideally everyone should also contribute $25 for the blog site maintenance, so we’re kind of even.
[ehhem]. On with the program.
The three runner ups of the contest were:
Nitza: Hasidish OCD “So did you really leave the door open a crack?”
HH: “He said I should lie to the therapist.”
Yoelish Steinberg: “And the very next day Mindi strolls out with her yellow canopied Bugaboo, rendering my sand canopy worthless!”
These are all funny and insightful in there own way, and for their contribution and humor and moment of laughter, they get a million-dollar shout out. No cash value, though. Sorry. The winner of the major sum of $25, which in this economy is now valuable enough to bail out Greece, is none other than our father of philosophy Socrates, who has risen from the dead and interrupted his dialogs in the heavenly town square in order to contribute. In Yiddish of all things! Yes, first ever Yiddish cartoon. I thought why not — Yiddish can express things English can’t. I’m a big believer in the value of Yiddish as a representation and vehicle of the culture, so this caption had specific appeal. And any polite goy out here reading this can use to learn a Yiddish vort. So there! Here, we publish, the final cartoon.
[translation: “a polite gentile, but what does he really understand?”]
Thank you, Socrates! We will paypal you your riches.
If a Hasidic woman goes to therapy, she may hope to be relieved of her “problems” or qualify for a medical recommendation, but she would feel a wide, gaping disconnect between herself and her provider. Not only would she be weary and mistrustful of the provider and feel like he doesn’t begin to get her, she would also probably be under the impression that all therapists can see inside your brain. I’m not sure how this popular belief about therapists reading minds came about, but one element that adds to the reverence and fear of therapists is that it isn’t a profession that is practiced by Hasidim’s own. Hasidic women don’t have husbands or girlfriends or children who go on to be therapists. Therapists are mysterious professionals “out there” who went through a daunting education regimen in which they somehow, some way, learned all the secrets to the human mind. When the details to this process are vague, it is easy to assume that they are bigger and more amazing than they really are.
That is not to say H
asidim don’t have makeshift therapists. But those are of a different ilk. It isn’t a branch of psychiatry, it’s more of a branch of yenta-ology. Any yenta can expand her prying and advising to a full fledged business. And any good yid with a few philosophies about life can open a folding chair for some “counselling clients”. But these good people, who are often good people indeed, are much more personal and informal than therapists. What’s problematic is that there is no training and licensing system for self-declared “therapists” and anyone and everyone is free to nail a sign on a closet and open a practice. This creates opportunity for predators and inappropriate behavior to occur unnoticed and unchecked behind these closed therapeutic doors. One makeshift marriage counselor slash rabbis slash mind reader slash evolution debator I saw some years ago, informed me that his “treatment” is most effective when the woman client spends a few “good” weeks at his house. One of his eyebrows coyly expanded upward as he made the declaration of the fine services he offered. I raised him two eyebrows in return, and nearly stuck out my tongue. But I was quite stunned by the seriousness with which his suggestions were taken by others. The ignorance about therapy, professional or self-professed, makes Hasidim very susceptible to all sorts of emotional or financial frauds.
Good thing these people have folding chairs instead of beds then?