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“I’ve Been There”

Yisroel Besser

His sweet voice is sounded most often in song, at weddings, heralding the establishment of new homes. Yet popular singer Shloime Dachs has added another message to his repertoire: as the child of divorced parents, he offers his observations, suggestions, and impressions, in the hope that he can help parents navigate the right way to divorce, and children find their way to successful and fulfilling lives, despite the “broken home” label they bear.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The chuppah begins, an expectant hush sweeping through the room as the chassan, flanked by his parents, enters — right foot first. The strains of music seem to propel him forward, up the steps and under the chuppah, and the singer welcomes him, “Baruch haba ... chassan.”

The singer in question is Shloime Dachs, and with his tranquil air and soothing voice, this seems the most natural place in the world for him: another night, another chuppah, another Jewish home taking root. The glass breaks — a brief reminder of the pain of destruction — and then the cameras flash and once again, the music starts up. The music never stops for Shloime Dachs, right?

The panel is one of the Agudah convention’s most serious discussion forums. Titled “Orphaned with Parents: Facing the Needs of Children of Divorce,” it features rabbanim and professionals dealing with a real and unfortunately growing demographic. Among them, is ... Shloime Dachs. In a poignant, passionate, and compelling address, he speaks as an Ohel board member, experienced in dealing with children of divorce and their parents. He also speaks from the personal vantage point of a child of divorce himself. As he courageously confronts the memory of his teenage years, of the heartache and pain that filled those days, the audience sits a little straighter, leans a little closer to listen.

Two different audiences, just days apart — one in the chuppah room at Monsey’s Atrium Plaza and one in the conference room of a New Jersey hotel. Both listen intently to Shloime Dachs.

One night, he sings of harmony, the other he speaks of destruction.

And if there is a message that connects the two, it’s one of hope. At the chuppah, the message was everywhere; at the convention, it wasn’t so obvious. But laced into Shloime Dachs’s words and account were undertones of chizuk. With wisdom, patience, and a focus on the children’s needs, even those children of marriages that must be dissolved have every chance of succeeding.

And Shloime Dachs would know.

 

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