Brooklyn, NY – Sadly, there have been too many weeks this year that we have lost a young, precious soul that was clearly lost and in pain, but never before has a loss of this kind, in our community, been a front page story, grabbing newspaper headlines and focusing the media spotlight on the difficulties that we face.
Like most of you, I never met Faigy Mayer. I never even heard her name before, but yet, she is my sister, your sister. She is one of us. I can’t speculate on what compelled her to take her own life, because obviously I don’t know any of the facts. But I do know this. She is no longer with us and as we mourn the loss of the Bais Hamikdash this week, we mourn the loss of another young life and future generations that will never be born.
Media accounts have been buzzing with speculation and are quick to point the finger of blame. How she was rejected by her family and ostracized by her community. How she felt stifled in her upbringing from the earliest days. None of this is productive. Each of us walks our own path in life and makes our own decisions, some good and some bad. We may not approve of decisions made by others but at no time do we ever have the right to judge anyone but ourselves.
As the old ada ge goes, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Sadly, the large majority of our troubled youths find themselves met with scorn and ridicule when we have seen time and time again that a warm smile and a kind word is far more effective at touching the heart and possibly opening up a door that will guide these lost souls back onto the right path. We have an obligation to love our fellow Jew, no matter how they dress, what they eat or what kind of life they lead.
There are no words that will ever bring Faigy Mayer back, but perhaps there are lessons to be learned from her death, which are particularly applicable to us now that we are just hours away from Tisha B’Av.
We need to love each other. We need to support each other. We need to look out for one another and help those that we see struggling in any way that we can. Those who suffer from mental illness or were abused, either physically, verbally or sexually, all need more of our time and caring, not less. Those who are lost need support and compassion, not criticism and derision.
I daven that Faigy Mayer’s tragic and untimely death will be the catalyst to better ourselves and that this new positive direction should be a zechus for her neshama and be a source of nechama to Faigy’s family and friends.
Zvi Gluck is a well known community activist and the director of Amudim Community Resources, an organization dedicated to helping abuse victims and those suffering with addiction within the Jewish community and he has been heavily involved in crisis intervention and management for the past 15 years.