Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Eating Disorders A Hidden Problem For Orthodox Jews 

When Faryn Hart settled into her seat at the weekly Shabbat table set for 20 at her home in Johannesburg, South Africa, she also settled into the role her grandmother expected her to play.

Yes, she would study medicine. Yes, she would marry an engineer. Yes, she got an A on her exam. And yes, she'd take another helping of whatever was coming from the kitchen.

Even as the ballerina and popular Hebrew day school student effortlessly spit out the right answers, her mind was awash in torment. As the food was passed around--fried sole, fish cakes, salad oozing with mayonnaise--her instincts to binge and purge became uncontrollable.

"I was not present," Hart, now 24, recalled. "I was in the conversation but completely thinking about the food. It wasn't about the ritual, it was about the ego. Perhaps it was a way to deal with the discomfort of a family that put so much pressure on me."

The eating disorder Hart struggled with throughout high school and at the University of Florida reflects an alarming trend that's long been a hidden problem for Orthodox Jewish women.

Though statistics are few, eating disorder expert Dr. Ira Sacker found in a 1996 study that one in 19 Orthodox Jewish teenage girls in Brooklyn had an eating disorder--about 50 percent higher than the general population.


Sad but true.

I know girls in Shidduch age who say that the likelihood of getting a date, if you're over a size 8, in the frum community is MUCH lower (or next to imposible) than in the non-frum or non-Jewish communities.Youd think it would be just the opposite. Why are the frum guys so "model-figure" obsessed? Any theories? We've made the frum guys too full of themselves by offering them everything on a silver platter.


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