Mental illness overlooked
Your March 25 review of “The Unveiling” is much appreciated. Your comments about the struggles of a Jewish family in pre-World War I Ukraine along with the adjustment difficulties after arriving in America should certainly stimulate potential readers. Likewise, Ettie’s mothering success, for practical purposes as a single mother, is well noted.
It is from a retired psychiatrist’s perspective that I feel that there was too little emphasis of Morton’s mental illness and its devastating influence on the family. I didn’t feel that he was so much an “unreliable born loser” but rather his consistent self-defeating behavior, depicted rather early after his appearance in the novel, was more an early manifestation of his paranoid schizophrenia.
Subsequently his emotional deterioration with his ultimate lifelong confinement to Mayview resulted in much family hardship including profound shame, particularly on the part of Ettie and David. Ettie lived life posing as a widow. David, after learning he had a father who was mentally ill, shared in the shame and also supported strongly the family “secret.” It was through the shiva, initially opposed by Ettie, that she and David were able to resolve this psychic pain.
It is my opinion that there is still much lack of understanding and stigma regarding serious mental illness in our society today. The term “schizophrenia” is lightly frequently used to depict a situation with diametrically opposite views. This undercuts the severity of the illness. The individual patient and the involved family deeply suffer. Sadly, there is often no significant cure. I feel that with appropriate counseling, at least the stigma, as well as other issues, could be better resolved by all. Conceivably, this might be of interest and benefit to some readers.
Dr. Emil Trellis
Elections have consequences
With as much fury as he applied to ramming his government-run health care overhaul through Congress, President Barack Obama now is pressuring Israel into stopping apartment building in Jerusalem. Unequivocally, President Obama finds Jews living in Jerusalem to be a greater threat to the United States and world peace than Iran having nuclear bombs.
After bitter denunciations of Israel by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the president, who bowed to the Saudis, humiliated Prime Minister Netanyahu with his unprecedented snubs last week. Not even Jimmy Carter behaved like Barack Obama.
To many of us, Obama’s adoption of the Palestinian side is not unexpected. His decades long affiliation in Chicago with the anti-Semite Rev. Wright, anti-Zionist Rashid Khalidi, and underground radical Bill Ayers predicted this. His attempt to pack his National Security Council with anti-Israel activists like Samantha Power or Charles Freeman (who was forced to withdraw after his ties to Saudi Arabia and China were publicized) and the marginalization of the dovish Dennis Ross provide just a few examples of Obama’s hostility to Israel. What will come next after his supplication in Cairo? Or his lack of support for the freedom movement in Iran, or his silence over Iran’s crooked elections, or his repeated good Nowruz (Iranian New Year) wishes to the Iranian mullah-dictators?
When will the Jewish community realize that elections have consequences. If he gets his way, how can the president say with us, “Next Year in Jerusalem?”