E-Mail Subject: GYE News; GYE in the News
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1935  
In Today's Issue
Announcements: SHOVAVIM Chabura with Dov
Announcements: 12-Step call in YIDDISH
Prevention: The Forward talks about GYE
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SHOVAVIM Chabura with Dov

A unique and fun opportunity for the 8 weeks of Shovavim!

Get Together with Dov for a once-weekly 45-minute chaburah beginning Monday, December 24th (through Monday, February 11th) from 12:15 - 1pm EST.

Dial-in number (515) 739-1294

Access code 382530

Topic: "Derech Emes"

A classic chassidic work written by the author of "Yosher Divrei Emes" (a talmid of the Magid of Mezritch), this sefer focuses on freedom from lust desires.

We suggest purchasing the new edition of this sefer that came out 2 years ago (with good footnotes). If you don't get a chance to buy it, the part we will be using for the shiur can be downloaded as a PDF here (for the full sefer click here).

Dov has been sober in SA recovery for over 20 years and will be sharing his understanding and appreciation of the 8 short chapters of this powerful sefer through the lens of his own experience in recovery.

Note: Unlike the 'Dov's Desperados' call (which is never recorded), this series will be recorded.

The actual text of the sefer will be read and translated during the shiurim. The first shiur will also include an overview of Shovavim based on the ShaLo"H... So bring seat-belts.

Dov sums up the idea behind this series:

"All the truth is in the Torah - and the tzadikim knew where to find it. But we addicts just couldn't get it from a sefer. We need an approach similar to 'Torah Shebal Peh' - a group of other recovering people who are actually putting these ideas into action in their own lives. As chaza"l say: "gedola shimusha yoser milimuda". Later, we often discover those same truths again in seforim which were waiting for us all along. This sefer is a perfect example of this and turns some common conceptions in avodas Hashem on their heads. It's not just another philosophical sefer that speaks only to the mind; Derech Emess shows us how to surrender desire in a realistic way and speaks to the heart. It bravely and squarely addresses inner motives, strengths and weaknesses in a positive way. "

To listen to recordings of previous shiurim (MP3), click here.

To hear the recordings of previous shiurim by phone, dial:

  • U.S: 515-739-1388
  • Israel: 055-966-1154
  • UK: 330 390 2123

Access code: 382530#

Reference No: 60#, 61# and so on...

12-Step call in YIDDISH

New! Yiddish speaking 12 Step call! (Starting Sunday, Dec. 16)

Don’t miss this opportunity!

!א נייע אידישע 12 סטעפ קאנפערענס קאל

יעדער זונטאג נאכט 8:45 מיום א' פרשת ויחי ח' טבת

אויב ביסטו אונטרעסירט, ביטע זיך פארבינדען מיט 'משה' דורך moisheone@gmail.com

For more information about the call, see here.

The Forward talks about GYE

On Yeshiva World News, an Orthodox Jewish news site, typical advertisements ask readers to join the “Stop Talking in Shul!” movement, book a kosher cruise or donate to needy Orthodox institutions.

Alongside the cheery faces of smiling boys and men, there is often a nondescript blue advertisement depicting two silhouettes: one man in front of a computer, head in hands, and another posing triumphantly in front of a mountain.

The tagline reads, “Struggling with a Shmutz problem? You too deserve a Shmutz-free life.”

The schmutz in question refers to pornography, and the organization behind the initiative is Guard Your Eyes, an 11-year-old organization that helps Orthodox men stop watching porn.

While a 2018 Gallup poll found that only a slim majority of Americans believe that pornography is “morally wrong,” for observant Jews, pornography is forbidden. The Talmud, as well as other halachic works, strictly forbid spilling sperm in vain as well as having impure thoughts of women.

But due to the ease of access the internet provides, thousands of Orthodox Jews have struggled to avoid it.

As Guard Your Eyes founder Yaakov Nadel notes, the privacy and ease of viewing pornography online make upholding such a standard more challenging. “With the internet being so accessible and so anonymous, and a person is alone in his office, I don’t care how religious and how spiritual he is. It just takes one little pop-up to pull a person in,” said Nadel.

Nadel, an Orthodox programmer, started Guard Your Eyes in 2007 as a side project. Nadel himself was struggling to avoid online pornography and decided to do something about it. He bought a domain, guardyoureyes.com, and created a forum for observant Jews just like him.

Today GuardYourEyes has over thirty thousand members. Membership is free and the site caters primarily to observant Jews. The organization provides forums, phone conferences, advice videos and WhatsApp support groups to members.

Of course, not everyone in the Orthodox world takes a gentle approach to this communal challenge. “A lot of the standard religious approach to this is a lot of fire and brimstone. That it’s a terrible sin. You’re going to go to hell and you create thousands of damaging angels when you do it and all types of scary things, but that’s not our approach,” said Nadel. “We use a much more positive approach.”

When one goes to the GuardYourEyes website, an animated video of a successful “recovery” immediately pops up. Many of the people who work at GuardYourEyes are individuals who had struggled with pornography addiction themselves.

“By nature we know we’re created with a very powerful desire for these things,” said Nadel. “No one is immune to the pull of these things. It makes no difference if you’re religious or not religious.”

Although GuardYourEyes is designed to help Orthodox Jews avoid transgressing religious prohibitions, Nadel argues that the issue goes beyond simply violating a halachic law.

“There are so, so many reasons that I would tell a person to avoid pornography that have nothing to do with religion,” said Nadel. “It destroys marriages. It warps our expectations. It turns women into objects and the worst part of it is that it can become an addiction.”

Indeed, one secular group, Porn Anonymous, has found that people don’t necessarily seek to quit for religious reasons.

“We’re not allied with any denomination, sect or religious group. It’s open to anyone who’s looking to recover,” said Michael, a volunteer at PA. “Most people that come into PA, including Jews, don’t come for Jewish reasons. They’re not coming because the Torah told them it’s not a good idea to do this or their Rabbi said you really got to work on this. They’re coming because their life became unmanageable. They got addicted.”

While Guard Your Eyes functions like an organization, PA functions more like a regular “12 step” recovery fellowship for addicts, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. Members follow the “12 step program” and attend regular group meetings, either face-to-face or over the phone and internet. Although PA was only founded a few months ago (in Israel) and hasn’t had much advertisement, it already gathered hundreds of members around the world — both Jewish and non-Jewish.

“It’s like any bad compulsive behavior and they just can’t stop,” said Michael. “This is a strong addiction and people that have fallen in it feel like they just can’t crawl out. They come to a 12-step group as their last hope, hoping that there is a solution and there is.”

Do you think you may have a porn addiction?

Do you have a problem with obsessive and compulsive porn use? Have you seriously tried the tools on GYE and feel that you are not getting better? Maybe it’s time to consider joining a 12-Step program.

Porn Anonymous (PA)
If you’re compulsively acting-out with pornography and masturbation we suggest you explore joining Porn Anonymous (PA). If you need help deciding whether to join PA, call Michael at 347-699-2368, or email help@pornanonymous.org to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit pornanonymous.org (Hebrew: p-a.org.il / Yiddish: pa-yid.org).

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
If your compulsive acting-out has progressed beyond the screen (with other people, paid sexual services, etc.) we suggest you explore joining Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). To figure out if SA is for you, call Dov at 917-414-8205, or email Dov at dov@guardyoureyes.org to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit www.sa.org.

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