A Heart to Heart with The Intimacy Helpline

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Post Sun, Jul 11 2021, 10:11 am

☎ HELPLINE: 646-746-4343 - đź•— MON & WED 8:30PM-10:00PM / TUES & THUR 9:30AM-11:00AM EST

A conversation with the Ani Ledodi Helpline chairwoman.

Q: What is the Ani Ledodi Helpline?

A: The Ani Ledodi Helpline is a discreet and anonymous referral telephone helpline run by women for questions and concerns regarding intimacy and women’s health in every stage of life.

Q: Aren’t there other organizations and hotlines that deal with this?

While other organizations deal with taharas hamishpacha, fertility, and domestic violence, Ani Ledodi Helpline deals specifically with intimacy and women’s health.

Q: This sounds like a very sensitive subject.

Yes it is, and we tread carefully to make sure that the many issues in all areas of intimacy are addressed by competent and sensitive professionals of the highest caliber.

Q:What steps have you taken to ensure acceptance in the religious community?

The first step we took was to obtain rabbinic advisors. We have haskomos from Rav Noach Isaac Oelbaum and Rav Hershel Schachter and other prominent rabbonim across the religious spectrum. These rabbanim have shown us sensitivity in every area of women’s health - they specialize in all areas of taharas hamishpacha, fertility and s-xual abuse. Our advocates understand the halachic and hashkafic implications of what women are grappling with. We have rabbinic and kallah teacher referrals that cover the religious spectrum and will refer a rabbinic posek or kallah teacher according to the callers preference.

Q: Why is this facet of marriage so important to address?

Emotional and physical bonding are basic needs of all human beings and a key component in strengthening marriages.
According to many experts, lack of emotional and physical intimacy is one of the primary concerns impacting marital fulfillment. Intimacy has been shown to decrease depression, increase happiness and well being and is a strong component of physical health. A lack of intimacy in a marriage is one of the most critical predictors of divorce. While most young religious adults go to a chassan or kallah teacher before marriage, sometimes they may not know how to truly connect. Many are reluctant to go back to their rabbonim or kallah teachers, whether it is because of shame or more commonly, a lack of awareness. Ani Ledodi Helpline can prepare them to ask the right questions to the correct professionals including rabbonim, kallah teachers, therapists and physicians who have expertise in this area.

Q: What can a woman expect when she calls the Ani Ledodi Helpline?

It takes a lot of courage to take that first step. We understand how difficult it is and we are kind, supportive and non-judgmental. Time and again our callers thank us for being there for them to provide a listening ear. Our advocates are trained to deal with situations that most people find uncomfortable. We give the caller an opportunity to be open and honest to our advocates who triage the client so they can plan the next step. Our callers feel validated and more confident to make the necessary adjustments for themselves and for their marriage.

Q: What happens when a client asks a shaila?

Our advocates do not pasken shailos. They refer the client to our list of rabbanim. However, our advocates are able to give insight and help clarify the particular question or concern. They can then offer suggestions and/or referrals for competent therapists, rabbonim and other health professionals.

Q: How can we find out more?

We have a website that goes into greater detail. Please visit us at Aniledodihelpline.org.
Our hours of operation are Monday and Wednesday evenings from 8:30-10pm and Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:30-11am. Our phone number is 646-746-4343.

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