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September 07, 1984 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-09-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

24

Friday, September 7, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

JUST ASKING...

On the Shabbat of Sept 8

the following Congregations in

Metropolitan Detroit

will salute

BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY

as it enters its thirtieth academic year.

MAY ITS PRINCIPLES OF UNCOMPROMISING

QUALITY AND CONCERN FOR THE JEWISH

PEOPLE GUIDE IT IN THE FUTURE AND BE A

WORTHY EXAMPLE FOR JEWS EVERYWHERE.

Rabbi Efry Spectre
ADAT SHALOM SYNAGOGUE

Rabbi Chaim Bergstein
CONGREGATION BATS -CHABAD
OF FARMINGTON HILLS

Rabbi Meilech Silberberg
CONGREGATION BAIS CHABAD
OF WEST BLOOMFIELD

Rabbi A. Irving Schnipper
CONGREGATION BETH ABRAHAM-
HILLEL-MOSES

Rabbi Milton Arm
CONGREGATION BETH ACHIM

Rabbi David A. Nelson
CONGREGATION BETH SHALOM

Rabbi Leizer Levin
CONGREGATION BETH TEFILO
EMANUEL TIKVAH

Rabbi Morton F. Yolkut
CONGREGATION B'NAI DAVID

Meyer Levin, President
CONGREGATION B'NAI ISRAEL-
BETH YEHUDAH

Rabbi Dr. Philip Blachorsky
CONGREGATION B'NAI ISRAEL
OF WEST BLOOMFIELD

Rabbi Stanley M. Rosenbaum
CONGREGATION B'NAI MOSHE

Rabbi Chaskel Grubner
CONGREGATION DOVID BEN NUCHIM

Rabbi Noah M. Gamze
DOWNTOWN SYNAGOGUE

Sherman Shapiro
SYNAGOGUE LIAISON

Rabbi Edward Feigelman
CONGREGATION SHAAR HASHOMAYIM
WINDSOR, ONTARIO

Rabbi Leo Goldman
CONGREGATION SHAAREY SHOMAYIM

Rabbi Irwin Groner
CONGREGATION SHAAREY ZEDEK

Rabbi Shaiall Zachariash
CONGREGATION SHOMREY EMUNAH

Rabbi Betzalel Gottlieb
MISHKAN ISRAEL, NUSACH H'ARI,
LUBAVITCHER CENTER

Rabbi Dannel I. Schwartz, Senior Rabbi
Rabbi Norman T. Roman, Associate Rabbi
Dr. Richard C. Hertz, Rabbi Emeritus
TEMPLE BETH EL

Rabbi Lane Steinger
Dr. Milton Rosenbaum, Rabbi Emeritus
TEMPLE EMANU-EL

Rabbis M. Robert Syme
and Harold Loss
Rabbi Leon Fram, Founding Rabbi
TEMPLE ISRAEL

Rabbi Ernst J. Conrad
TEMPLE KOL AMI

Rabbi Reuven Drucker
YOUNG ISRAEL OF GREENFIELD

Rabbi James I. Gordon
YOUNG ISRAEL OF OAK-WOODS

Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg
YOUNG ISRAEL OF SOUTHFIELD

Donald Fox
Paul Zlotoff
GENERAL CHAIRMEN

Jewish Marriage Encounter

BY ELLYCE FIELD
Special to The Jewish News

What exactly is Jewish Mar-
riage Encounter? Can anyone par-
ticipate?
Sue and Gordon Shlom re-
turned home from their weekend
Jewish Marriage Encounter ex-
perience fuill of enthusiasm,
mutual understanding and com-
mitment. They began telling
friends about the weekend, know-
ing their friends would also bene-
fit from such an experience.
Sue explains, "Our friends
looked at us like we were weird,
asked a few questions and dis-
missed the entire story as
threatening. We quickly decided
to keep marriage encounter to
ourselves."
Sue and Gordon's positive
weekend experience and sub-
sequent commitment to monthly
marriage encounter meetings was
not dampened by their friends'
reactions. However, their experi-
ence explains the marriage
encounter community's reluc-
tance to actively recruit couples.
It also pointS out the problem
marriage encounter has with
serious misconceptions.
Sue and Dan Stettner, Jewish
Marriage Encounter's current
Michigan region executive
couple, list some of these miscon-
ceptions. Jewish Marriage
Encounter (JME) is not a
"California-style" t-group; it is
not therapy; it is neither confron-
tational nor stressful.
Rather, marriage encounter
was conceived in the 1950s by a
Jesuit priest in Spain who wanted
a vehicle which would enhance
and strengthen committed mar-
riage. Dan explains that the
"encounter" part of the title is just
an incomplete translation of its
Spanish counterpart. A more
complete translation would be
marriage "enrichment" or "dis-
covery." In some parts of the coun-
try, the movement has been re-
named Marriage Enrichment.
Jewish Marriage Encounter is
part of the international marriage
encounter communty; made up of
other religious denominations'
encounter organizations. While
the communication techniques
and structure of all marriage
encounter organizations are simi-
JME offers Jewish couples a
uniquely Jewish experience and
perspective.
Sue Stettner defines JME: "It is
fundamentally a 44-hour experi-
ence in couple communication."
Twenty to 30 Jewish couples meet
at an area hotel for a weekend of
listening, learning, re-evaluating
and private sharing with one's
own spouse.

The structured weekend, be-
ginning at sundown Saturday and
ending Monday evening, is di-
vided into two parts. A "present-
ing team," made up of three lay
couples and one rabbinic couple,
presents topics for discussion and
explains a structured communi-
cation technique. After each pre-
sentation, couples return to their
room to discuss their feelings,
using the newly-acquired com-
munication technique.
The presenting team members
offer the group personal vignettes
examining couple commitment
and sharing of feelings. There is

no cross-sharing or group discus-
sion. Couples are encouraged to
spend most of the weekend in the
privacy of their hotel room using
the communication technique
which stresses open listening and
mutual respect.
JME offers couples the oppor-
tunity to leave their complicated,
fast-moving lives for 44 hours.
Chiltren, responsibilities and
jobs are momentarily pushed
aside: Couples are able to focus on
one another, to talk openly about
their feelings, to practice a com-
munication technique that is safe
and non-judgemental.
An of the couples interviewed
agreed that the JME weekend
was an intense, special experience
that enhanced their mutual re-
spect and rejuvenated a closeness
that hadn't been felt since early in
their marriage or during their
dating years. Leslie London, who
attended a JME weekend in 1977
with her husband Jeff, explains,
"We felt a wonderful closeness
and strong sense of commitment.
We had a secure feeling that we
would work hard to keep our
communication open."
In a world where people view
marriage as a non-binding com-
mitment, JME honors the Jewish
concept that a strong marriage is
the central unit of life. Dan Stett-
ner explains, "JME validates
marriage and says verbal inti-
macy is O.K. It teaches couples
how to grow. Judaism needs
committed marriages and strong
families."
Couples of all ages with caring,
loving marriages are the best
candidates for JME and are likely
to benefit the most. However, it is
usually the woman who suggests
JME and is willing to attend.
Each husband interviewed con-
fessed he was reluctant to go and
was pushed by his spouse but felt
he had benefited greatly.
"Most men are resistant," Jeff
London says. "We tend to be less
comfortable with the idea of
spending a weekend talking. I
thought, 'Why not go to Las

Vegas?' Men grow the most and
have the most to learn."
Dan Stettner adds, "Men a/
trained to hide their feelings an I
not be open and sensitive. It .s
hard for many men to go beyon d
their style. JME gives men pe--
mission to be open and say it s
O.K. to be a sensitive, caring pe: -
son."
Couples who would like to con-
tinue practicing the new com-
munication skills while exploring
issues and feelings may join
JME monthly group. Like the
JME weekend, the couples par-
ticipating in monthly groups re-
present a cross section of the
Jewish community. They are from
all age groups, have been married
varying number of years, and
have different educational and
career backgrounds.
For Leslie and Jeff London, this
diversity offers a variety of
perspectives they would not find
within their social circle. Issues
helpful to personal growth, family
stability and child-rearing are
discussed in an open and non-
judgemental form.
The monthly meetings rein-
force skills taught during the
JME weekend and are helpful to a
couple's personal growth. Sue
Shlom explains, "Once a month I
know that everything is dropped
and Gordon and I have Linic, to
explore our feelings and practice
our communication skills."
JME has been in the Detroit
area for eight years.
JME is a non-profit organiza-
tion funded solely by participants'
contributions. The costs for a JME
weekend vary depending on each
couple's ability to pay and desire
to contribute to the organization.
There are three weekends held
throughout the year. After each
weekend, an information night is
held for interested couples. To be
placed on a mailing list or to re-
ceive notification of an upcoming
weekend or information night,
call either Carl and Shirley Bliss,
354-0889; or Shel and Sharon
Rocklin, 553-6794.

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