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May 30, 2003 - Image 65

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-05-30

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Sacred Commitment

ebbetzin Esther Jungreis tells lots of stories in her
new book, The Committed Marriage
(HarperSanFrancisco; $23.95). Each anecdote
has a lesson for living a better spousal life, and they all
relate to the teachings of the Torah.
Jason, for example, is unhappy with his marriage after
only five months. Known by the rebbetzin before his
wedding, he reveals his woes after seeing her at an air-
port. The rebbetzin listens and then explains the reli-
gious reasons for taking on more positive attitudes and
seeing the good in one another.
"Marriage is always something that you have to work
on," says Jungreis, who has presented her religious view-
points during speaking engagements in Michigan.
"Although Torah makes provisions for divorce, most
marriages can be salvaged with the proper advice."
Jungreis, 67, the widow of Rabbi Meshulem HaLevi
Jungreis, traces her religious instruction to a long line of rab-
binic family members and uses those teachings in her book,
where she explores becoming a desirable mate, building a lov-
ing relationship, being your own advocate, communicating


Orbuch, whose upcoming book dis-
guises the identity of the couples in
her study, looks at the stories of what
has kept some couples together and
what has broken others apart. She has
found that the most crucial factor is
the degree to which people feel valued
and worthwhile in their relationships.
"I want to bring a research perspec-
tive to help people understand and
learn in a way that does not become
dry, boring and statistical," Orbuch
says. "One of the things I write a lot
about is that there are really his and
her differences in relationships.
"Reaction to conflict is one example
of the wide differences in behavior
shown by women and men. While
women generally are much more sensi-
tive to conflict and cannot let it go, men
seem to have conflict and move on."
Orbuch, married to software sales-
man and manager Stuart Jankelovitz,
is a member of Congregation Shaarey
Zedek, where she has conducted work-
shops for members. She also volun-
teers at Hillel Day School, where her
own daughter, Abigail, is a student.
Also the biological mother of a
younger son, Joshua, Orbuch is the
stepmother of three.
"My workshops are for people who
want to enrich their relationships and
have them grow," explains the sociolo-
gist, who relaxes by exercising at the
Jewish Community Center.
"My workshop sessions are not nec-
essarily problem focused. I lead groups
in many areas, such as marriage
enrichment, grandparent connections
and mother-daughter relationships."
As the prime month of weddings
gets under way, Orbuch is heading for
a professional meeting on relation-
ships, called the "Compassionate Love
In her own work, she has found that
passionate love declines over time in
any romantic relationship and turns to
compassionate love.
Orbuch, who grew up in
Minnesota, says her father, a psychia-
trist, and her mother, a teacher, nur-
tured her interest in relationships.
"I became interested in mental
health and well-being when I was very
young," says Orbuch, who has
appeared on local television shows.
"I've always enjoyed relating to other
people." ❑

Terri Orbuch can be heard at
7:10 and 7:20 a.m. Thursdays on
WNIC 100.3-FM. To pose a dis-
cussion topic for her segments,
go to vvww.wnic.com .

without hurting and growing old
together in dignity among many
other marriage-related topics.
As a teacher of Torah, she
believes that Judaism commands
that everyone be married. She also
professes that adhering to timeless
rzi s ESTIlr It'NORI:1$
values can help spouses overcome
the times that are difficult.
The rebbetzin, a Holocaust survivor
who also celebrates her work as a fee-
less matchmaker, is founder and presi-
dent of Hineni (Here I Am), an inter-
national outreach organization with centers in New York and
Jerusalem and accessed on the Web at wwwhineni.org.
Besides providing classes in Judaism, the center spon-
sors special events and a matchmaking service.
"Married couples have to establish their priorities,"
says Jungreis. "I hope this book will help readers look at
their lives differently."

A 0.4e



a . 4.116owitir


— Suzanne Chessler

Holy Possibilities

abbi Dennis Ross does not devote his latest book
strictly to relationships in marriage, but he does
explain a general philosophy that can be applied
to relationships in marriage.


God in Our Relationships: Spirituality between People
from the Teachings of Martin Buber (Jewish Lights
Publishing; $16.95) brings home the concepts expressed
in Buber's "I and Thou" outlook — specifically, that
holy possibilities are present whenever people interact.
"Martin Buber presented his very simple ideas with
very ornate language as was the style of the time," says
Ross, a hospital chaplain, trained social worker and con-
gregational rabbi at Temple Anshe Amunim in Pittsfield,
Mass. "I took Buber's important thoughts and presented
them in common language and with lucid examples."
Through stories passed down through Jewish tradition
and stories of his everyday encounters, Ross probes inter-
actions that make or detract from social experiences. From
a brief conversation with a bank teller to family discord
expressed by a couple about to marry, Ross offers points

of identification and analysis.
"Sometimes in marriage we lose
track of the 'Thou' of the other —
the person's specialness, goals and
hopes," says the rabbi, also the
author of The Ten Commandments:

From the Shadow of Eden to the
Promise of Canaan.
"I think each of us needs to take
the time and make the effort to see a
marriage partner as 'Thou,' a unique
and wonder-filled human being."
Ross' book looks at daily encounters, uplifting gestures,
risks and faith. He brings his own family into the book to
provide a very personal setting for his ideas, and he tells
about Buber's life to give context to the philosophy.
"I want my readers to know that I am seeking to
enrich faith, not to dispute or disprove the faith of my
readers," Ross says.
— Suzanne Chessler

Interfaith Opportunities


oan Petersen Littman, who lives with her family in
Troy and is a member of Congregation Shir
Tikvah, talks about her adjustment experiences as
co-author of Making a Successful Jewish Interfaith

Marriage: The Jewish Outreach Institute Guide to
Opportunities, Challenges and Resources (Jewish Lights
Publishing; $16.95).
Working with Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, Littman, brought
up in a Christian home, aimed to offer practical advice
for dealing with the sensitive issues faced by couples
with different religious backgrounds.
"God and religion were always important to me,"
writes Littman, an educator and staff developer married
for 30 years. "It wasn't until I married Larry that Jewish
religion became so important."
The book provides reasons for believing an interfaith
marriage offers opportunities for spiritual growth and an
increase in the Jewish population as long as there can be
patience, community support and time for development.
Chapters explore ways to relate to other family mem-
bers, make decisions about children, celebrate holidays
and life-cycle events and face conversion. There also are
suggestions of resources in agencies and texts.
"This book doesn't pretend that everything can be con-


Spirituality bet
between Peop
from the Teachings of
Martin Riker

kung a Success,


quered by love, but it su ests that
interfaith marriages can be success-
ful," says Olitzky, executive director
of the Jewish Outreach Institute and
0,441* CIP ileV"
author of other books on spirituality.
aka &roma ,
"It also suggests that many inter-
faith marriages are not 'interfaith'
at all. Rather, they are Jewish mar-
riages where the partners simply
come from different religious back-
Olitzky, who points out that there
are 1 million interfaith marriages in about 3 million Jewish
family households in the United States, uses the statistic as a
reason for inclusion activities. Through the organization he
heads, many programs are developed for interfaith couples.
"There is virtually no family in the American Jewish
community that is not touched by interfaith marriage —
mine included," the rabbi says.
"While our book affirms the personal autonomy of
individuals making decisions, it shares with them the
challenges they face, helping them to navigate through



— Suzanne Chessler






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