18 May 2010


The Orthodox Union’s Department of Community Services has just released what promises to be an outstanding program and list of presenters for its Marriage Enrichment Retreat this summer, the weekend of July 9-11 (also Camp Visiting Weekend for parents of children in summer camp). Held at the Woodcliff Lake Hilton in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, this is to be the first marriage retreat held by the OU following the release of the findings of its recent landmark online Aleinu Marriage Satisfaction Survey.

According to Frank Buchweitz, OU National Director of Community Services and Special Projects, and coordinator of the Marriage Survey and weekend retreat, this year’s event will be based both upon feedback from the survey results and evaluations from the last marriage retreat, held in 2008. He noted that there will be skills-based educational workshops geared towards three areas: those seasoned in their marriages; those in developing marriages; and those in their first year of marriage. He added that “many couples have arranged for inclusion of their young married children to learn and develop important skills for making their marriages start off on the right foot.”

The survey results determined that marriages among Orthodox Jews tend to be positive and happy, with a majority of spouses saying they would get married again to the same person. The results also indicated that there is a growing “perception” that the divorce rate is rising, and there is a marital satisfaction “down-period” starting well in advance of 20 years of marriage and picking up when hitting the 30 year mark. Even in the best marriages, “conflict is inevitable,” with the leading “triggers” being financial stress; communication difficulties; problems with intimacy/sexuality; and just not enough time for each other.

The OU has been organizing these retreats since 2003. Participants from past retreats wrote, “I loved the openness of the sessions as well as the no-nonsense approach of the presenters. It was well researched and professionally run,” and “Interesting topics, great suggestions, elegant speakers, and an opportunity to meet couples from diverse backgrounds and enjoy time together.”

An excellent staff of Orthodox mental health professionals, who specialize in marriage enrichment, will be present at the retreat and will lead workshops and programming. The program and distinguished experts joining the 2010 retreat include:

•Welcome and Overview of Weekend and OU Marriage Survey Results
Frank Buchweitz, Conference Coordinator

• Communication: I’m Listening…Are You Still Talking?
Sylvan Schaffer, J.D., Ph.D.– Clinical psychologist specializing in family and marital psychotherapy, and an attorney with emphasis in family and employment law.
Marcy Schaffer, Ph.D. — Specializes in individual and family therapy, including premarital and marital counseling.

• Learning to Grow Together…and Not Apart: Actualizing Emotional Closeness
Rabbi Mordechai Glick, Ph.D. — Clinical psychologist in private practice in Montreal, rabbi of Montreal’s Congregation Ahavat Yisroel, and Professor of Psychology at Champlain College in Montreal.
Nina Glick, B.S.A.P.S. — Relationship expert and highly regarded speaker on marriage enhancement.

• Navigating Relationships with the In-Laws and Your Married Children: It’s All Relative
Aliza Schulman, L.C.S.W. — Psychotherapist with focus on individuals, couples and families; former senior social worker at Jewish Board of Family and Children Services

• Empty Nesters: How to Live Happily Ever After
Mordechai Glick, Ph.D., and Nina Glick, B.S.A.P.S.

• The Overscheduled Marriage: Finding Time for Each Other
Rachel Pill, L.C.S.W. — Co-founder and co-director of The Long Island Guidance and Wellness Center, a mental health agency providing groups and workshops on topics such as parenting, shalom bayit (peace in the home), premarital education, and divorce.

• Part I: Communication Busters and Enhancers: What Kills It and What Makes It Stronger
Aliza Schulman, L.C.S.W.

• Part II: Communication Busters and Enhancers Couples Practice
Aliza Schulman, L.C.S.W.

• Honey, I’m Home! Changing Roles and Expectations
Dr. Jonathan Lasson, Psy.D. — Psychotherapist in private practice specializing in the treatment of marriage-related issues. Dr. Lasson is the creator and founder of the CAKE PREP (Chosson And Kallah Education and PREParation) program for couples engaged to be married.

• Do You Want to Be Right, Or Do You Want to Be Happy? How to Fight Fairly
Rachel Pill, L.C.S.W.

• Plenary on Medical Aspects of Intimacy (MEN)
Scott Chudnoff, M.D. — Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

• Intimacy in Marriage: Understanding Intimate Relationships in the Developing Marriage (MEN)
Jonathan Lasson, Psy.D.

• Intimacy in Marriage: Rekindling the Seasoned Relationship (MEN)
Mordechai Glick, Ph.D.

• Intimacy in Marriage: Understanding Intimate Relationships in the Developing Marriage (WOMEN)
Rachel Pill, L.C.S.W.

• Intimacy in Marriage: Rekindling the Seasoned Relationship (WOMEN)
Nina Glick, B.S.A.P.S.

• Plenary on Medical Aspects of Intimacy (WOMEN)
Scott Chudnoff, M.D.

• Overcoming Financial “Stressors” in Established Marriages
Sylvan Schaffer, Ph.D., and Marcy Schaffer, Ph.D.

• Financially Ever After: Considerations and Challenges as Marriages Develop
Aliza Schulman, L.C.S.W.

• Interactive Discussion: Sharing Insights and Best Practices of What Has Worked in Your Marriage
Mordechai Glick, Ph.D., and Nina Glick, B.S.A.P.S.

• The fun-filled and hilarious game: “Not the Newlywed Game…Or How Well Do You REALLY Know Your Spouse After All These Years?”

• How Well Do We Really Know Each Other?
Jonathan Lasson, Psy.D.

• Dating Never Stops: Creative and Fun Ways to Still Court Your Spouse as the Years Go On
Toby Jungreis, Marital Counselor — Family therapist, counselor, and author of five books including How to Make Your Fifties the Best Time of Your Life.

•Do Children Increase of Decrease Marital Satisfaction? What Couples Should Know
Alan Singer, Ph.D. — Marriage and family therapist with vast experience in family service agencies and parenting workshops at community centers.

• Re-Marriage, Blended Families, and Children—How Do We Make It Work?
Sylvan Schaffer, Ph.D., and Marcy Schaffer, Ph.D.

• I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change: Conflict Resolution and Conflict Management
Aliza Schulman, L.C.S.W.

• What Your Children Learn From Your Marriage
Rachel Pill, L.C.S.W.

• Luncheon and Concluding Thoughts of How to Turn Your Marriage Into a Great Marriage
Mordechai Glick, Ph.D., and Nina Glick, B.S.A.P.S.

In addition to these top-quality workshops, the weekend will feature gourmet meals and excellent Hilton Hotel accommodations, including a full-service spa with separate pool hours. For more information, including prices, or to register, contact 212-613-8188 or visit www.oucommunity.org.