Balancing the many roles of an Orthodox Jewish woman, as mother, wife and professional is challenging when factoring in Shabbat and holiday preparations. When she is also a Rebbetzin, the rabbi’s wife, the addition of communal responsibilities can be very overwhelming. These responsibilities can include being an educator, fundraiser, matchmaker, Kallah teacher, hostess, outreach worker and party planner, among others. A rebbetzin needs to successfully handle these obligations.
To address these concerns, the Orthodox Union’s Department of Community Engagement and Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future will be presenting the 2014 South Florida Rebbetzins’ Conference: Learning, Sharing, Chizuk. This event will give rebbetzins the opportunity to discuss how they can gain individual self-awareness to enhance their success in their multi-faceted roles. The conference will be held in the Young Israel of Hollywood-Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday, February 16th from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The OU member synagogue is located at 3291 Stirling Road, Ft. Lauderdale.
A Dvar Torah will be given by the principal of the Weinbaum Yeshiva High School in Boca Raton, Mrs. Ora Lee Kanner, an inspirational speaker and teacher. The guest speaker is Aliza Schulman, LCSW and psychotherapist, who has a private practice in Boca Raton. She will be speaking on the topic “Personality Counts! Understanding Yourself to Maximize Your Potential.”
Rebbetzin Judi Steinig, Young Israel of Bayside (Queens, NY) and Associate Director of Community Services at the OU’s Department of Community Engagement commented, “This conference is a time for rebbetzins to share their experiences, learn from each other, and give one another chizuk (strength). Rebbetzins of varying levels of experience across the Orthodox spectrum will be in attendance. The purpose of the program is to enable each woman to become aware of her individual strengths and limitations so that she can appropriately prioritize, organize and maximize her effectiveness. ”
Rebbetzin Meira Davis of the Young Israel of Hollywood-Ft. Lauderdale, consultant for Rebbetzin Programming at the Center for the Jewish Future, noted, “Today’s world is a very different place from previous generations. A rebbetzin has more roles than her predecessors. Most of today’s younger rebbetzins are engaged in full-time careers in a wide spectrum of professional fields, including education, counseling, social work, law, medicine, business and Jewish communal work. It is a continuing balancing act for them to manage their time to meet their family, community and professional needs.”
The balancing act, according to Rebbetzin Steinig, “differs for each rebbetzin depending on the size of her family, ages of her children, elder care responsibilities and her career. The rabbi and rebbetzin need to work as a team to ensure that the needs of their family, community, and marriage are all being met.”
Referring to larger and smaller communities, Rebbetzin Davis added, “‘ In-town’ and ‘out-of-town’ communities present different challenges. Out-of-town needs can be greater because there may be no other resource available for teaching Taharat Hamishpacha (family purity), kashrut, etc. and for guiding and inspiring women to live a Torah-true life. The rebbetzin’s involvement may be more pivotal there to enhance the growth of the community and the success of her husband’s rabbinic leadership. In larger communities, the rebbetzin may not need to be involved to the same degree because other resources are available. This South Florida conference provides rebbetzins with the opportunity to discuss issues of self, family and community in a safe and supportive environment. The interactive workshops offer them the ability to network, develop lasting relationships and nurture a support system”.
Registration for the conference is $25 and includes catered lunch and program. Please RSVP in advance online at www.ou.org/rebbetzin. For more information, please contact Judi Steinig at firstname.lastname@example.org (telephone: 212.613.8188) or Meira Davis at email@example.com (telephone: 954.646.6207).