OU’s Positive Jewish Marriage Retreat Brings150 Loving Couples Even Closer Than Before

23 Jul 2007


Almost 150 loving Jewish couples are even more loving now – and more understanding of each other’s needs, feelings, emotions, hopes, dreams, desires, mishegases (eccentricities), expectations, financial concerns, parenting techniques, relationships with in-laws and other components of a happy marriage – thanks to their participation earlier this month in the Orthodox Union’s Positive Jewish Marriage retreat, held at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

“I loved this retreat. It was great for both my husband and me, as a couple. I am leaving here feeling so GOOD about my marriage, much better than when I came. Thank you so much for doing this,” wrote one wife on her evaluation following the conclusion of the Friday-Sunday event, which featured, of course, a special Shabbat program.

“We loved it. We had a great Shabbos. Thank you so much helping enhance our marriage,” wrote one couple.

Positive Jewish Marriages, a companion to the OU’s Positive Jewish Parenting programs, was held in recognition that family life is at the heart of the Jewish experience, and that the particular demands of the Orthodox lifestyle — including financial pressures caused by yeshiva tuition as well as the need to balance religious needs with the demands of family and work, mixed in with a large dose of time pressure and the requirements of a household in which both spouses work and therefore have less time for each other – can disrupt even the most loving marriages.

“The retreat was not intended to repair broken marriages, but rather to strengthen already strong unions, and that is what we have done,” declared Frank Buchweitz, OU National Director of Community Services and Special Projects, who coordinated the event.

The response from participants agreed with his conclusions.

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in such a growth experience – we feel we have gained and learned so much,” a couple wrote. “Thank you for a beautiful and meaningful program. Please keep us informed if you have other such retreats like this. I really feel this was a great opportunity to recharge our marital batteries,” a wife declared.

“Interesting topics, great tips, eloquent speakers and an opportunity to meet many couples from diverse backgrounds. We enjoyed the weekend immensely. It offered couples an opportunity to leave their usual routines and enjoy more time together. The retreat exceeded our expectations. We are sure that everyone who attended can’t wait to attend the next event,” were the comments of one couple.

A number of couples who have been married for many years suggested that a program be held intended for couples in their early years of marriage to prepare them for the challenges of raising a family, dealing with finances, and other appropriate topics.

The next event may be in your community. To bring “Positive Jewish Marriages” to your community, or your synagogue, contact Frank Buchweitz at frank@ou.org, or 212-613-3188.