Seattle, Alaska Cruise and Marriage…

July started with Yael and me serving as scholars-in-residence at two OU synagogues in Seattle, WA. On the weekend of parshas Chukas, we spoke at Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath and Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation. My topics included “The Nature of the Haftorah,” “The Real Story Behind Jephte’s Daughter,” and “The Ethical Relevance of Pirkei Avos.” Yael spoke on “All You Need is Love: An Analysis of Birkas Kohanim,” at a Sisterhood event held in a member’s home.

As these words are being written, I am on a boat. More specifically, I am on a cruise ship to Alaska with Drs. Sylvan and Marcy Schaffer. The doctors Schaffer are a most remarkable couple, relationship experts and recent recipients of the OU’s National Community Service Award. We are presenting a series of onboard workshops on the subject of “Transforming Good Relationships into Great Relationships.” This is a great way for loved ones to bond in a breathtaking environment.

Speaking of relationships, the relationship enrichment cruise is followed in short order by the OU’s latest Marriage Enrichment Retreat, run by Community Services and to be held July 15-17 at the Woodcliff Lake Hilton in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. I will be delivering “The State of the Marriage Address,” plus, Yael and I will jointly present “Men are from Mars Women are from Venus: The Jewish Version” and she will speak on “How Perfect Must a Woman Be? In Search for the Perfect Aishes Chayil.” Other noteworthy presenters include Dr. David Pelcovitz, Drs. Sylvan and Marcy Schaffer, Dr. Alex Bailey, social workers Lauren Roth and Rachel Pill, and many others, too numerous to mention. (Hopefully, we’ll be able to thank them all by name in a post-event review.) More information on this sold-out event can be found online at