REFORM MOVEMENT PRE-MARITAL EDUCATION PROGRAM DEBUTS: "THE ALEPH-BET OF MARRIAGE", TAUGHT BY JEWISH PROFESSIONALS
After a successful pilot, a new program to help couples make the successful transition into married life is now being introduced in Reform synagogues across the country.
"The Aleph-Bet of Marriage," a seven-workshop program created by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, is designed to help couples discuss their expectations for marriage, learn to avoid some common stumbling blocks, and share their hopes and concerns with other couples going through similar experiences. Trained Jewish professionals and rabbis will lead the workshops, which will also explore the sacred nature of marriage from a Jewish perspective.
"'The Aleph-Bet of Marriage' will give couples an opportunity to create a successful model of marriage based on their own individual needs," said Lynn Levy, MSW, the UAHC's Director of Pre-Marital Education. "It also teaches men and women how to constructively articulate these needs within the context of their relationships."
In an effort to strengthen the bonds of matrimony, participating couples will also learn about positive communication styles, negotiation, and conflict resolution, and their connection to Jewish teachings and values. The program is open to couples of all ages and sexual orientations, as well as interfaith couples planning to keep a Jewish home
The materials used in "The Aleph-Bet of Marriage" were developed by professionals in the UAHC's Department of Jewish Family Concerns and piloted in synagogues in eight locations, where they received rave reviews from participants.
"The content covered in this workshop can be helpful and enriching to all pre-marital couples -- this course has encouraged us to focus on issues that otherwise would not be discussed," said one participant. "It provided us with a great opportunity to explore topics that we hadn't previously discussed," said another.
Five congregations - Temple Emanu-El in San Diego, East End Temple in New York City, Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, AZ, Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles, and Temple Sinai in Atlanta - will host the program in April and May.
More information about The Aleph Bet of Marriage is also available on the Department of Jewish Family Concerns' Web site. Congregations interested in offering the program should contact Levy at (212) 650-4294.
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.