Susan Barth
Advocate for Marriage Education in Israel

Celebrate Family Day: talk to each other

Today is Family Day (Yom HaMishpacha) in Israel. Fittingly, this is also Rosh Chodesh Adar, the happiest, most joyous month of the Hebrew calendar. Family Day should be a day of rejoicing for us all.

However, unless you have children in elementary school, where events such as Family Day are still celebrated, you will most likely go through the day without any awareness of its significance.

If I were campaigning for the renewal of any day, it would be Family Day. The idea of family members taking time out of their busy days to acknowledge what they mean to each other is something that our society is in dire need of experiencing. With Facebook and Tweeter, iPads and iPhones, and SMS messages flying wildly back and forth, we seem to have forgotten what it means to simply be together; to engage with each other in a meaningful way.

Family values need to be elevated. Family Day should be recognized in the workplace and given national prominence in the Knesset for key reasons that include:

• The concept of family in Israel is unique, due to the fact that as a nation we absorbed so many new immigrants fleeing persecution

• The family unit is essential to Jewish survival based on the demographic realities of our shrinking numbers

• Judaism is based on the concept of family and it is a core value that has accompanied the Jewish people throughout the ages

• It is important to commemorate days which are observed by all.

However, for the day to actually have real meaning, family members must commit to engaging in activities or family projects that will enhance positive communication. It is up to each and every parent to check their own actions and set the stage for positive communication for their children.

If parents’ interactions are characterized by acrimony and negative emotions, the atmosphere in the home is deeply affected. Conversely, positive relationships foster an atmosphere of love and mutual support and trust.

In the article “How to Have Happy Kids by Working on Your Marriage”, Ellen Seidman stresses what family behavior researchers have found: a strong bond between parents is the heart of a happy family. Seidman writes, “A strong relationship provides security for children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be. What could be more important?”

In order to foster marriage communication, Together in Happiness (B’Yachad B’Osher), the organization I founded to bring marriage education to Israel, has launched a Family Day campaign called “Will You Listen to Me.”

On this day, married couples commit to one hour of listening to each other. Both husband and wife agree to speak for 30 minutes each, on a topic that is important to them, while their spouse listens carefully. Each couple commits to doing this once a week for the rest of the year.

We owe it to our children to create a safe home environment, and to celebrate Family Day in unity and harmony.

During the week of Family Day, B’Yachad B’Osher / Together in Happiness invites married couples to register, free of charge, for its marriage education workshops held throughout the year.

For workshop registration email: or call: 054.729.4964

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About the Author
Susan Barth is founder and director of Israeli non profit Together in Happiness/B'Yachad B'Osher, promoting stronger, healthier marriages impacting Israeli society. A Project Management Professional (PMP) and businesswoman from the US, Susan sponsored and chaired the First International Conference on Marriage Education in Israel (attended by over 360 professionals) in Jerusalem in memory of her parents and launched I-PREP, an innovative marriage education curriculum. On November 8, 2017, Together in Happiness co-hosted with MK Yehudah Glick a historic Knesset seminar promoting government support for pre-marriage education