In his final push for the Presidency, on October 14, 1960, at 2:00 a.m. then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged those 10,000 University of Michigan students in attendance at his rally to serve their country and the cause of peace by living and working in the developing world. This speech culminated in the Peace Corps whose Volunteers have offered their services in 140 countries.
Today celebrates the one year anniversary of another historic “rallying” moment, but this time the venue was in Israel in the esteemed corridors of the Israeli Parliament, and the attendees included Knesset members from across the political spectrum. The cause in this instance was also based on the necessity for “peace” – but at the core level of the Home! The “moment” was a Knesset meeting co- hosted by MK Yehudah Glick and the nonprofit Together in Happiness/B’Yachad B’Osher, where for the first time in the nation’s history, the concept of integrating marriage education as a formal and potentially legal component of Israeli marriage was discussed at the highest levels.
Now, a year later, sadly our tiny nation still has an escalating divorce rate and the welfare of our children is endangered by the fragmentation of the family. And the need to create our own Peace Corp for Marriage Education is underscored by two other “anniversaries” of note.
The Aftermath of the Pittsburgh Tragedy
The topic of marriage dominated a speech delivered by Rabbi Yitzchok Schochet, Rabbi of the Mill Hill Synagogue in London, England to those in attendance at a gathering “Stronger Together: After the Pittsburgh Tragedy.” He invoked the topic of marriage by referring to the recent Torah portion of Chaya Sara and specifically the fact that “Immediately after (our matriarch) Sarah’s death we are told about (our patriarch) Yitzchak getting married and starting a new life.”
In Rabbi Schochet’s concluding remarks, the theme of marriage was tied to what our response to the tragedy in Pittsburgh should be. “When (our matriarch) Sarah’s light went out Yitzhak brought Rivka in to generate a new light, and that onus is on us as well. Torah said that it was within the new light that Rivka brought, that Yitzhak found comfort. Nothing will seal the gaping wound, but as we continue to generate new light the Jewish world will find comfort within that as well.”
The tenth anniversary took place Wednesday of a series of coordinated terror attacks at 10 sites in Mumbai, India, in which 6 Jews were murdered, including Chabad Shluchim (emissaries of the Lubavitch Rebbe) Rabbi Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg HY”D. “Gabi and Rivky, who had established the Chabad House in Mumbai in 2003, were renowned for their love and care for all those they encountered, and their dedication to spreading Judaism to Jews from near and far who visited at their Chabad Center.” Their marriage was a storybook text of love and devotion and a model to emulate.
As a Jewish people, our survival depends on the perpetuation of the family and the preservation on the most important institution – marriage. The time is NOW to Join the Peace Corp movement for Marriage Education – and specifically Pre Marriage Education.
At the May 17, 2011 First International Conference for Marriage Education in Israel sponsored by my nonprofit, the 360 attendees were invited to sign a Declaration.
The most significant provisions stated:
- We will give married couples the opportunity to improve their relationships through various marriage education programs.
- We will involve community activists from all walks of Israel society in marriage education.
As I mention in my final speech at the Knesset meeting, “as a result of this meeting, it is up to each of us to continue the discussions of promoting the topic (pre-marriage education) by legislative and other means to serve as a conduit to effectuate real change for Israeli society and to confront the challenges of divorce and marital strife.”
TODAY, I call on all Israelis to Write
firstname.lastname@example.org with the following words:
YES I WANT TO JOIN THE PEACE CORP for MARRIAGE EDUCATION
Signed by: Your name and email address
and add your voice to those who want to ensure our future of real “shalom bayit” for the next generations.
May we celebrate future anniversaries with simcha (happiness) and confidence.
For more information, visit www.together-in-happiness.com or contact Susan Barth, Founder & Director of the Amuta B’Yachad B’Osher/Together in Happiness at email@example.com