Susan Barth
Marriage Education, Enrichment / Enhancement & Advocacy

President JFK Make the Call – WE Can Answer

The date of November 22 holds special significance for many of us as the date President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, often referred to by his initials JFK was assassinated in 1963 in Dallas, Texas.  What was remarkable about his short three years in office was the number of challenges he made to people of all ages to get involved in helping foster peace on a global scale.

A Rallying Cry for a Peace Corp

One such initiative in particular which has had a global impact was his vision of a Peace Corp which consisted of sending talented men and women out of America to dedicate themselves to the progress and peace of developing countries.  The idea proved to electrify especially the youth as described in an article entitled The Founding Moment.

A “Peace” Corp Initiative Closer to Home

I also found the idea of a Corp dedicated to “peace” to be tantalizing and this Hebrew month of Cheshvan commemorates the 5th anniversary of a special event for pursuing the cause of “peace.”  The “moment” was a Knesset meeting co- hosted by our 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 marriages was discussed at the highest levels.

The Precedent is Set

What the Seminar demonstrated is that there is a precedent for Marriage Education to be discussed in the corridors of the Knesset and the coming days provides a window of opportunity to raise awareness of the necessity for marriage education once again especially to benefit the pre married and newly married couples.

What I am proposing is a variation of what President Kennedy proposed and to initiative a Peace Corp for Marriage education with its base in Israel but its opportunity to expand internationally in the days ahead.

Pre Marriage Education Defined and its Benefits

The question as to what is pre marriage education and what are the benefits that would be worthy of making it the subject of a Peace Corp can be summarized as follows:

Premarital education focuses on teaching the skills and principles associated with healthy and happy relationships. It differs from therapy in that it uses a structured curriculum and is guided by facilitators who usually work with small groups of engaged couples.

Some of the benefits are:

  • Couples establish a relationship with someone they can consult to help them solve marital problems later on if needed
  • It aims to lower the risk of divorce and identify problem areas before the wedding
  • It complements the taharat hamishpacha course (which focuses on Jewish laws of family purity)
  • It serves as a bridge between the wedding preparations and the marriage itself and soothes the transition
  • It enables couples to experience:
    • Improved communication
    • Better conflict management skills
    • Higher dedication to one’s spouse
    • Greater emphasis on the positive aspects of a relationship
    • Improved overall relationship quality
  • The training demonstrates that couples are committed to collaborating together to solve problems that may arise
  • Encourages couples to evaluate the magnitude of what they are about to undertake
  • Allows couples access to a wealth of information previously unknown to them
  • Provides the opportunity for a couple to:
    • Assess potential conflict areas stemming from different views on money, parenting, etc.
    • Better understand how personality and family history can influence your relationship
    • Openly discuss views on love, divorce
    • Define and discuss expectations for marriage, finances, work and children

The Need is NOW

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.

My final speech at the Knesset Seminar provides the impetus for joining the cause.

Here is the link:

What better opportunity is there at this auspicious time to take a page off the script of the late President Kennedy and commence our own Peace Corp for Marriage Education and in doing so we have the potential to help couples gain the benefits outlined above and create the awareness that true Peace starts in the HOME and for us Jews that is our secret to our survival.


Please let us hear from you by writing

and add your voice to those who want to ensure our future of real “shalom” for the next generations.

About the Author
Susan (Sarah) Barth is founder and director of Israeli non profit Together in Happiness/B'Yachad B'Osher, promoting stronger, healthier marriages impacting Israeli and English speaking countries' societies. 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 a historic Knesset seminar promoting government support for pre-marriage education
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