Education is critical in recognizing the signs of a healthy relationship, and in an effort to educate as many people as possible and help them navigate the challenges of dating, Shalom Task Force recently held multiple events. In just the last three months, the organization led close to a dozen workshops and interactive discussions for both men and women, at colleges, public venues and private homes in the tri-state area, in addition to workshops at local high schools.
Spearheaded by Avital Levin, LMSW, Director of Women’s Education at Shalom Task Force, these educational programs aim to help both singles and married couples improve their own relationships, as well as give participants guidance on healthy marriages and how to identify and deal with an abusive relationship.
“For many of the young men and women I speak to, this is the first time they’re learning about these critical topics in a forum that fosters in-depth understanding and practical support,” said Levin, who often partners with mental health professionals and other organizations to present the workshops to diverse groups of participants. “Each program is tailored to the specific audience we are addressing, and they are so grateful for the opportunity to hear about and discuss these sensitive topics in the proper setting.”
Programs and interactive workshops have been held at several college campuses including Queens College, Brooklyn College, Columbia University-Barnard College and Stern College for Women. From exploring myths about relationships and intimacy, to helping participants recognize toxic dynamics and feel more comfortable addressing relationship challenges, and from tips on how to nurture strong relationships to guidance on healthy mindsets in dating and marriage, a broad range of topics was addressed.
Last month, student Kayla Gottlieb attended an all-women’s Shalom Task Force workshop called “Making the Connection,” given by Levin and psychotherapist Rachel Hercman at Stern College, in conjunction with YUConnects and the YU Counseling Center. Gottlieb was amazed at how much she was able to learn and internalize about these timely topics.
“The workshop was incredibly enlightening,” said Gottlieb. “The presenters spoke about healthy mindsets in both dating and marriage and discussed ‘dating myths,’ and explained why these common misconceptions are really not rooted in reality. They were informative, approachable, and delivered such rich and complex ideas in a digestible and practical way. The workshop gave me a reality check in what should be expected and what should be the proper goals in healthy relationships. I think this kind of program should be mandatory for all young women in this stage in life. The workshop gave us invaluable tools to help us navigate the dating stage. I walked out feeling excited and confident that there were answers to all of our relationship questions and concerns.”
Several Shalom Task Force programs were held for young professionals, including a workshop at Roots Eitz Chaim focused on navigating the boundaries of dating; an all-women’s paint night and educational lecture for Camp Simcha alumni on embracing imperfections; and a men’s-only program at the White Shul which touched on expectations versus realities in dating, and the differences between healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships.In addition, an event was held in Crown Heights together with Adai Ad, for mothers of daughters who are single and dating, to discuss a mother’s role in her children’s shidduchim. To find out about upcoming programs, contact Avital Levin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded 23 years ago, Shalom Task Force promotes peaceful family resolutions and healthy marriages for Jewish families. STF offers legal services and maintains an anonymous domestic abuse Hotline (718.337.3700) that has received thousands of calls. The organization also sends staff members to speak about relationships to Jewish high schools across America and seminaries and yeshivas in Israel.
For more information, please call 212.742.1478 ext. 8, visit www.ShalomTaskForce.org or email email@example.com.