Over two dozen young women gathered in a private home in Ramat Beit Shemesh on November 29 to attend the “Shidduch Shmooze,” a workshop run by Shalom Task Force to educate them on critical components to look for when dating and choosing a potential spouse.
The workshop – the first of its kind held in a communal setting – was presented by a group of local community members: Yitti Bisk, a kallah teacher; Bonnie Gerbitz, LCSW; and Vivianne Willig, MSW. The presenters described the elements of a healthy relationship and explained the warning signs of an unhealthy one.
The new initiative was a collaborative effort coordinated by the presenters, together with Mrs. Rikki Davies, MSW, Shalom Task Force’s Director of Women's Education in Israel. Participants left the event feeling empowered by what they had learned and armed with a new perspective on the intricacies of a healthy relationship. The women appreciated the small, comfortable atmosphere, which was conducive for a productive and meaningful night of exploring the sensitive and vital issues surrounding marriage and relationships.
“This event was a milestone for Shalom Task Force in Israel since it was community-based, and not seminary-based,” said Davies. “The young women were engaged and involved and it was a wonderful family-like environment. Many of the attendees knew at least one of the presenters, who went out of their way to make the women feel comfortable, creating a familiar vibe and easy flow, which allowed them to ask honest and open questions. There was some authentic sharing amongst the participants, and the open conversations helped them benefit from real-life learning.”
Many women and parents requested that a similar session be held for the parents to explore these crucial topics, and Shalom Task Force hopes to implement that idea in the future, in addition to running similar workshops for women who could not attend this first session.
“We applaud Mrs. Davies and our presenters for leading this successful endeavor and for using their creativity to transfer the content of our seminary-based workshop to this inspiring community-wide event,” said Dr. Alan Singer, executive director of Shalom Task Force. “We hope to run similar events in the future and reach as many young women as we can in different communities around the country.”
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. Your support enables STF to provide quality programs at no cost to participants. Please donate at www.ShalomTaskForce.org. For additional information about our programs, please call 212.742.1478.