I have long felt that in addition to being a talmid chacham, the next best and most critical quality for a rabbi to have is the ability to be a skilled counselor to the many individuals and families who walk through a rabbi’s door. I have also long believed that all rabbis must have some type of degree, certificate or real training in individual or family counseling.
Without question, this part of the rabbi’s job is critical for dealing with the many complex family and personal issues that come up in the course of a rabbi’s career, and sometimes even in the course of a single working Shabbat. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons I do not work as a rabbi today. I didn’t realize in my early 20s, as I was studying for semicha, how critical the pastoral/counseling role was in serving as a contemporary rabbi, and at the time, I didn’t feel that Hashem put me on this earth to serve in this kind of role. I wasn’t equipped for it or mature enough at that stage in my life and my career (although I regretted it later in my 30s).
Why do I bring this up now?
I bring it up because I thought about my limited professional experiences in the fields of marriage counseling and Jewish marriage/divorce when our recent columnist and advertiser Robert Kornitzer of Kornitzer Family Law suggested that we put together a unique dialogue and webinar on this very topic and invite our readers and community to listen in. His suggestion was that we bring together a noted rabbi, a veteran psychologist, an expert family law attorney, along with a skilled moderator, to discuss some of the hot topics and issues and yes, even some of the controversies that exist today in the realm of family law, halacha, gittin, pre-nup agreements, etc.
And that’s exactly what we did. In partnership with Kornitzer Family Law, we are proud to announce and invite you to join us this coming Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 1 p.m. for a first-ever online panel and dialogue titled “Insights & Complexities, a Dialogue on Jewish Marriage & Halacha.”
The panel will be led by our own weekly columnist Rabbi Haim Jachter who, in addition to his rabbinic and teaching roles at Cong. Shaarei Orah (The Sephardic Congregation of Teaneck) and TABC respectively, is also a well known expert in gittin and a dayan as well. Robert Kornitzer will serve as our expert attorney with decades of experience in family law and representing one of the leading local law firms in this field. Dr. Edward Berger is a veteran psychologist who has worked with and counseled hundreds of couples, individuals and families over the years. The panel will be moderated by our own editor and associate publisher Elizabeth Kratz, a veteran media professional.
While I don’t want to give away all of the topics to be discussed next Tuesday, I will say that in our planning call I learned that there are more areas of sharp disagreement and controversy in these matters than I had originally thought there would be. The interplay between the demands of the secular legal divorce process, and the need to follow halacha, and also to ensure the family’s legal, financial, emotional needs is a thorny and complex process. There is a lot to say on these topics and we are looking forward to a good, healthy discussion. We hope you will consider joining us.
To sign up for the event this coming Tuesday at 1 p.m., go to www.kornitzerfamilylaw.com.
For more info, see the ad on page 12 or see the banner on our website or check your inbox for emails from The Jewish Link. (Special thanks to Alan Murphy of Law Office Success for helping to put this event together on a number of levels.)
By Moshe Kinderlehrer,
Jewish Link Co-Publisher