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Posts Tagged ‘Touro College’

The Bum Class

Wednesday, September 24th, 2003

When Rov Pam, a”h, gave me the go ahead to do Pre-Marital counseling, I knew in time I would add more topics to my curriculum. But I never dreamed that I would be talking about teenagers at risk to a couple that just go engaged! But the fact remains that I do. Couples are getting nervous about what is happening to our youth and how it will affect their future. It seems as if a war has broken out, and our youth is under attack. At present, yeshivas are at a loss about what to do and have a “zero tolerance” approach to dealing with the problem. Once the child is asked to leave the yeshiva he/she will find it difficult to gain entrance to another. This will start a cycle of rejection, anger, rebellion and finally teenage depression – an “at risk” cycle that our sages were quite aware of, and avoided at all costs

Many years ago, I received a phone call from a Rosh Yeshiva in Brooklyn who stated that he needed my help with one of his staff members, who had once been a student of his. I was working for an agency called The Federation Employment and Guidance Service that provided career testing and guidance. As we spoke, he explained that this rebbe’s class was just completely out of control. He continued to tell me that the rebbe’s wife was having a hard time dealing with all this stress and wanted a divorce. Perhaps being a rebbe was just not for him. He then told me that he had contacted a contractor that he knew who would be willing to hire this young man as an apprentice installing ceramic tiles. “If you feel that he has the potential to do the job, I will make the call” he said, “but first I have a confession to make. In yeshiva there was always a feeling of defeat, on the part of the rebbe, with the boys who were not ‘into’ learning. These boys were different from the rest. So, rather than expel them, we separated them and gave them their own rebbe to work with. As the years went by, these boys graduated and married. Some went to college, others went into business and became very productive in the community. The point is that I was wrong about them! The very same boys we wanted out became the baal-batim of today! They not only support us, but they also support several other yeshivas!” I did not dare interrupt him as he spoke, but I knew he was talking about the bum class-a system class that saved hundreds of youth from becoming teenagers at risk. The Vilna Gaon cites a talmudic passage on the famous pasuk, “educate each child according to his ability.” It was a time in history when the yeshiva world ruled with their heart and followed the words of the Vilna Gaon. It seemed as if the yeshivas gave over the responsibility of the bum class to the yetzer hara, who just took control and changed the name to teens at risk. A week later, I met with the young man, as we reviewed his test scores. He seemed to have some disabilities, but they were manageable. But with time and patience he could learn the tile business. Today, this very same rebbe has his own tile business and helps support the yeshiva in every way.

Because this rosh yeshiva followed the words of the Vilna Gaon and put the children’s priorities even before his very own, he was zoche to save hundred’s of boys from becoming teens at risk, and in turn keep shalom bayis within their homes.

Moishe Herskowitz MS., CSW, is a marriage counselor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the counseling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education.  For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 435-7388 or at CPCMoishe@aol.com.

Starting All Over

Wednesday, July 16th, 2003

When searching for a partner in marriage we are often attracted to people who are different than we are. Sometimes the very same qualities we find charming and exciting are the ones we find ourselves trying to change after marriage. Rather than understand, accept and appreciate our partners for who they are, we turn the differences into the source of our frustration, irritation and dissatisfaction. Many couples try to change their partners to be more like themselves. These couples sincerely want things to be better between them, but because they don’t understand the problem they can’t figure out how to fix it. They start criticizing, complaining and blaming each other. This blame is the downfall for most couples. Instead of negotiating, they demand change. But without counseling this change is not always for the better.

About one third of the divorced people who re-marry tend to repeat and to carry over the same or more complicated personality and relationship problems into their second marriage. When I council couples who are divorced and now want to get married we start all over, once the couple understands each other’s personality type they can have more compassion and support for who they are and nurture the qualities that the other partner values, not just the ones that they value.

The curriculum I use is the same as in Pre-Marital Counseling. We cover twenty-one topics in seven sessions. But the difference is that each person comes into the marriage with wounded pride, and a lot of pain. Loyalty issues may arise for the children since they often hope secretly that mommy and tati will get back together again. As bad as the home situation was, many of these children still grieve for the previous family structure.

The role of the Pre-Marital Counselor is crucial. The complications of couple conflict are such that distortion of perception by one or both prospective mates can often affect the marriage. As the couple will start all over, Pre-Marital Counseling will hopefully change harmful habits, relieve emotional stress, clarify issues and develop insights which will result in personal and spiritual growth so that the couple can once again achieve shalom bayis, and a build a makom kodesh.

CPC – Center for Pre-Marital Counseling, is endorsed by Rabbi Pikus of COJO of Flatbush, and leading rabbonim and Torah authorities in the NY community.

Moishe Herskowitz MS., CSW, is a marriage counselor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the counseling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education.

For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 435-7388 or at CPCMoishe@aol.com.

Choosing Your Mate

Wednesday, June 18th, 2003

Choosing a life partner is possibly the most compli­cated process of a lifetime. In this article, we will try to define, understand and explain how we choose a part­ner. To do so, we need to have some understanding and awareness of the dynamics that bring a man and a woman towards marriage. It starts with the word attraction.

Hashem sends a powerful homing device in search of a mate. Partners choose each other on the basis of their potential to complement each other, depending on how much growth or change is needed. The process of attraction takes place on three separate levels: 1. At­tachment Stage, 2. Conflict Stage, 3. Healing Stage.

Every relationship involves an integration between many levels. Each level is comprised of a complex bal­ance of needs, growth and potential for change. These levels can separate, integrate or enmesh as the couple works on unresolved issues of the past.

Depending on a person’s midos (character traits), Hashem determines how many levels will be used to stimulate growth, change and healing.

Level One: The Attachment Stage. This attachment occurs on a conscious, external level. Couples are attracted to each other on the basis of similarities such as religion, education, physical criteria and social class.

Level Two: The Conflict Stage. This is a deeper level, as the couple come to terms with the differences between them. The qualities that we find charming and exciting during our engagement can become, over time, the chief source of our frustration and dissatisfaction. Rather than understand, accept and appreciate our partner’s differences, we resist by trying to change our partners and make them more like us! Many of us do this by complaining and criticizing our partner’s char­acteristics and natural tendencies.

Level Three: The Healing Stage. The couple ar­rives at an integrative stage. Many of the dynamics of this stage happen at a deep, unconscious level. Couples in some way choose each other on the basis of their potential to induce change and heal unresolved issues of their pasts. At the healing stage, they begin to accept each other as they really are. This acceptance is deeply emotionally healing.

Partners frequently look to the marriage relation­ship to fulfill a void in their life, and to provide a caring and loving environment. If the marriage goes in the right direction, it can indeed provide a powerful healing force of energy in which the two neshamos can grow and heal throughout a lifetime.

If the emotional energy of the couple is positive, they can focus on the present and thus move on to the future. If the emotional energy of the couple is negative, they will stay focused on the past, only to recre­ate and carry over painful memories and emotional wounds into their present relationship.

The physicists were right: energy is never lost, it just changes form. Many of us unconsciously attempt to duplicate the familiar patterns of our childhood. Child­hood patterns, whether positive or negative, are famil­iar, and familiarity brings security and comfort.

Many years ago, I attended a bris in Canarsie, Brooklyn, where the Rav spoke about the conceptual framework for growth. He stated that whenever the To­rah mentions the word “vayehi” (and it was) in the past tense, the results were negative. I spoke to him in. depth regarding this statement, and the Rav said that the To­rah is hinting to us that living in the past can only bring pain and sorrow. The future is where growth and happi­ness lie.

Pre-Marital Counseling can give clients the knowl­edge to understanding their relationships. This frees them to become aware of how their differences and simi­larities complement each other. It provides understand­ing, acceptance and appreciation as positive strategies in achieving shalom bayis.

Moishe Herskowitz MS, CSW, is a marriage counse­lor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the counseling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and a coun­seling consultant to F.E.G.S. At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counse for for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education. For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please con­tact Moishe Herskowitz at 435-7388 or at CPCMoishe@aol.com.

Forgiven But Not Forgotten

Wednesday, May 14th, 2003

There is something about an approaching wedding that can cause a state of emotional upheaval. This should be of no surprise. In most cases, marriage reflects two sets of personalities; the chassan’s and the kallah’s. The parents too are involved. They produce a relationship that is more than the sum total of themselves. This relationship includes their family, and yet a separation is about to take place for both parent and child.

In working with many couples, I find that one parent or sometimes both sets of parents cannot adjust to the “loss” of their child. They may accept the union at the conscious level, but not at the unconscious level. As a result, communication misunderstandings between the future in-laws begin to develop. Statements like “who pays for what?” and “you promised this!” become heated discussions for both the couple and the parents. Parents frequently ventilate their dissatisfactions to their children in hopes for some support, which makes the separation so much more difficult.

But in time, parents do achieve a degree of detachment and adjustment and all is forgiven. But for the chassan and kallah, all is not forgotten.

As Rabbi Shmuel Dishon, shlita, states “the engaged couple is sensitive to the environment and people around them.”

What the chassan and kallah had hoped for was an affectionate alliance between families. But what they got was years of resentment towards their in-laws.

Pre-marital counseling helps prevent misunderstandings. The couple understands themselves and their partner’s family so that issues of the past do not become issues for the future.

When I met with Rav Pam, zt”l, regarding pre-marital counseling at CPC, he stated that this program should be an extension of every chassan and kallah class.

Moishe Herskowitz MS., CSW, is a marriage counselor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the counseling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education.

For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 435-7388 or at Ladino23@aol.com.

A Window Of Opportunity

Wednesday, April 17th, 2002

An alarmingly high percentage of youth grow up with no preparation for marriage, as evidenced by the break-up rate of marriages in the Jewish community. They may have been told, but not taught how communication and problem-solving skills create harmony for more shalom bayis (a peaceful home) in a marriage.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 43% of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years. Unfortunately, the Jewish divorce rate is on the rise, with problems in marital relationships as a major factor.

Q. What is Pre-Marital Counseling?

A. Prevention. It provides an opportunity for the engaged couple to learn new on how to improve communication and resolve conflict, creatively. The couple comes a long way in self-understanding, acceptance and appreciation for each other’s similarities and differences — skills necessary for marital success. Pre-Marital Counseling can bring a couple closer to achieving shalom bayis before marriage, than what most couples have achieved after one, two, or even three years of marriage.

Q. Is Pre-Marital Counseling for couples with problems?

A. NO. The couples who come for Pre-Marital Counseling have no significant problems. Pre-Marital Counseling has demonstrated excellent results, not only in preventing divorces, but also in enriching the lives of couples through learning skills for marriage enhancement.

Q. When a couple gets engaged, isn’t much of their personality already established?

A. That is not necessarily true, says counseling psychologist Dr. Aaron Rutledge and past president of the National Council of Family Relations. He states that the Pre-Marital stage is one of the greatest teach able moments and opportunities for learning in a lifetime that can also effect positive changes in personality.”

It seems that for a short period of time, a window of opportunity is opened for empathy and emotional growth that would take years to accomplish later on. Within a minimum amount of time, a couple could learn to develop the potential to understand themselves and each other’s personalities.

Rabbi Shmuel Dishon, shlita, states in his lectures to new grooms that, the neshamas of the engaged couple are still soft, flexible and adaptable. During that time, the couple is able to become sensitive to the environment and people around them. But as they reach their wedding and first year of marriage (shana rishona), their personality traits start to harden like cement. They become structured and established, and the results can be very positive or very negative.

In doing marital counseling, I find that many of the marital conflicts I come across are traceable to unresolved issues during the engagement period and in the first year of marriage.

CPC — Center for Pre-Marital Counseling, is endorsed by Rabbi Ezekiel Pikus of COJO of Flatbush, and leading rabbanim and Torah authorities in the NY community.

For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 435-7388 or at Ladino23@aol.com.  Moishe Herskowitz MS., CSW, is a marriage counselor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the counseling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education.

Making The Adjustment

Wednesday, February 27th, 2002

Before marriage, the engaged couple has a tendency to emphasize similarities rather than their differences. It’s normal for the couple to idolize each other, and since both are on their best behavior, they fail to learn much about their differences in personality. After Sheva Brachos they are launched upon life as a married couple and true personality traits and value systems become more apparent. Gradually, the two may recognize that they are not in such close agreement on everything as they may have thought they were during the engagement period.

A rav in the community shared a case with me that he felt needed follow-up.

Breindy and Naftoli*, a young couple married for just over a year, tried to talk about their frustration, but their inability to reach each other only led to more frustration and misery. At 2:00 o’clock in the morning, they came banging at the door of their rav’s house. Breindy, in the heat of anger, insisted that he should prepare a Get (divorce) right there and then! When the rav finally calmed the couple down, Breindy stated, “I can’t live with someone who never says ‘I love you’!” Naftoli then responded, “Must I verbalize everything? It should be understood.” The rav then explained to Naftoli that women enjoy a maximum of explicit verbal communication. They want to be told how much they are loved!

In Pre-Marital Counseling, couples are alerted to the fact that their needs always have to be measured against the needs of others in a relationship. So, even though you might not need an “I love you,” someone close to you may.

After meeting with the young couple, it became apparent that they loved each other very much and were willing to adjust but didn’t know what they were adjusting to. Breindy did not know that Naftoli’s personality type tends to be reluctant to share inner thoughts and feelings. Naftoli did not know that Breindy’s personality type needs to hear “I love you” to establish closeness and intimacy. How they learn to give and receive affections becomes increasingly important in the marriage. Breindy and Naftoli wished they had gone to Pre-Marital Counseling sooner.

“Willing to adjust” is what Pre-Marital Counseling is all about. They realized that understanding, appreciation and acceptance of each other’s differences are the building blocks of a makom kodesh (holy place). As Rabbi Shmuel Dishon, shlita, states in his lectures to grooms: “If you prepare yourself before marriage in building a makom kodesh, then Hashem will grant you a makom kedusha (a holy and spiritual home) as part of the sanctity of your marriage.

*Names changed for privacy.

CPC – Center for Pre-Marital Counseling, is endorsed by Rabbi Pikus of COJO of Flatbush, and leading rabbonim and Torah authorities in the NY community.

Moishe Herskowitz MS., CSW, is a marriage counselor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the counseling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education.  For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 435-7388 or at Ladino23@aol.com.

Independence Day

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2002

Most married couples face the problem of maintaining both independence in their marriage and a relationship with their parents. Can the partners achieve a degree of detachment and at the same time reassure their parents that they will remain loyal, respectful and affectionate? Can you as partners shift loyalty from your parents to your spouse and leave your childhood with its remembered mixture of pleasure and pains? As hard as the transfer of loyalty may be to achieve at the outer level, it can be even harder to achieve at the psychological level. Your defensive self may lash out at your partner’s attempt to help you set better boundaries with your parents. The wife’s mother maybe very sensitive to the way in which her daughter is treated because the daughter symbolizes herself to some degree. In some cases, she becomes a mother-in-law at the time her own child-rearing career has practically ended. She may perceive that her role of helpfulness may not be needed or appreciated and the failure of her newly acquired son to express gratitude may only enhance her own emotional reaction.

In Pre-Marital Counseling, it becomes obvious that preparation for marriage is a joint process of counseling and instruction; enough counseling to bring understanding and awareness and enough instruction to bring appreciation and acceptance. When a couple realizes that making changes in the parental family in not the purpose, but rather increasing their own understanding and changing their own feelings about perceptions, tension is relieved. With Hashem’s help, the couple will come a long way from total dependence upon parents to a stage of independence; to live a life of self-sufficiency and shalom bayis.

CPC – Center for Pre-Marital Counseling, is endorsed by Rabbi Pikus of COJO of Flatbush, and leading rabbonim and Torah authorities in the NY community.

Moishe Herskowitz MS., CSW, is a marriage counselor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the counseling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education. For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 435-7388 or at Ladino23@aol.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/independence-day/2002/01/23/

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