So many new faces came to this, the 11th annual, Frum Divorce weekend. And they ran the gamut of Orthodoxy – chassidic, yeshivish, Modern Orthodox, and everything in between. As usual, we were welcomed by the ever-friendly Debbie Rochlin and Fran Shulman. Whenever I see their smiling warm looks of friendship, I know that the very special weekend has begun.
We were presented with a copy of The Jewish Press and a goody bag of delicious treats by the wonderful Tammy Carmona. She had the Renaissance Hotel decorated with floral beauty that literally took one’s breath away.
After check-in, we went to a July 4th (although it was Friday, the 5th) Bar-B-Que. This was the beginning of mingling and socializing time. Many people came with friends, whether they had previously enjoyed a Frum Divorce weekend or were here for their first time. It was fun to be greeted by so many old friends of past weekends.
Shabbos began and we had a Carlebach davening led by the famous Yehuda Green and the J-Tunes. The davening was so inspiring that I couldn’t help but reflect that the mood was set for a very special Shabbos.
I was the Event Chair of the Friday night program, and after I gave a welcoming address, wherein I commented on the very positive energy in the room, it was time for Dr. David Lieberman, one of the guest speakers of the weekend, to present “The Power of Perspective: How to Live With an Attitude of Gratitude.” He is a gifted speaker and a renowned psychologist, and the topic really resonated with me, as I try to run my life according to that perspective. A delicious Viennese Table followed and then a fun session of speed dating run by my dear friends Dr. Fay Zakheim and Baila Sebrow, Frumi Weinberger and Simon Sez.
Throughout Shabbos, we had the great honor to hear from Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro of North Miami Beach, Florida. This was my first time hearing his divrei Torah and words of wisdom. His stories were incredible and I plan to tell them to my family. I didn’t want his sessions to end.
Shabbos morning shul services were once again beautiful thanks to Chaim Kiss and Yehuda Green. After lunch, a fascinating workshop dealing with real life issues was led by Dr. Fay Zakheim and Dr. David Lieberman. They play-acted a divorced couple and I think it resonated with most of us in the room – especially since solutions to the problems were then discussed by these two well-known psychologists.
All through Shabbos I saw men and women engaged in animated conversations, and a number of young men and women approached the shadchanim for help, which was forthcoming. I spent some time with a very lovely woman, Rachel Greenbaum, from Boca Raton, Florida. This was her first time at the Frum Divorce weekend. She is a beautiful person and I saw some of the men approach her. Although nothing serious developed, she was happy to have come.
After Shabbos was over, we were entertained by Simon Sez and the truly funny comedian Modi, and then enjoyed a Melava Malka and a Kumzitz. It was then that I heard the magnificent voice of Cantor Yossi Pomerantz. And he sang one of my favorite compositions, “Tanya.”
Sunday morning we had the famous Ari Korenblit doing handwriting analysis and Dr. Amy Baker speaking about parent alienation.
It’s hard to capture in words the power of this special weekend. Everyone comes to have a wonderful Shabbos and to hopefully meet “the one” for them. But even if they don’t, they come with an energy that permeates the whole event. And everyone that I spoke to told me they wouldn’t have missed it. Some even said this was the best weekend of all. I agree.
I saved the most important person for last: Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky, the founder of Frum Divorce. We became friends way back when he started Cantors World, and I was so happy to be of help when he approached me about the idea of starting a quality organization to help divorced people meet. Now, many years down the line, he is still very busy putting heart and soul into this very special organization even though he has already met and married his beautiful wife Anna.
Kol Hakavod to you, Benny, and to Debbie and to Fran and to all the others who work so hard behind the scenes to make this one of the best places for serious, divorced people to meet. And may Hashem reward each of you with the blessings that come to those who work on behalf of the tzibbur.