Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Av 5766 - August 1, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Sasson v'Simchah
by Dena Neuman

Part I

"If you have been dating for a few years and haven't been able to develop a connection with anyone after several dates, it's possible that a dating mentor can help you." That is how psychotherapist Rosie Einhorn and family lawyer Sherry Zimmerman see it.

As founders of the organization Sasson V'Simcha - The Center For Jewish Marriage, they know from experience. They have been advising singles, training mentors, and giving workshops to singles, parents, and members of the community for close to ten years. They regularly receive "mazal tov" calls, informing them of an engagement, from people who have read their book, Talking Tachlis - A Single's Strategy for Marriage, or have heard them speak, as well as individuals they have mentored. Many of these callers are people who had been dating unproductively for years and actualized success after they changed their mindset, attitude, or dating technique. With the help which Sasson V'Simcha and its founders provided, many others have been able to identify and overcome "roadblocks" that in the past kept them from moving forward.


Sasson V'Simcha had its inception more than 13 years ago, when an outreach director in the U.S. sent Mrs. Einhorn two young women who were frustrated by years of unsuccessful dating. The rabbi was acquainted with Mrs. Einhorn's work helping children and adults using various therapies, and thought that the young women could also benefit from her guidance.

"At first I thought, why is he sending these girls to me? There is nothing wrong with them. They just didn't meet the right one yet. What can I do to help them?" explains Mrs. Einhorn. "But as I began seeing them and discussing their lives, experiences and thoughts, I saw that both of them had unresolved issues that were preventing them from building a connection with someone. Difficulties that they had experienced in their adolescence caused each of them to look for the wrong type of person, and each one also had psychological and informational concerns that needed clarification. After a period of counseling, these young women had a clearer understanding of themselves, and the personal qualities that a good partner for them should possess. They were better equipped to recognize their `soulmates,' who each appeared on the scene the following year."

Mrs. Einhorn didn't counsel any other singles until she moved to Eretz Yisroel with her family in 1994. Although she opened up a private psychotherapy practice with a desire to help whomever she could, educators who had heard of her work in the U.S. began to refer singles to her. Within a matter of months, singles were the main focus of her practice and many of them became engaged and married, after learning about themselves and understanding their needs.

Mrs. Einhorn discussed her achievements with her long-time friend, Mrs. Zimmerman, who had moved to Eretz Yisroel with her family at about the same time. In the U.S., Mrs. Zimmerman had worked with many singles in her capacity as a family lawyer. They decided to pool their information, experience and resources and wrote their first book, Talking Tachlis, which was published by Targum Press in December 1998. Finally, there was a "how-to" book that gave frum singles information that they could use — and use it they did.

As the authors traveled to various Jewish communities throughout the United States and Israel and met with singles, they realized that there were large numbers of frum, unmarried men and women who were clamoring for advice and guidance. They met with talented, visionary community leaders who shared ideas about the many services that could be implemented to meet the needs of large numbers of marriage- oriented men and women and their families.

Mrs. Einhorn and Mrs. Zimmerman decided to form a non-profit organization to provide these services, and to devote a portion of their professional lives to helping more Jewish men and women achieve their goals of meeting the right person and building a healthy, enduring marriage. Their board members include Rabbi Berel Wein, Rabbi Hanoch Teller, Mrs. Tziporah Heller, and Dr. Yisroel Levitz.

Mrs. Einhorn and Mrs. Zimmerman have since written In The Beginning - How to Survive Your Engagement and Build a Great Marriage. They also wrote a chapter in the book, Rabbinic Counseling. This book, authored/edited by Dr. Yisroel Levitz and Rabbi Abraham Twerski, has different mental health professionals discussing counseling techniques that work with different problems in our community. They have facilitated communities in Europe, the U.S., and Canada set up a variety of services to help singles marry, by training matchmakers, dating mentors, and therapists, and they continue to advise singles through their lectures, newspaper columns and one-on-one counseling. They have graciously agreed to share some of their advice with our readers, as well.

What are some of the issues that are preventing singles from getting married?

Rapid changes in Western standards have a lot to do with it. As much as we attempt to insulate ourselves from secular society, some of its values creep into our worldview. Today, secular society says that it is okay to be single, and that marriage doesn't have to be a major life goal. Unmarried people are no longer described in derogatory terms such as bachelor or spinster; being single is an acceptable lifestyle choice. As much as frum people desire to get married, and do suffer in their single state, many of them do not experience the same pressure and feeling of no alternatives that used to be prevalent.

At the same time, people's expectations about marriage partners have skyrocketed. It used to be enough to put two nice people together; they had enough in common, would get along, and decide to build a life together. In our day, singles and their families have lists and lists of what they are looking for. Unfortunately, many of the items on these lists have little to do with what makes a good marriage partner.

Another problem is that many singles just don't know how to date properly — what to discuss and expect at which point in the process. Or, their timing is off — they or their parents think they are ready for marriage, but they really aren't. Or they are ready, but they cannot go out because of an older sibling. Lastly, many singles encounter some sort of obstruction — something that seems to hold them back. It could be unresolved anger at a teacher or parent, feelings of low self-esteem, perhaps due to interactions with relatives or classmates, and all kinds of insecure thoughts that have mushroomed as they grew up. They may find themselves thinking, perhaps subconsciously, 'Why would anyone want to marry me?' As time passes, the situation can become more difficult.

How do you go about getting people to discard, or overcome negative feelings?

When Rosie meets with clients individually, she helps them discover what is holding them back from dating successfully, whether it be negative feelings, fears, repressed anger, or anything else that might be keeping them from achieving their goal. We do this by discussing their family background, the way in which they grew up, and what makes them the person they are today.

We look at their past dating patterns and discuss their thoughts and feelings, to try to discover what, if anything, could be blocking them. When we find an obstacle, we use various therapeutic techniques to try to eliminate it. We employ a goal-oriented approach to help the course of therapy move quickly, because the clients want to be able to date successfully for marriage as soon as possible. The therapy has benefited many clients, who have gone on to find the right person and get married.


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