In anticipation of Rosh HaShanah, Emet Outreach’s new Couples Division recently hosted two inaugural workshops. The topic was “A New Year. A New You: Strengthening Your Relationship with Hashem, Your Spouse, and Yourself.” Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, Co-Founder and Director, and Rabbi Nissim Musheyev, Community Development Director, were the keynote speakers. Held on consecutive evenings at the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates, couples had the option to attend on either date. The interactive workshops drew a combined crowd of 50 couples and set the stage for a new era of supporting couples and building Jewish families at Emet.

“I was so happy to introduce myself and greet couples at these amazing evenings,” said Shay Yonaiev, Emet’s new Couples and HR Director, who organized the events and served as MC. “These workshops were open to everyone from newlyweds to those with young families. They are the beginning of what we hope will be more in-depth educational and social opportunities for Emet’s growing couples community.”

Upon arrival, attendees mingled and enjoyed a delicious Chinese and sushi buffet, as well as a wine tasting. Then it was time for the interactive sessions. Shay opened the evening by explaining all the resources Emet offers couples, and the learning opportunities for men and women. He then turned the floor over to Rabbi Rutenberg, who is not only well known to many of the couples since their college days but is also a licensed clinical social worker with a specialty in couples counseling. Rabbi Rutenberg explained the goals of the workshop and introduced Rabbi Musheyev.

With his signature warmth, Rabbi Musheyev discussed “Positive Living.” He focused on personal growth and growing in one’s relationship with Hashem. He directed the couples to fill out worksheets on everything from positive thoughts to feelings of gratitude and actions that can bring about inner peace for themselves and their spouses.

Next, it was back to Rabbi Rutenberg, who enthralled the couples with his practical and sensitive approach to delving into marriage. “An emotionally healthy couple is the foundation of every Jewish family,” Rabbi Rutenberg said. “I wanted to guide our couples to start the year with the right mindset and connection with one another.” He explained that working on marriage is a life-long goal and that all marriages need work. He encouraged the couples, among other things, to work on self-care and to make sure that they are taking care of their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. Rabbi Rutenberg said that in our hectic and fast-paced lives, we often neglect the importance of self-care, and this can be very detrimental to many aspects of our relationships. The couples were given additional worksheets, including ones to assess their level of self-care.

Emil Isanov, who attended with his wife Miriam, commented that “the Emet workshop was a great opportunity to explore my wife’s mindset and perspective. We both learned more about each other. We discussed what we are grateful for, where we are lacking, and also what we appreciate about one another. We look forward to another meaningful workshop to deepen our understanding of the dynamics of our marriage.”

The Emet team is looking forward to holding the next workshop in October. “It was really incredible to see how enthusiastic all the couples were for our first workshops in this new division,” Shay said. “Everyone really participated, and they appreciated the hands-on experience that was interactive and not a typical lecture. We plan on hosting similar workshops every month with different speakers and relevant topics like parenting, shalom bayis, and spirituality.”


For further information about Emet’s Couples Division email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To learn more about Emet’s programs, visit, and to experience Emet’s comprehensive video library of Torah lectures, visit