“The Emet Couples Retreat is a getaway we look forward to every year. It’s that time when we can go away, reconnect, and reflect on ourselves as a couple and as parents,” Marianna and Boris Musheyev explained when discussing why the annual three-day event is a priority on their calendar. The Musheyevs spent Thanksgiving weekend with 325 Emet alumni and staff at the majestic Ocean Place Resort and Spa in Long Branch, New Jersey. Designed to promote spiritual and marital rejuvenation, the retreat balanced Torah concepts and growth-oriented learning with a variety of activities. “This retreat is a treasured part of our scheduled yearly programs since it’s like a family reunion,” said Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, Emet Co-founder and Director. “We’ve watched so many of our couples grow from the time they were single college students, and we’re honored to still be part of their lives as they build their own families.”

The thought-provoking theme for the weekend was the “elevation” of the main relationships in life: each individual’s relationship with Hashem, with his or her spouse, and with themselves. Upon arrival on Friday afternoon, couples received a comprehensive program booklet and were able to map out the lectures and workshops that were most relevant to them. “We planned the many elements of this retreat to not only be relaxing and share Torah, but also to offer options for meaningful learning so that the couples would gain a renewed appreciation for their marriage,” said Shay Yonaiev, Emet Couples Director.

Throughout Shabbos, the m’laveh malkah held on Motza’ei Shabbos and culminating Sunday morning, participants felt the warmth and achdus of being together at lavish meals and were uplifted by the constant stream of insightful lectures. Lecture topics ranged from profound Torah concepts to practical tips to enhance marriage, relationships, intimacy, and parenting. Select sessions were geared towards couples based on how long they were married, and at times there were separate sessions for men and women to delve more deeply into certain topics.

Along with Rabbi Rutenberg, and Shay, speakers included members of Emet’s dynamic staff: Rabbi Mordechai Kraft, Rabbi Nissim Musheyev, Rabbi Reuven Kigel, Mrs. Devorah Kigel, Mrs. Rivka Muskat, Mrs. Shonnie Rutenberg, Rabbi Michael Fuzaylov, Rabbi Eliyahu Maksumov, Rabbi Ari Hertz, and Rabbi Hersch Goldberger. New guest lecturers included Mrs. Rochel Goldbaum, premier women’s educator; Rabbi Naftali Reich, a renowned lecturer who synthesizes chasidic concepts with inspiring themes; Rabbi Joey Haber, speaker extraordinaire; Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier, author of Ten Really Dumb Mistakes That Really Smart Couples Make, which was gifted to every couple at the retreat. In addition, there were crowd favorites who returned, like Dr. Akiva Perlman and his wife Dr. Tamar Perlman, licensed clinical psychologists, who shared their wealth of knowledge and experience.

Couples who attended were thankful for all aspects of the retreat. Elizabeth and Daniel Kariyev commented on the important tools for daily marital connection: “Emet’s couples retreat allowed us to rekindle what was buried underneath the daily stresses of life. Between work, children, and chores, we can sometimes forget our spark as husband and wife. Emet guided us to not only reignite the light, but also gave us practical tools to help us keep the fire burning.”

Regina and Michael Etgar shared the spiritual component of the classes: “The retreat was a spiritually invigorating experience that helped us reconnect as a couple and with Hashem. It took a few years to be able to feel comfortable leaving our kids behind for the weekend, but now we’re anticipating the next one. Our favorite part was the variety of intellectually stimulating lectures that helped us connect our heads to our hearts. We also really enjoyed all the different people coming together in achdus to celebrate and rejoice in Hashem’s gift of Shabbos!”

The retreat was perfectly suited to recently married couples like Rebecca and Samuel Sabzanov: “This was a new experience for us a couple, and we really enjoyed learning and growing together with our friends and role models from Emet. The ocean view was stunning, the speakers were incredible, and it was a beautiful Shabbos we will remember.”

Planning has already begun for next year’s experience; but in the meantime, couples are invited to attend Emet’s exceptional monthly workshops and events.


For further information about Emet programs visit EmetOutreach.org. To experience Emet’s comprehensive video library of Torah lectures, visit www.EmetTorah.com.