Emet Outreach is known for its bold, innovative approach to kiruv and Torah growth. On Sunday, November 11, the organization gave its couples an unforgettable experience to deepen, enhance, and strengthen their relationships. Spouses spent several hours engaged in fun and exciting activities, laser-focused on bonding with each other.
At this dramatically fresh and cutting-edge event, Couples’ Boot Camp in the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates, hosted by Emet’s thriving, fast-growing Couples’ Division, 34 spouses took several hours from their busy weekends to focus on their relationships. It was loaded with exciting workshops, fun activities, and rigorous exercises (literally), designed to help couples communicate better, appreciate each other more, and spend positive time together.
The Boot Camp was led by Rabbi Refael Ribacoff, a renowned couples’ counselor and founder of “Table for Two” events, who has been teaching chasan classes for over two decades.
Fully Interactive Workshops
Rabbi Nissim Musheyev, Director of Emet’s advanced Torat Emet Division, who helped organize the Boot Camp, said that an event like this can penetrate much more than a lecture. “Lectures are nice,” he says, “but there is nothing as powerful as a hands-on workshop with exercises and activities that couples can be actively involved in. Less talking, more doing.”
Rabbi Ribacoff agrees, saying that he believes that an event like this can have a long-lasting impact. “When you hear a lecture, you may be inspired; but when you get home, it’s hard to know what kind of effect it will have,” he says, adding, “This was a fully interactive workshop, designed to build communication skills, help couples bond, and understand who your spouse really is.”
Rabbi Ribacoff carefully created a program that is fun, positive, and exciting, so that couples could share a memorable experience together, designed to solidify their marriage. The program was great for a wide range of couples, because the workshops enhance and deepen relationships, making good marriages better, stronger, and healthier. The Boot Camp focused on many aspects of a relationship: appreciating one’s spouse, deepening their bond, showing affection, having an open line of communication, and expressing one’s true feelings. Throughout the program, couples were highly engaged, and they completely ignored their cell phones.
Creative and Fun Activities
The event lasted for over three hours and was loaded with fun activities. For example, spouses sat with their chairs back to back, with one looking at a picture and describing it, while the other tried to draw the picture based on the description being heard. Needing to get the other person to draw a specific picture forces a spouse to express what is in his or her head clearly, and helps couples determine how well they understand each other, and enabled them to improve communication, so that they listen better and express their feelings in a clear and descriptive way.
Other lessons involved personality tests to help spouses understand each other more deeply and tailor their approach to communication, the five love languages, and a discussion about relationship banks, with positive “deposits” and negative “withdrawals” that enable couples to focus on being positive, even during stressful and challenging times.
True to its name, men were required to do physical exercises in between each activity, including push-ups, jumping jacks, and jogging around the room. Rabbi Ribacoff quipped, “This event was designed to keep one’s marriage in top shape, and enhance the mind, body, and soul.”
Couples were visibly impacted in a positive way. As they did activities, many people commented on the fact that they were learning and discovering things they were not aware of about their spouses.
As with all Emet events, delicious cuisine was served: a lunch of sushi and Chinese food in addition to light refreshments.
In addition to being a couples’ counseling expert, Rabbi Ribacoff is the rav of the Sefardic Congregation of Hewlett and the Executive Director of Yeshiva Shaarei Tzion. He is a musmach in Hilchos Nidah, holds an accounting degree from Queens College, and a law degree. He says he enjoys partnering with Emet. “I always see Rabbi Rutenberg, Rabbi Kraft, and Rabbi Musheyev doing good things for the community, and I want to help whenever I can.”
Emet’s Couples’ Division: A Thriving Staple of the Organization
Rabbi Musheyev says that, in addition to its already robust couples’ programming serving over 1,100 members, Emet plans to focus even more on events like this in the future. “We hope to be offering quality workshops like this to Emet couples and the entire community on a regular basis.”
Emet’s fast-growing couples’ division offers programs and events throughout the year, including chasan and kallah classes, lectures, melaveh malkahs, exquisite oceanfront retreats, and much more. Over 40 Emet weddings take place each year, and alumni keep a close relationship with Emet’s rabbis and staff, even many years after they graduate college.
The Boot Camp was sponsored by the Richard and Lena Harris Foundation.