More than forty rabbonim from the greater New York/New Jersey area gathered at Agudath Israel of America’s national headquarters on Thursday, 21 Elul (September 10) to discuss wrenching social problems that have emerged over recent years in the Orthodox community.
The gathering, which was organized by Conference of Synagogue Rabbonim of Agudath Israel (under the auspices of Agudath Israel’s Torah Projects division), was aimed at exploring sholom bayis-related issues. There was much discussion of factors – sociological, technological and educational – that, by strong consensus, are contributing to problems in that area; and of the vital role of the rov in cases where a divorce, sadly, is unavoidable, to help avoid or minimize the scars left on the individuals and their children.
The Philadelphia Rosh HaYeshiva, Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah member Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky, addressed the group and participated as well in a spirited wide-ranging discussion that followed his words and presentations by two mental health professionals, David Kohn, LCSW, CASAC, and Dr. Nosson Solomon.
Agudath Israel’s executive vice president Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel extended greetings to the rabbonim; and the program was chaired by the organization’s executive director, Rabbi Labish Becker.
The sholom bayis challenges unfortunately exist in every Orthodox community, noted Rabbi Avrohom Nisan Perl, head of Agudath Israel’s Torah Projects division and coordinator of the gathering. “And so it was gratifying to see representation from rabbonim across the spectrum.”
“Coming together to try to better understand the problems,” he continued, “is a necessary first step to formulating measures to address them. One thing is certain: In such vital issues, we dare not bury our heads in the sand.”