For nearly twenty years now, we have been advising religiously observant parents to maintain close relationships with their children who are no longer observant and/or those who are charting a course in life that is very different than those of their parents. (See our Essay in Mishpacha Magazine Should We Keep Our At-Risk Child At Home? for more on this.)
Nearly 2 months ago, on June 11th, we conducting an invitation-only meeting/workshop with about 30 religiously observant parents designed to help them improve their relationships with their children who are no longer observant or who are charting a very different path in life than those of their parents.
In addition to my presentation, we invited 2 parents to share their experiences and they spoke beautifully about how they had done it and successfully maintained excellent relations with their children.
All in all, it was an overwhelming success and we are planning follow up meetings for the parents.
I would like to extend a similar invitation to no-longer-observant (NLO I don't care for the term Off-the-Derech) adults who are interested in exploring ways to improve your relationships with your observant parents and siblings.
If you are interested in attending a meeting/workshop of this nature and live in the metro New York area, kindly drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Someone from our office will get back to you and all correspondence will be treated in the strictest confidence. We will not publicize the location of the meeting/workshop in order to allow for privacy and confidentiality.
Over the past 20 years, I've conducted hundreds of Exit Interviews with teens and adults who have abandoned religious practice and have done my best to help them in many areas of their lives -- including trying to amicably resolve their custody disputes; some successfully and some otherwise. (This Shlomo Hamelech for a Day post was actually about my efforts to help Shulem Dean. He had not yet gone public and his searing post #25 to that column is titled "Tortured Dad.")
Keeping family relationships close despite challenges that arise has been one of the things I've devoted my life to (see Father of the Man) and I hope this initiative will help bring more families together.
Please drop us an email at email@example.com and kindly pass this on to anyone who might benefit from this.
Director, Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES
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