With American divorce rates at an all-time high and Jewish divorce rates rapidly rising, Rabbi Gadi and Eve Levy recognized the need to create a workshop to provide Denver-area couples with practical guidelines for maintaining and enriching a happy Jewish marriage.
So the husband-and-wife duo developed a course titled the “7 Habits of Highly Effective Jewish Marriages,” which they offer through The Jewish Experience, a non-profit organization that provides social and educational programs to the Denver metro Jewish community.
Rabbi Levy serves as the Rabbinic Outreach Associate at The Jewish Experience, and Mrs. Levy is the Women’s Program Coordinator. They, themselves, have been married for thirteen years and have six children, four boys and two girls, ranging in ages from a couple months to eleven years old.
Rabbi Levy, originally from South Africa, and Mrs. Levy, from Canada, met when a close friend made a shidduch – a match. The couple is featured on tonight’s edition of Radio Chavura, the weekly radio newsmagazine that airs every Sunday at 6:30 pm on 990 KRKS AM in Denver.
Prior to relocating to Denver in 2010, the Levys lived in Israel for 17 years.
In Israel, Mrs. Levy recalls, there were always nearby, capable rabbis to offer support and guide them in their marriage as issues inevitably arose. Realizing the same abundance of rabbinical counseling isn’t readily available to Jewish couples in Colorado, the Levys decided to develop some fundamental, Torah-principled marriage guidelines built upon strong values and tools that everyone can use and benefit from.
“A lot of it is basic knowledge, but I think what’s most important is to get these things out and keep repeating these ideas,” Rabbi Levy says. “Most of us want happiness…with regards to marriage it’s the same thing. Happiness comes through following certain guidelines.”
“We all need a little guidance to make a marriage great,” adds Mrs. Levy.
When asked whether newlyweds or long-established couples benefit the most from their “7 Habits” workshop, the Levys respond that their course is helpful to all couples.
“It doesn’t matter where you are or what stage you’re at,” Mrs. Levy tells Radio Chavura. “Everyone married knows there are struggles and frustrations.”
One “highly successful habit” that is a personal favorite of Mrs. Levy is the celebration of diversity. There comes a point in each marriage, she acknowledges, when every husband and wife looks at one another and wonders, “How did I ever marry you? We’re so different!”
Mrs. Levy reminds us that gender differences are a reality we need to laud. “It’s good to understand that we’re different, the Torah tells us so.”
She says it’s important to remember that husbands and wives complement each other by bringing their different strengths to the marriage, where each spouse also has unique responsibilities. “We don’t totally need to understand each other,” she observes.
Rabbi and Mrs. Levy take their own advice. “We decided to do this for ourselves,” she explains. “If you’re not working on your marriage, it’s not working.”
Discover more about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Jewish Marriages and The Jewish Experience at www.theje.com or phone 303-316-6412. The Jewish experience is headed by Rabbi Ahron Wasserman, executive director; and Rabbi Raphael Leban, managing director.
Radio Chavura’s Sarina Penland contributed to this article.