The institution of the classic nuclear family – a fundamental pillar of Jewish life and tradition – has grown increasingly unstable over the last generation. Modern society the classic notion of family, rejecting traditional parental roles in favor of personal choice and autonomy.
Many aspects of everyday life consitute potential threats to the modern family. From our addiction to our personal devices to the unending demands of today’s jobs that have drastically reduced family time, we have witnessed an explosion in the number of single-parent families struggling to raise their children. The Orthodox community in Israel and the Diaspora suffers, in no small measure, from this destabilization that has undermined the family structure.
In an effort to address these disturbing trends and promote, encourage and support Jewish family life, the Orot Israel College of Education under the leadership of Professor Sinai has established the Center for Jewish Family Studies. This groundbreaking institute will be led by Rabbi Elisha Aviner, the Rosh Kollel of Yeshivat Birkat Moshe in Ma’ale Adumim, as well as Dr. Chana Katan, a recognized physician, lecturer and expert in the areas of Reproductive Medicine.
In its first phase of operation, the institute looks to strengthen the family unit in the Jewish community at large by achieving the following goals:
1. Educator Training: Modern religious teachers must be able to address the topic of family life with children of all ages, armed with a strong sense of personal identity as well as an awareness of the issues surrounding family life from a broad, interdisciplinary perspective
2. Improving Interpersonal Relationships and Family Life through the activities of the Institute, as well as through counseling and treatment options offered by the Institute
3. Establishing a Written and Electronic Library that will both assemble the currently available material related to family life including books, publications, teaching materials and lectures. It will also encourage academic and Torah scholars to write and publish articles on the myriad issues related to the subject.
The institute will conduct a wide range of activities, including offering classes on Jewish family life to all Orot students at both campuses, pre and post-marital counseling services to current and former students, as well as classes, seminars and conferences open to the public at large.