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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Focused upon recently engaged and newly married couples, Project Ezrah is launching a new initiative called “The Aisle: A Path Toward Financial Fidelity.” An initial event is scheduled for 7. on Wednesday evening, March 22, at Congregation Beth Abraham in Bergenfield.

Susan Alpert, director of development at Project Ezrah, explained, “In our work with couples over the years, we have seen a great need for this type of preventative information. We have been able to identify signposts of discord and/or financial mismanagement that can cause great distress to the young couple. Our initiative will hopefully help young couples recognize that ‘shalom kesef’ is equal in importance to ‘shalom bayit’ in any marriage.”

“Through the guidance and co-authorship of our social worker Abbe Greenfield of Bright Path Consulting, who has dealt with many Project Ezrah clients over the past years, and in consultation with financial managers, Project Ezrah has developed a program geared to providing young couples with the tools to help them create a financially healthy lifestyle,” said Alpert. “There is no wrong or right in tying the financial knot. There is just the mutual understanding that yours and mine is now ‘ours’ and that both husband and wife aim for the same financial goals in their marriage,” she said.

The evening will be a fun event, featuring games that will explore the financial choices of the participants. A giant, three-dimensional playing board will encourage the players to make financial choices and then deal with the consequences. A Family Feud-style game will challenge chatanim against kallot in their financial knowledge.

According to Alpert, “The Aisle’s goal of preventative financial education will cover some of the following to help the couple tie the financial knot. We will endeavor to give the participants the tools needed to deal with the many issues that may come up during the engagement period and right after the wedding, such as financial honesty regarding debts, parental support, must-have items versus not-so-essential acquisitions and many more. We hope to show the couples that money management can be a rewarding way to bond. It can build teamwork, trust and communication skills and help set common goals.”

“Studies have shown that 84 percent of married couples admit that the primary source of tension in their marriage is money. It is not surprising then that money-related fights are the number one cause of divorce. Through our initiative, we hope to help couples realize how important money management is in order to stop money issues before they become ‘financial infidelity’ issues.”

The evening will include a dinner and will culminate in a festive champagne toast during which the couples will wish each other mazal tov and receive special gifts. Based upon the success of the evening, Project Ezrah hopes to host The Aisle sessions every six months and devote each upcoming session to issues raised by the couples themselves. It is their hope that participants will spread the word about the initiative to their friends within Bergen County as well as outside the community. All are welcome.

The Aisle is being launched with the encouragement of many of the community’s local rabbis. In addition, this initiative is being generously sponsored by two local families that support the endeavors of Project Ezrah. Many thanks go to Teaneck residents Elana and Marc Rothenberg and Tamar and Ross Rothenberg for their vision and backing of this vital program to help ensure smoothly functioning and happy marriages within the Jewish community.

To participate in the initial session of The Aisle, please contact Susan Alpert at Project Ezrah by calling 201-569-9047 or by emailing [email protected] The program is free of charge but reservations must be made in advance. Congregation Beth Abraham is located at 396 New Bridge Road, Bergenfield.

By Pearl Markovitz