Judaism for Two: A Spir­i­tu­al Guide for Strength­en­ing and Cel­e­brat­ing Your Lov­ing Relationship

Nan­cy Fuchs-Kreimer; Nan­cy H. Wiener
  • Review
By – July 16, 2012

Each Jew­ish hol­i­day presents spe­cial oppor­tu­ni­ties to explore, nur­ture, or heal one’s rela­tion­ships, some­times in ways that res­onate out into the world. Illu­mi­nat­ing these oppor­tu­ni­ties is Judaism for Two, a guide­book geared for cou­ples of every stripe: mar­ried, inter­mar­ried, gay, emp­ty nesters, cou­ples with kids, and DINKS (dou­ble income/​no kids). 

Dif­fer­ent hol­i­days rep­re­sent dif­fer­ent facets of a rela­tion­ship to work on. Clean­ing is a theme dur­ing Passover and a poten­tial­ly huge theme in every­day life. Just ask the neat-nick who is mar­ried to a packrat. 

Purim focus­es on laugh­ing and play­ing, on tak­ing risks, and on hid­ing and reveal­ing (as Queen Esther first hid then revealed, at great risk to her own life, that she was Jew­ish). One of the biggest risks any of us will ever take is step­ping into an unknown future with anoth­er human being, the authors, both rab­bis, point out. Laugh­ing also is risky. When your part­ner doesn’t think a sit­u­a­tion is fun­ny, does he or she at least hon­or your take on the absurd? 

Each chap­ter weaves in snip­pets from cou­ple­dom, pieces of ancient and mod­ern Jew­ish texts, and insight­ful nar­ra­tives that encour­age cou­ples to appre­ci­ate each oth­er more and to treat their lives togeth­er as a spir­i­tu­al work in progress. The authors pro­vide a pletho­ra of cel­e­bra­tion rit­u­als and social jus­tice activ­i­ties that cou­ples can do together. 

Because Jews have his­tor­i­cal­ly stud­ied in pairs, each chap­ter includes provoca­tive dis­cus­sion ques­tions key­ing off a piece of text as a prompt. 

This book can be a great anniver­sary or wed­ding gift, but buy­er please beware: engag­ing in this book togeth­er could bring hid­den con­flicts to the sur­face. If the rela­tion­ship is trou­bled to begin with, using this book with­out the sup­port of a good ther­a­pist might make things worse, not better.

Robin K. Levin­son is an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and author of a dozen books, includ­ing the Gali Girls series of Jew­ish his­tor­i­cal fic­tion for chil­dren. She cur­rent­ly works as an assess­ment spe­cial­ist for a glob­al edu­ca­tion­al test­ing orga­ni­za­tion. She lives in Hamil­ton, NJ.

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